Friday, 7 March 2014

Medicine as Vocation

How do you view vocation? 
Vocation, simply described, is a calling. It is God who calls us and calls us to be the person we have been created to be, to fulfill God’s plan for us. It is what we in our deepest most central part of ourselves, actually most desire. The match of those two is our vocation, one and the same when our will and God’s will are one for what we should do in life. Everybody in that sense has a vocation. 
There are particular kinds of occupations that are more particularly viewed as ministry. Those are the kinds of traditional ministries of being in the clergy, or being part of the liturgy, being in the choir, being a deacon within a church. But then there are also, at least within the Roman Catholic tradition, particular kinds of works that are classified officially as ministries and those works are what we call the “corporal works of mercy” which come from the list of Christ’s own discourse about where we find him. We find him, we’re told, when we visit the sick, when we clothe the naked, when we feed the hungry. Healthcare is one of those particular kinds of “corporal works of mercy” that is ministerial. When your call in life is to be a minister and your total work is doing that particular work, it is one of those special vocations–vocation with a capital “V”—that is every bit as equivalent to the vocation of being a minister.
From the beginning of recorded history, the roles of priest and doctor were unified, right? The shaman was the healer and certainly it has been significant in the history of Christianity that this work of being a healer has been seen as spiritual kind of work. There is something special about illness and death and those who minister to it and those who are able to heal. It is central to the Christian message, and it is part of the good news. It is part of what Christ announced, and it is part of what he sent the apostles out to do – to heal the sick and preach the good news.
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