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.