”Two are better than one… for if they fall, one will lift the other.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
It is with a nod to Judy Garland’s undaunted and spirited Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” that I chose the title for today’s Reflection as the Church pauses to commemorate two very unique and profound men of the early church, Saints Cosmas and Damian. These twin brothers, both physicians, were martyred in the year 287 during the Diocletian persecution. They are recognized as the Patron Saints of surgeons, pharmacists, physicians and barbers.
Motivated by their Christian faith, Cosmas and Damian sought to emulate the love of Christ, the Divine Physician. They gained notoriety for their refusal to accept payment for their services, in turn earning the title of “the moneyless ones.” In the Eastern Church, they are honored as “unmercenary physicians.”
In his wide-ranging and thought provoking Essay appropriately titled “Unmercenary Physicians,” Doctor James Breen reflects upon the medicinal pursuits of these two men through the prism in which he himself is forced to endure as a physician in the year 2020. “Much like the compulsory sacrificial offerings to the Roman gods during Diocletian’s times,” Doctor Breen states “today’s medical climate often affronts to the consciences of Christian clinicians.“
Nowhere of course is Doctor Breen’s point more salient than with regard to the modern day child sacrifice, the plague of abortion on demand and partial birth abortion. The innocent in the womb are offered as child sacrifices to the god of career advancement, the god of the bigger house, the god of the 2nd BMW, the god of vanity and the list goes on. This scourge permeates our world to the sorrowful tune of 4,000 abortions per day. Yes, for the unborn, every day is the Diocletian persecution. Statistically speaking, every day is September, 11th, 2001.
In matters pertaining to elder care, the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is increasing at an alarming rate, the promotion of such, we’re told, is a matter of “individual dignity.” As those who drive these policies become more and more desensitized to the dignity of each human life, the erosion of medical ethics is sure to follow.
Contemporary “transgender theory” would of course be a source of great consternation and bewilderment for Saints Cosmas and Damian as well. As Doctor Breen glumly puts it, “Nearly overnight, societal and legal opinion has cast as hateful the promotion of the once undisputed fact that the natural sexual differentiation of male and female is a biological and immutable attribute of the human person.“ As men who stared down the evil Emperor Diocletian and were subsequently beheaded for their Christian Faith, I can say with a 100% degree of certainty that Saints Cosmas and Damian would not have capitulated to the sheer insanity of the myriad of gender pronouns or the idea that there are 52 different genders. . . at last count anyway.
Our healthcare workers are a true treasure, a gift from God. Tireless, humble, compassionate; these are but a few of their many great qualities. Theirs is an unenviable task, many times thankless. The terrain they are asked to navigate, oftentimes exacerbated by a cumbersome and oversized governmental role leading to dizzying bureaucracy and mind-numbing regulation, can be demoralizing. I leave you with a prayer for these noble and selfless servants. Please keep them in your daily prayer rotation; they are amongst our true and genuine heroes.
“Glorious Father, we bring to Your throne doctors, nurses, medical technicians, first responders and all other healthcare professionals, whom You have called for the purpose of healing and comforting the sick. We thank You for the skills you have given them, which enable them to bring hope, healing, and wholeness to those in their care. Strengthen and fortify them with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit so that they can continue to glorify you in all that they do.” ~ Amen
Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian, pray for us.