Monday, January 15, 2007

An Eastern Orthodox Physician's Prayer

If only more medical students entered medicine with the gravity of its calling, exemplified in the following prayer, burned into their hearts. No doubt, we would hear less complaints about "rude" and "arrogant" doctors. But that's not even the half of it. For the Catholic doctor (and by extension, all Christian doctors) medicine is a vocation to heal based on the life and ministry of Our Lord. Material success, prestige, respect, wealth, and pride should most certainly not motivate a person to request admittance to this most noble of professions. Rather humility, charity, justice, courage, and hope should beckon the doctor to practice his art with skill, selflessness, and out of a sense of gratitude for the privilege and responsibilities of medical education.

And when the entire profession seems to have fallen away from its lofty calling to "Do no harm" and to serve the indigent, suffering, and helpless as Christ did, it falls to Catholic doctors, a fortiori, to be the vanguard of the profession's renewal and recommitment to the service of life. Not for sectarian reasons, but rather because the dignity of the human person demands it. For each and everyone of us are "created in the image and likeness of God" (cf. Genesis 1:26ff).

A Physician's Prayer: From Our Eastern Orthodox Brethren

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Lover of Mankind, Physician of our souls and bodies, who didst bear the pain of our infirmities, and by whose wounds we are healed,

Who gave sight to the man born blind,

Who straightened the woman who was bent over for 18 years,

Who gave speech and sight to the mute demoniac,

Who not only forgave the paralytic his sins, but healed him to walk,

Who restored the withered hand of a troubled man,

Who stopped the flow of blood of her who bled for 12 years

Who raised Jairus’ daughter to life

And brought the 4-day-dead Lazarus to life

And who heals every infirmity under the sun,

Do now, O Lord, give your grace to all those here gathered who have labored and studied hour upon hour, to go into all the world, and also to heal by the talent You have given to each of them.

Strengthen them, by your strength, to fear no evil or disease,

Enlighten them to do no evil by the works of their hands,

And preserve them and those they serve in peace,

For You are our God, and we know no other,

And to you we send up glory together with your Father who is from everlasting, and your most Holy, Good, and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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