Father Placid comments on care of the sick in the monastery: “Chapter 36 of the Rule of St. Benedict concerns the care of sick brothers. Saint Benedict orients most of the chapter toward those will be responsible for their care; that is, the abbot, the infirmarian and the attendants who serve them directly. However, there is a key phrase in the chapter directed to the ailing brothers themselves that deserves to be well noticed: “Let the sick on their part bear in mind that they are served out of honor for God, and let them not by their excessive demands distress anyone who serves them.” The rest of the chapter then goes on to remind the others to serve the sick as they would Christ (Matthew 25).
Being sick, injured or recovering from surgeries is no fun and tries everyone’s’ patience. To be a patient is to be one who suffers. Patience during sickness is part of accepting what God is saying to us in the moment. It also is an opportunity to let oneself be cared for. This means following doctor’s orders, letting the caregivers do their job, and not complaining about everything under the sun, as a way of trying to control one’s environment. To know one is being served as Christ is also to embrace the server as Christ. When we are able to do that, then no matter how difficult it is being sick, injured, needing to be cared for, we won’t let our impatience get the better of us. That way we honor the attendant, the medical professional, etc., who will have to bear with our crankiness, our frustration at the situation, and all that goes it.”