Today I read the CDF’s new letter “Samaritanus Bonus: On the care of person in critical and terminal phases of life.” You should read it. It is good. It’s literally life-affirming. 

I was reading it very closely to see if there was anything new. New can be good, but it is often bad. I was very much hoping I would not find anything bad, for I would have to ignore all the good and bring everyone’s attention to the bad, for such is the nature of my work.  

But the loveliest part of Samaritanus Bonus was the emphasis on accompanying the very ill, visiting them in their loneliness, and being compassionate with their suffering, and giving them hope of a better life beyond this one. There was a wonderful meditation on the Crucified Christ, too. And as I read about all this accompaniment, I remembered going to see Benedict Ambrose every day when he was sick, and what he was like when he was sick, and how I called in as many friends and family I thought he could bear the night before his make-or-break operation. B.A. was then too addled to think much about hope, but I was full of hope. 

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