I must confess it is hard at times.
A Cleric should always be composed, I suppose. I am not saying that isn’t the case, I am saying it isn’t always the case.
I find when I am away from the hospital scene for more than two weeks, or there is a similar gap in wakes or encounters with people in crisis… there is a gap in my response.
In the body, is it not horrifying to see what accident and illness can do? Is it not horrifying to see a woman without hope?
We find that we have a choice to desensitize or transcend.
I think desensitize is an occupational hazard for police, medical professionals and clerics. The temptation is real.
Smell enough urine and feces and you don’t smell it anymore.
Smell enough blood and charred flesh and you don’t smell it anymore.
See poverty and drugs side-by-side and you no longer can tell the difference.
See enough death and you don’t see death anymore.
Listen to your government lie repeatedly and you have no response.
- Distract. Place attention to the minor scale reality and avoid the primacy. “It’ll be ok”. “Thoughts and prayers”. “You brought this on yourself”.
- Abstract. The common misquote of 1 Corinthians 10:13. 1 Cor 10:13 is about falling into temptation (wrongful desire) and is not intended to suggest pains and troubles beyond tolerance.
I think professions need to ask themselves the essential moral questions concerning their roles. It is a gut check. A very critical gut check.
- First, does your performance regularly meet at least the minimum standard for competent practitioners of your profession?
- Second, despite emotional obstacles, are you willing to continue to do your work as well as you can under the circumstances?
The moral difficulty of performing a public service under the conditions of an anesthetized conscience is not acceptable.
References of value: http://www.twotlj.org/G-3-V-3.html
A cleric should always able to transcend the sensate. Always look beyond what they see, smell, feel or witness. Seeing the person made in the divine image is the path of transcendence. See the injured Samaritan.
I think equally true for police and medical professionals.
Even those who serve in government.
The God of the Exodus called the people out of structural injustice. The Lord provided a Pillar of Fire to come out of slavery of ancient type.
The Lord provides the Easter candle, the light of the Christ, to follow now out of spiritual evil.
Listen to your instincts. Get out. Stop your formal and material cooperation with evil.
Peace be with you,