Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Spiritual Benefits of Sicknesses, Doctors and Medicines (Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra)

By Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra

So when someone does not want to take medicines, or if they do not want to go to a doctor, whatever their illness, they show how they are governed by an individual-centred system of life, or they show that they are guilty, and therefore hide. Like, when you ask for someone and they don't show up, then you ask for them again and they don't show up again, so you say, they must have done something, something is happening, so likewise is anyone who hates medicine or drugs that is seriously ill physically, above all mentally. He is a nonsensical man, for it says, "a sensible man will not despise them" (Sirach 38). He is a nonsensical man, a nonsensical woman, incorrigible, unrepentant, he doesn't care about God, but only cares about his worm-eaten body and worm-eaten soul as he sees fit, just in case he can get out to the seashore. But medicine and doctors show that we lay the administration of our existence to God, that we are not the rulers of ourselves.

In addition, the doctor and medicines humble us, because it is truly humbling to go to the doctor or to take medicine. We all want to have our health, to be well, to be comfortable. Comfort is not an element of health, but an element of deadly disease. I'm comfortable with money, I'm comfortable with a good chair, I'm comfortable with a bed that's soft, I'm comfortable with a house that's airy. All of these are elements that I do not live genuinely and with life. Even the medicine and the doctor bear witness to my obedience, that I am subject to the other. What the other says to me. Do you know what a great thing illness is when it leads us to obedience? It opens our eyes.

Never entrust yourself to someone who has never been sick or who is not sick, for he has not yet been humbled. Do not entrust even one hair that has fallen from your head to an unhumbled man, it would be much better for you to entrust yourself to yourself. Always question the man who still has his health. On the contrary, sickness which comes from God's long-suffering and humbles us, indicates that God works within us. And indeed, sickness is a work by God. The way you hold on to and work the dough, the way you hold on to the stone and you work it and you make a Christ, the way you hold on to the wood and you work it and you make a very beautiful Panagia, so precisely Christ takes hold of us with sickness and with the doctor and with the medicine and with the obedience – above all with the pain we have – and He works on our soul.

Sickness is therefore the result of the sin and the egotism of man, but it is used by God, the "evil He makes good", to bring about virtue and eternity.

Source: From the book Προσμονὴ Θεοῦ. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.