Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Beauty of Healing

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini

Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life. 
 Psalm 23: 6 (The Message)

I just finished a book by Brian Zahnd, Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity, and I have decided to look for “Beauty” in this world of healing.  But maybe it is more like Beauty maybe “chasing me”.   Now that is a mystery!

I knew that the arts are a critical component of our faith, healing and even in our technology.  I have seen it in the creativity of medical students, the sanctuaries and temples, and in patients who share the joy of a new life.  What is critical is that we train our eyes and ears to see and hear it in our lives.

The beauty of healing was recently shared in the CBS broadcast by Steve Hartman.  It is worth viewing as an example of the mystery and beauty of one hug in a world of suffering,

So, wishing all of you a Beautiful New Year that is filled with wonder filled surprises of loves and hugs,



Zahnd, B. (2012). Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity. Charisma House.

Hage, M. L. (2011). The Mystery of Healing.

Hage, M. L. (2011). Healing, HeLa and Heaven. 

Wellbery C;  McAteer RA. The Art of Observation: A Pedagogical Framework. 
Academic Medicine.  90(12):1624-30, 2015 Dec.

Hartman S  Chance meeting at a grocery store gives grieving widower new purpose in life  November 18, 2016.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas in the Fourth Quarter

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: 
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 
 Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

I just had the wonderful experience of celebrating my 75th birthday…3/4 of a century!  For my grandchildren this is OLD!  I received a lot of wonderful hugs and kisses from them and best wishes from friends and family.  The question now before me is the Christmas celebration in the “Fourth Quarter”.   Is Christmas in the 4th quarter different then at other times in our lives?

My answer is “Yes”!  I have been particularly struck by the losses of friends and colleagues of my age that have been removed from my “contacts” and Christmas lists.   A part of my world is gone even though their stories remain.  That is what makes these celebrations so poignant.

One of the mantras in our family has been “finish strong”!  What I think that translates to in addressing “fourth quarter questions”  is the importance of continuing to live, to be surprised, to connect, to love and to cherish each other.  In the words of Paul Kalanitha, “Cease Not till Death”.  But our living will only have meaning if we connect to the larger stories in our lives.  For me, that is the Christmas pilgrimage where my story meets a larger story of faith.  It is the excitement and blessing of a Christmas birth story that leaves us with a big “AWE”!

Merry Christmas,


Kalanithi, Paul (2016-01-12). When Breath Becomes Air (p. 118). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Hage, ML Healing Doctors

Hage, ML A Royal Birth

Hage, M. L. (2011). Pilgrimage and Healing

Friday, December 2, 2016

Healing Doctors

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground 
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7 (NIV)

“With what strife and pains we come into the world we know not,
 but ’tis commonly no easy matter to get out of it.”
quote from Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici 

There are stories that are “awesome”…filled with the spiritual awe of a purpose driven life.  When Breath Becomes Air is one of those stories .  It is more than a memoir, but a call to all of us as we face the uncertainties of life.  We meet that call in the agent/patient, Paul Kalanithi, MD. and his wife, Lucy Kalanithi, MD.  The uniqueness of Paul Kalanithi’s report is his ability to tell two stories of a healing agent and patient at the same time.  His double vision is a gift to us all.

The take away for me is his understanding of the connectedness found in the doctor/patient dyad.  He is able to describe the interactions with clarity and care.  It is a conversation that will inspire you and bring you to tears.  Abraham Verghese’s report is “there was an honesty, a truth in the writing that took my breath away.” 

Another breathless moment is provided by Paul’s wife, Lucy, in an epilogue that underscores the context of love that was rediscovered and continues to sustain her.  It is going to take time for me to “catch my breath” and find the pearls that I missed with the first reading.



Kalanithi, Paul (2016-01-12). When Breath Becomes Air (p. 53). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Hage M.L. 2012. Hope. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Is Healing Possible?

Montreat, North Carolina - November 1, 2016

 And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:2 (NIV)

There has been an amazing amount of “healing talk” this last week.  It has made me think about what I have written and whether or not healing is possible.  

First, I need to tell you about an amazing week of conversation, song and celebration.  Being  with “old” friends can bring you to a wonderful place like Montreat, North Carolina in the fall season.  That was followed by hearing young voices singing in concert and then celebration of Veteran’s day at two elementary schools with grandchildren.

There are two conclusions…The most important ingredient in healing is transformation (not information) and what these blogs/books have emphasized is that transformation is not where we are but where we are going.  We can face growing old, “storms of disease” and wars in ways that we could never imagine.  I experienced that reality this last and momentous week.



Hage M.L.M.D. 2010. Healing Agents: Christian Perspectives. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Hage M.L.M.D. 2012. Equipping Healing Agents: Sustaining Vocation. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Hage M.L. 2012. God’s Grace.
Hage M.L. 2012. Techniques and Transformation. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Healing Hospitals

“Guess it's not just all gizmo's and gadget’s.”
Pure Genius,  Pilot October 27, 2016

“Tell us please, what treatment in an emergency is administered by ear?…”
I met his gaze and I did not blink. "Words of comfort," I said to my father.” 
― Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

This past week we were given a preview of the future of hospital care with the new CBS drama, “Pure Genius”.  The first show introduces the characters and the futuristic “Bunker Hill Hospital”.  This hospital is filled with “gizmos and gadgets” and with information management central to the drama. This hospital seems almost real! 

There are real organizations that recognize and promote “healing hospitals”.  It is what I see in hospitals wanting to connect with real people and real stories.  It is found in the efforts of “Schwartz Rounds” and the Duke Divinity School.  

Maybe the good news is we know the other dimensions of healing even when we are disappointed and frustrated by the technology.  The bad news is that we have not widely shared the real stories.



Pure Genius Reviews

Hage, M. L. (2011). The Mystery of Healing.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Healing Mission

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I have been reading a series of books about the direction of our lives as individuals and communities.  I know that seems like an odd choice for someone “on the back nine”.   My age group seems more likely to be focused on past accomplishments and writing their memoirs.  

My concern has been how will medicine and the church reconnect to the “Healing Mission”.  I saw the problem through the lens of my personal experiences.   What I found is that I am not alone in my concerns and the mission needs to be rediscovered by each generation.  Our job “on the back nine”, is to provide the tools to help the next generation discover their healing mission.  We need to design new healing mission solutions.

Maybe a better way forward would be to divide the “solutions” into smaller sections…personal, interpersonal and community.  What we can do as individuals, groups and communities are very different.  We all know that healing is a BIG mission that needs action.  The faith communities and healthcare share the mission of WELL BEING -BEING WELL.  Thanks for the new voices exploring these intersections.  Check out the work of Duke Divinity School.



Burnett, B., & Evans, D. (2016). Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life. Knopf.

Hage, M. L. (2015). Healing Work.

Hage, M. L. (2016). A Healing Curriculum.

Unexpected Intersections: Arts, Medicine, and Theology--Ray Barfield and Jeremy Begbie

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Healing Challenge

“In the mid-twentieth century, the gap between science and religion grew even wider. Science had become god-like, and the public generally shared physicians’ confidence in its promise. But now, in this so-called postmodern world, society has grown skeptical of science and statistics, while medicine remains relentlessly positivistic, confident in its numbers and commitment to the material world, even when it attempts to address the spiritual.”
                                                                                            Jacalyn Duffin

Jacalyn Duffin faced the challenge to healing as an academic medical historian.  What she reports is a personal pilgrimage of searching and experience.  It is a wonderful and critical examination of individual and community healing stories that followed her medical review of a healing miracle.  

Healing stories require a “big” space for these complicated experiences.  We know that the spaces that have traditionally been found in our communities of faith are questioned.  Even the recent canonization of Mother Teresa has been challenged despite the powerful witness of her work. 

What is clear is that there needs to be a complementarity to the ways of science and faith.   People like  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Doctor Abraham Verghese are powerful voices of their respective vocations.   Added to that list is Professor Duffin who shows how specific communities carry their ancient stories of healing with them to new places in the world.  She has added to the dialogue between faith and science.

Thanks for sharing this complicated history of healing.



Duffin, Jacalyn (2013-05-01). Medical Saints: Cosmas and Damian in a Postmodern World (p. 169). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. 

Hage, M. L. (2013). The Nature of Healing.

Hage, M. L. (2014). Hope Agents

Sacks, J. (2014). The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (Reprint ed.). Schocken.

Verghese, A. (2010). Cutting for Stone (1st ed.). Vintage Books.