Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Challenge

Homeless Jesus by Timothy Schmalz

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

“[ Jesus] understands human sufferings, 
he has shown the face of God’s mercy, 
and he has bent down to heal body and soul. 
This is Jesus. This is his heart”. —Pope Francis

I first entered private medical practice at a hospital that had as a part its name, “Mercy”.  That name was part of a religious ethic that reached out to the suffering even when the resources were very limited.  That is still the case in many parts of the world.

This week, Pope Francis is visiting the United States with a message of “Mercy”.  How will we hear that word and more importantly, how will it impact our actions?  In a recent JAMA editorial, we face a current challenge to that ethic of care when we are faced with those who have been rejected.

“These clinical moments lay bare the normative and moral work of physicians, endeavors that have historically provided the foundation for sustained therapeutic activity between patients and physicians. They also reveal a larger truth that if the arc of medicine is to ultimately bend toward healing, mercy will be its fulcrum.”

Maybe we can rediscover the critical component of mercy as we move toward a revival of healing in modern medicine. 



Pope Francis (2014-04-20). The Church of Mercy . Loyola Press. Kindle Edition. 

Daaleman TP. A piece of my mind. The quality of mercy: will you be my doctor?.
JAMA.  312(18):1863-4, 2014 Nov 12.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Healing Work

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city
 to which I have carried you into exile.
 Pray to the Lord for it, 
because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, 
as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

Today is Labor Day in the United States.  The irony is that this holiday is one that most people escape from work!  

I just finished reading Tim Keller’s,  Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, that makes the argument that it is critical to integrate faith and work.  As you can imagine, I agree with the premise and enjoyed reading how the church has embraced this ministry.

The audience for this ministry are the young. They are at the beginning of their careers when the demands of their jobs are overwhelming and faith questions seem to be an added burden.  However, the reports are that the integration of faith with their work provides a deeper understanding and meaning in their lives!  

A reasonable assumption is that the questions of work would end with retirement. Paradoxically, I find the questions more acute as I see the increase in stress in the environments of healing.  We need places of celebration where work is healed like the Schwartz Center Rounds.  

Have a blessed Labor Day!



Keller, T. (2012). Every good endeavor: Connecting your work to God’s work. Penguin see also

Hage, M. L. (2010). The “Telos” for Christian Healing Agents. Retrieved from

Hage, M. L. (2012). “Burnout” and a “Path Report”. Retrieved from

Hage, M. L. (2012). Vocation & Retirement. Retrieved from