“There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, for they too pray to the Lord that he grant them success in diagnosis and in healing for the sake of preserving life.”
In the book of Ecclesiasticus, it is said, “to honor physicians for their services, for the Lord created them.” The same could be said for students who seek a career in the medical field, and for all caregivers and those working in the medical profession. Sponsored by Campus Ministry, the annual St. Luke’s Blessing at the Mystical Rose Oratory honors these students by anointing their healing hands.
“Let us pray for all healthcare workers and those preparing for the healthcare profession,” said School of Nursing Professor Edna Magpantay-Monroe, in her closing prayer. “That their healing hands might bring comfort, hope, reassurance and joy to all those whom they serve.”
University chaplain Rev. Marty Solma, S.M., presided over the blessing, noting that this is a wonderful opportunity every year to honor those who embrace a life of service through healthcare nursing and to receive an anointment of their hands to recognize the importance that hands are in this critical profession. He then rhetorically asked, why is it that we bless the hands of medical professionals?
“It’s a tradition in in a number of churches in our Catholic tradition,” he replied. “It recognizes that of all the tools you have available to you, your hands will serve your patients directly and most personally. Medicine is important; surgery is often needed. But it’s your hands that will bring tenderness and care, and comfort and reassurance.
St. Luke was indeed blessed with the gift of healing. Deemed the first Christian physician on record and the Patron of the Medical Profession, Luke has influenced thousands of healthcare workers who have followed in his footsteps.
In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul describes Luke as “the beloved physician,” (Colossians 4:14). In Lives of Illustrious Men, written circa A.D. 393, St. Jerome refers to him as “a physician of Antioch.”
Believed to be the author of the Gospel that bears his name, as well as of the Acts of the Apostles, Luke’s profession as a doctor is apparent in his writings. He includes more miracles of physical healing than any of the other Gospels, 13 compared to 12 in Matthew, 11 in Mark and only two in John. He uses more medical terms than any other New Testament writer. His description of the ailing reveals a knowledge of medicine that is absent in the other Gospels, using such precise medical terms as “dropsy” (Luke 14: 1-6), fever and dysentery.
“It’s my honor to participate in this very important ceremony to bless the hands of our nursing and healthcare professional students, and any of you who may be practicing nurses or other healthcare professionals,” said Chaminade University president, Dr. Lynn Babington. “The professionalism, care and compassion inherent in your profession are strengthened by this blessing. It also symbolizes commitment to your patients.”