Monday, May 11, 2015

Fr Georges Massouh on Doctors

Arabic original here.

Partners in the New Creation

For Nadim, Bassem and many others.

According to the Christian tradition, God created man "free, rational and logical". God distinguished man from all other creatures in that He mad him "in His image and likeness." These three things:  freedom, reason and logic are God's image in man. If these three things are absent, then man is no longer man.

God called upon man to multiply the gifts he was given for the sake of service, service to faith and service to man. " Now concerning spiritual gifts... the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit..." (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

Every useful gift that is particular to man is a spiritual gift whose source is the Holy Spirit and are therefore attributed to Him and called spiritual. As for the gift of the Holy Spirit, according to Orthodox theology it is nothing other than the Holy Spirit Himself. This is because the Holy Spirit gives Himself completely, not partially, since he is the Generous One who is generous with the best of things, that is Himself. The gift of God cannot be made into parts or divided.

It is an error to posit an opposition or contradiction between reason or science on the one hand and faith on the other hand. Believers are called, according to the faith, to use all the talents and mental, physical and spiritual powers that they possess for the good of the country and its people. Therefore we can say that science is a gift from God if it is put into use for the good of humanity and its best service.

Sometimes we do not pay attention to the fact that when God grants gifts to humans, He makes man through the gifts that He grants him into a partner in renewing and sustaining creation. God has handed over to man the earth and everything upon it as a trust, that he may care for it, benefit from it, and to manage it in the best way, not to neglect it and turn it into a desolate wasteland. Man is called to do God's work on the earth, until God inherits the earth and everything upon it.

Man's history with God shows us that there are people who, by using their gifts, have been able to realize God's work on earth, to the point of working wonders. Here I do not mean by the word "wonders" the miracles recognized by believers, especially the miraculous healings performed by saints. Can we not regard the discovery of a new medicine for a widespread disease that heals millions of people to be a great wonder? Is not the discovery of a new medicine that heals millions incomparably more important than a miracle performed by a saint-- despite its importance-- that only heals one person? Is not eliminating though medicine-- that is, thanks to science-- a disease that kills millions not more important than the occurrence of a supernatural miracle that may not be of any benefit for humankind?

The tradition of the Church singles out doctors over other professionals-- or people with vocations, for those who want their profession to be a vocation-- by reminding them that through the gift that they have refined through science, knowledge, study, tireless effort, and specialization, they can become God's partners in creation. Doctors are the part of God's creation that are most in contact with the fateful moments in which life or death is determined by their immediate decisions.

Doctors are wonder-workers when the sick see in them the hands of God who grants healing through them. They are wonder-workers when they participate in the renewal of creation, when they return life to a body that is inevitably dying, after a time that may be long or short. It is enough holiness for them that they spread hope and love in the hearts of the sick. It is enough holiness for them that they are the reason for the sick thanking God and glorifying Him for the healing that took place by their hands.

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