EVANGELIZATION AND THE CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN

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Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."
--Mt 9:37-8

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Evangelization--for doctors??

One might appropriately ask if evangelization has any place in the vocation of medicine. Isn't our job to heal the sick? Is it appropriate to mix religion and medical practice?

In December, 2007 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a helpful and challenging document that does much to correct misunderstandings regarding evangelism. We are all called to evangelism--doctors, lawyers, bricklayers, all the laity.
"In the words of The words of Jesus “go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20), are directed to everyone in the Church, each according to his own vocation." (CLICK for full text)

So the Great Commission applies to all of us. Yet, many of us as Roman Catholics are not accustomed to this idea of evangelization. We tend to associate evangelism with Jehovah's Witnesses or Evangelical Protestants. Pope John Paul II placed great emphasis during his pontificate upon what he called a "New Evangelization." By this he meant a new emphasis in the Church upon the need to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a world that has become increasingly secular.

Evangelization and healing naturally go together. After Jesus called His twelve disciples he sent them out to evangelize (to proclaim the Good News that the 'Kingdom of Heaven is at hand') and to heal. (Mat 10:1-8) In Jesus ministry healing was an essential component to the proclamation of the Gospel. Jesus healed the lepers, the crippled, the blind, the paralyzed, the bleeding. Yet, healing was never an end in itself. Jesus' healing ministry was part of his ministry of conversion, of proclamation, of evangelization.

For more information on this New Evanglization check out these resources:
ChristLife: a Catholic Ministry of Evangelization
EWTN: A site dedicated to the New Evangelization
Catholic Answers: One of the finest lay apostolates for apologetics and evangelization.
Catholics Come Home: A great Catholic evangelization site.
Apostolic Letter, Novo Millenio Ineunte, Pope John Paul II, 2001.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the New Evangelization.

Evangelization and 'A Burden for Souls'

Do we, as Catholic physicians, believe in the reality of heaven and hell? (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1023-1037)
Do we believe that if our patient dies in mortal sin he is condemned to hell, to 'eternal fire'? (CCC #1035)
Do we, as Catholic physicians, have as much or more concern for the welfare of our patients' souls as their bodies? (Mt 6:25-34)
Should we, in conjunction with the clergy and the Church, embrace the care of souls as a necessary part of care for the person?
What does it look like for a Catholic physician to incorporate evangelization into his/her vocation?
What are appropriate and effective methods for evangelization?

Evangelization v.s. Proselytism

"In the Church's lexicon, proselytism typically refers to conversion efforts that fail to respect the prospective convert’s freedom and dignity. High pressure tactics; telling lies about the other person’s current religion; comparing the weaknesses of another’s religious community with only the strengths of one’s own; attempting to convert children in opposition to their parents; offering worldly inducements to change one’s religious allegiance—these are what Catholics would call proselytism. In contrast, a sincere effort to share one’s faith so that others might freely choose to embrace it is considered a virtue. Terms with positive connotations are used to describe such generosity: evangelization, apologetics, catechesis, personal witness, or even simply 'winning converts'". ---from an article by Dr. Jeff Mirus. CLICK for full text.

What are your thoughts about evangelization?
CONTACT US and share your perspective.


CLICK HERE for PRACTICAL IDEAS
FOR MEDICAL EVANGELIZATION.

Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. (Mark 3:3-8)

CLICK HERE for PRACTICAL IDEAS
FOR MEDICAL EVANGELIZATION.