SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
AT THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE ASSOCIATIONS OF CATHOLIC DOCTORS (FIAMC)
MEETS ROME TO CELEBRATE ITS CONSECRATION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters!
I welcome you and thank Cardinal Turkson for his kind words. I appreciated that, in this meeting of yours, you wished to perform a particular act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and I assure you of my prayer that it may be fruitful for each of you. I would like to share some simple thoughts with you.
The first Christian communities often presented the Lord Jesus as a "doctor", highlighting the constant and compassionate attention he had for those suffering from all kinds of illnesses. His mission consisted first of all in getting close to the sick or those with disabilities, especially those who were despised and marginalized because of this. In this way Jesus breaks the judgment of condemnation that often labeled the sick person as a sinner; with this compassionate closeness, He manifests the infinite love of God the Father for his most needy children.
The care of sick people therefore appears as one of the constitutive dimensions of the mission of Christ; and for this reason it has remained so also in that of the Church. In the Gospels the strong link between the preaching of Christ and the gestures of healing that He performs for those who are "tormented by various diseases and pains, demon-possessed, epileptic and paralytic" - is thus Matthew (4.24).
Also important is the way in which Jesus takes care of the sick and the suffering. He often touches these people and lets himself be touched by them, even in cases where it would be forbidden. Thus he does for example with the woman who for years suffered from bleeding: He feels himself touched, he perceives the healing power that comes out of him, and when that person confesses on his knees what he has done, he says to her: «Daughter, your faith will you has saved. Go in peace! "(Lk 8:48).
For Jesus, healing means getting closer to the person, even if at times there are some who would like to prevent it, as in the case of the blind Bartimaeus, in Jericho. Jesus has him called and asks him: "What do you want me to do for you?" (Mk 10:51). It may be surprising that the "doctor" asks the suffering person what is expected of him. But this highlights the value of words and dialogue in the care relationship. For Jesus, healing means entering into dialogue to bring out the desire of the human being and the sweet power of the Love of God, operating in his Son. Because healing means starting a journey: a path of relief, consolation, reconciliation and healing. When a certain cure is given with sincere love for the other, the horizon of the person being treated is widened, because the human being is one: it is unity of spirit, soul and body. And this is clearly seen in the ministry of Jesus: He never heals a part, but the whole person, integrally. Sometimes starting from the body, sometimes from the heart - that is, forgiving his sins (see Mk 2: 5) - but always to heal everything.
Finally, Jesus' care coincides with raising the person and sending the one who has approached and cared for. There are many sick people who, after being healed by Christ, become his disciples and followers.
Therefore, Jesus approaches, cares, heals, reconciles, calls and sends: as we can see, the one with people oppressed by illness and infirmity is a personal, rich, non-mechanical, not distance relationship for Him.
And it is to this school of Jesus doctor and brother of the suffering that you are called you doctors believers in Him, members of his Church. Called to make you close to those who are going through trials because of the disease.
You are called to give care with delicacy and respect for the dignity and physical and mental integrity of people.
You are called to listen carefully, to respond with adequate words, that accompany care gestures making them more human and therefore also more effective.
You are called to encourage, to console, to raise, to give hope. It cannot be cured and healed without hope; in this we are all needy and grateful to God, who gives us hope. But also grateful to those working in medical research.
Over the past hundred years, progress has been enormous. There are new therapies and numerous treatments being tested. All these cures were unthinkable in past generations. We can and must alleviate suffering and educate everyone to become more responsible for their health and the health of neighbors and relatives. We must also remember that healing means respecting the gift of life from the beginning to the end. We are not the owners: life is entrusted to us, and doctors are its servants.
Your mission is at the same time a testimony of humanity, a privileged way of showing, of making us feel that God, our Father, takes care of every single person, without distinction. For this he also wants to use our knowledge, our hands and our heart, to heal and heal every human being, because he wants to give life and love to everyone.
This demands of you competence, patience, spiritual strength and fraternal solidarity. The style of a Catholic doctor combines professionalism with the capacity for collaboration and ethical rigor. And all this benefits both the sick and the environment in which you operate. Very often - as we know - the quality of a department is given not so much by the wealth of the equipment it is equipped with, but by the level of professionalism and humanity of the primary and the medical team. We see this every day, so many simple people who go to the hospital: "I would like to go to that doctor, to that doctor - Why? - Because they feel the closeness, they feel the dedication ".
By continually renewing yourself, drawing from the sources of the Word of God and the Sacraments, you will be able to carry out your mission well, and the Spirit will give you the gift of discernment to face delicate and complex situations, and to say the right words in the right way and silence right, at the right time.
Dear brothers and sisters, I know you already do it, but I urge you to pray for those you care for and for colleagues who work with you. And don't forget to pray for me too. Thank you!
FULL TEXT + Image shared from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation