serving … the whole man … in suffering

November 21, 2012

in Hospice & Palliative Medicine,Spirituality

The special attention owed to the dignity of suffering persons can never be forgotten … if on one hand – because of progress in the scientific-technological field – the ability to heal the sick has increased, on the other hand, the ability truly to care for suffering persons, considered in their totality and singularity, has diminished. Thus there is an obscuring of the ethical horizons of medical science, which risks forgetting that its vocation is to serve every man and the whole man in the different stages of his existence. It is to be hoped that the language of the “Christian science of suffering” – to which pertains compassion, solidarity, sharing, abnegation, gratuity, the gift of self – becomes the universal lexicon of those who work in the health care field. It is the language of the Good Samaritan of the Gospel parable, which can be considered, according to Blessed John Paul II, “one of the essential elements of moral culture and universally human civilization” (Salvifici doloris 29). From this perspectives hospitals are seen as a privileged place of evangelization, because there where the Church becomes “the vehicle of the presence of God” she becomes at the same time “the instrument of a new humanization of man and of the world” (Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization 9). Only when it is quite clear that the center of medical and support activity is the well-being of man in his most fragile and vulnerable condition, of man in search of meaning before the unfathomable mystery of suffering, can the hospital be understood as a “place in which the relationship of care is not a career but a mission; where the charity of the Good Samaritan is the first seat of learning and the face of suffering man is the face of Christ himself”.

Benedict XVI to Health Care Workers Nov 2012

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