This morning at Matins, in his homily on Luke 5, Saint Ambrose said:
An Example for Our Imitation
It was no chance occurence, this healing of the paralytic, nor is its meaning limited to what actually took place at the time. The Lord healed him, not because he was asked to, but to set an example. He showed forth this example so that others might imitate it. . . .
Made Whole Again
First of all, as I have said before, every sick man ought to ask for prayers to be offered for his recovery, so that, by means of these prayers, the weakened frame of our mortal life and the limping steps of our bodily movements may be made whole again by the healing power of the celestial word.
Men Able to Help the Sick in Mind
Therefore there should be men who are able to help the sick in mind, so that when the soul is depressed by the torpor of bodily weakness, these men can rouse it again to higher things. By their aid the sick man can easily be brought and laid before Jesus, and be found worthy of the Lord’s glance. For the Lord does look upon those that are lowly: “For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden” (Luke 2:48).
And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee”. Great is the Lord, who, for the merits of some, forgives others, who tries some, and forgives the trespasses of others. Why should not your fellow–Christian, O man, have influence with you, if he has the right to intercede and obtain mercy from God?
The Prayer of the Church
O thou who condemnest, learn to forgive; thou who art sick, to pray! If the gravity of thy sins makes thee afraid lest they should not be forgiven thee, betake thyself to the Church. She will pray on thy behalf, and God will pardon, as he looks on her, what he might deny thee.