And that is what is so sorely missing today in the hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices - soul! Much has been said in these pages about the "soul of America" and today we address the "soul of the physician." Why is it medicine and health care have become something only the very, very rich can afford? Before we go any further, we're not advocating in any way socialized health care for that will only deplete whatever quality still exists. We already have socialized health care in Medicare and there are few we have ever found who are satisfied with that process. Patience is a virtue and patients must practice many virtues in order to stay patient with the inept, incompetent and ill-advised prescriptions and diagonoses being meted out today. The latter are dictated by money and big drug companies who funnel millions to these doctors to prescribe their brand. Sadly, many times, as we have discovered over the years, these "channeled prescriptions" can be to the detriment of the patient who must pay out exorbitant funds if it is not covered by their insurance - and more often than not, it isn't. Once the patient discover the medicine is not the cure, they're stuck with bottles of pills that are useless. No refunds, only more money piled on as many doctors play the guinea pig game, saying "well, try this." To their credit, some doctors will give free samples, of which they receive endlessly per gratis from the drug companies, to their patients to prevent this raking the pocketbook. We contend that with the money and lavish gifts these drug companies confer on many doctors, hospitals and HMO's, they could easily lower their rates. But they have created a monster and that monster is the government which regulates everything ad nauseum...and that is often the source of the nausea. We've heard so many horror stories of poor treatment, incomplete diagnosis and disdain for the soul, even experienced some ourselves in our family, that we can see the problems clearly. Medicine has become Godless! Doctors are too often more concerned with their golf scores than the numbers on the thermometer. They've become hardened to compassion and human dignity. Too much emphasis is placed on being well while the sick are discarded as nuisances.
Jesus said in Matthew 9: 12, "It is not the healthy who need a physician, but they who are sick. But go, and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I have come to call sinners, not the just." We are all sinners yet people are no longer even considered sinners but rather numbers, all fostered by the government and their burocratic red-tape that ties everyone up with no one willing to take the blame or offer solutions. Too many doctors are specialists and pass the buck if this organ or that illness doesn't comply with what they studied in med school. It has become an impersonal profession that prompts millions to long for the country family doctor who knew you by name, knew all aspects of medicine. We seemed to get along fine back then. Oh, there were illnesses we couldn't understand such as polio, the flu and the common cold, not to mention cancer and heart attacks; but other than polio we're still in the same boat. As much as organizations tout that they have the cure or a new report is published in the Medical Journal that there is a breakthrough, very, very few are successful. Either it becomes a placebo or government, especially the powerful drug lobbies shoot it down. We speak from experience here for back in the late seventies, this editor had, as a client at his ad agency, a company called The Mollenhauer Company in San Diego, operated by a very ethical and fair man named Frank Mollenhauer who, through years of research and with a cadre of medical experts out of Canada, produced a pill for smokers and non-smokers that cleaned out the lungs. It was called "Cloud-Chasers" and was advertised nationally until... Until the FDA stepped in and literally shut Frank and his company down, confiscating a warehouse of product with nary an explanation only that they could because they were the government. It turned out that they would have granted permission to distribute and promote the product if Frank was willing to sell out to the large drug companies who control the FDA or pay an obscene amount to the FDA itself. Frank, because of his honest work ethic and concern for the consumer, held out. He couldn't see something that cost only a few dollars to produce and which he sold for a few dollars over cost at $9.95 a bottle, would be transfered to a drug company where one pill would cost more than that and be regulated through prescription. It's ironic that today, with all the talk and products out there railing against smoking (which by the way cost much, much more than the vile product they're trying to eliminate) none have the effect that Cloud-Chasers was proven to have. The ingredients contained in these pills were proved to clean the cilia in the lungs which nicotine clogs up.
So when we hear our government launch these platitudes about caring for the people and children and what's best, don't believe it for a second. It's all politics with nary a thought to the moral, physical or spiritual good of the person or country. The medical profession has basically misplaced its soul. In fact, the only ones who proved they care are those who minister to the people with nary a thought of profit. For the most part, the only ones we can think of are mostly saints today - St. Frances of Rome, St. John of God, and one who is soon to be a saint - Mother Teresa. There are many, many Catholic Orders today who minister to the sick and are doing the best they can for they continue to see Christ in all they care for. But sadly, too many Catholic hospitals and Orders are being undermined by the government and HMO takeovers that leave them helpless and those they minister to even more helpless. When Christ comes again will He find a compassionate people who take care of their own or a civilization of selfish, greedy professionals who took advantage of a system the Holy Father speaks out against constantly and reminds all of the inherent responsibility for those God has bestowed the great gift of healing and compassion.
Our Lord reminded us often that the poor we will have with us always and that they are blessed. The Pope reinforces this and Mother Teresa personified it. We must remember Christ's words in Luke 12, 19-21, "And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, thou hast many good things laid up for many years; take thy ease, eat, drink and be merry.' But God said to him, 'Thou fool, this night do they demand thy soul of thee; and the things that thou hast provided, whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich as regards God." Too many in the medical profession have become fat and lazy, rich and apathetic because they have laid up treasures for themselves. We can't forget Jesus' words further on in Luke 12: 48, But of everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and of him to whom they have entrusted much, they will demand more." The people and God demand more of the medical profession today for they have been given much, specifically the gift of healing. If America and the medical profession is to reclaim its collective soul, it must start by remembering who they are treating - men, women and children with souls. Too many are lost and haven't a clue how to cure and that is the soul of the problem. They're lost and don't understand the words of Our Savior in Luke 4: 23, "Physician, cure thyself!"
The chisels and brushes of the Renaissance gave way to the workmanlike construction of galley ships in preparation for war. Many of the treasures gathered by Nicholas were sold off to pay for this military endeavor. This was not received well by pro-Renaissance enthusiasts or western powers like France and Germany who felt the Roman Pontiff was so obsessed with this crusade that he was neglecting their problems. They grew to resent the taxes and mandatory tithing for a project to which they did not have their heart fully committed. Besides this England and France needed to focus their full attention to their own military efforts against each other. Add to this German resentment to Ladislaus of Hungary and the cultural divisions throughout Europe and one can see the uphill battle Callistus faced. Though Callistus initially was successful in driving the Turks back at Belgrade , his leading general died and no one came forward who could fill his shoes. This hurt morale and, even in defeating Mohammed's fleet off the coast of Lesbos in August 1457, the crusaders could not muster enough of an offensive to finish off the Saracens. Like a heavy weight fighter they could not wield the knock out punch and their legs grew wobbly in the later rounds.
As Pope Callistus III drew wearier from the struggle and resistance, he dispatched his chief diplomat Cardinal Enea Silvio Piccolomini to intercept an insurrection in Germany. Piccolomini would become his successor a year later as Pope Pius II. Things went from bad to worse for Callistus when one of his allies Alfonso, the king of Aragon and Naples abandoned his efforts in fighting the Turks and used his resources to claim territory for himself by exploiting the depleted ranks of other regions. This turncoat action prompted a domino effect as many other territories, dukedoms and countries forsook the crusade to get their share of the pie while the pickin' was good. Greed permeated Europe and they pointed fingers at Callistus who had bestowed lavish honors and favors on relatives, surprising many that he would turn nepotistic in light of the strict life he led as a cardinal. Resentment raised its ugly head and Callistus turned to the Spanish and his nephews to protect him, fortifying the fortresses of the papal states with men loyal to him. In a move that was a direct affront against Alfonso and other Italians who bolted, Callistus appointed many Spanish cardinals but left eligible Italian prelates off the list. He did appoint one Italian - a cardinal who really had no business being admitted to religious life. That man was his 22 year-old nephew Rodrigo Borgia who would become Pope Alexander VI thirty-five years later, a man who set the papacy back centuries and was one of the main reasons why there was so much rebellion within the Church that would lead to the Reformation.
While Callistus was consumed with the idea of being the great liberator of Constantinople and failed, he was in no way a bad pope spiritually. He tried to enforce reforms but the problems of the times and the resistance by pro-Renaissance and anti-crusade factions forced him to take drastic actions. He did reopen the archives regarding Joan of Arc's situation and on June 16, 1456 declared her innocent of the heresy charges levied on her back in 1431. This opened the way for her canonization process. He canonized Saint Osmund of Salisbury on January 1, 1457 and, in honor of the Belgrade victory over Mohammed's Islamic forces, decreed that the Feast of the Transfiguration be celebrated on that day throughout the universal Church on August 6th - a date still observed in the Church today. Unlike his predecessors who had been soft on Jewish/Christian social interacation, he was more strict and ordered no courting or marriages between Catholic and Jew. Sadly Callistus, while wanting to refortify and unify Europe had, in effect, divided Europe further causing great resentment; so great that, on the day he died in 1458 on the feast he had ordered, Italians staged an open rebellion against the Spanish troops in the papal states. Once again Rome was in turmoil. It would be left to Callistus' successor the astute, but crafty Pius II to clean up the mess.
Next issue: Pope Pius II: The task of reunifying Christian Europe begins
Consider, my Little Ones, that my Divine Sonís Passion had already begun at the moment when Judas, his heart filled with evil, blasphemously ate and drank of the new covenantóthe very body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The small morsel of bread repulsed him, and the sip of wine against his impure tongue tasted of blood and burned like fire.
And only in eternity shall the Father reveal the extreme suffering this caused my Divine Son Who, rather than seeking to be comforted and consoled by His apostles, sought only to comfort and console them in the hour of His agony. He, God Incarnate, willed to be in the bread and wine, in order to remain always the light and life of His faithful ones. He, God, chose to be a prisoner of love in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, waiting upon all of His children to cast themselves into His embrace, there to be nourished, strengthened and brought ever closer to home - to Heaven.
Meditate upon the selfless Love which propelled my Divine Son in His final earthly moments to think only of you. He would not only suffer and die a cruel death beyond any cruelty ever inflicted upon man, but His infinite love caused Him to give His very self over and over again throughout the ages.
Place yourself in this room, my Little Ones, and believe in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine at each Mass validly said by the priest. And he who is consecrated is truly a priest as ordained by my Divine Son, and through this succession, unbroken, beginning with Peter as the first vicar of Christ on earth, continues to this present day.
My Little Ones, how much God has done for you! How great are His gifts to you! I implore you now to examine again the state of your soul and the measure of your faith. I implore you to pray and seek His forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance, that you might return to a devout, holy reverence for Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.
O! My Little Ones. He is God, the promised Messiah. The Redeemer. And in your hearts there must be for Him such a holy fire as to consume all other thoughts and desires when you receive Him.
The evil one has stripped you of your reverence for the Eucharist and has caused such laxness among the people and the consecrated priests that there are many countless Judases who receive Him, and cause His crucifixion to be renewed again, while my own sorrowful heart is pierced by countless swords when I behold my Divine Son so abused and defiled.
I ask each of you to renew the fervor of your faith. Come before my Son well-prepared by the sacrament of Penance. Receive Him upon your tongue, for you have not consecrated hands that might touch Him, the Spotless Lamb. I call each one of you, without fear or doubt, to kneel in humble reverence when receiving Him, for this privilege was never denied you. Rather, the evil one cleverly concealed his evil plot and allowed your own posture of body and soul to grow lax, lazy and indifferent.
In these end times it is the Eucharist that is your Refuge, your Mercy your Light and Life. At what cost did Hew give Himself to you? Will you therefore not give unto Him all reverence, and count not the cost from those who have forsaken reverence for modernism?
Come, receive Him and be one with Him for all Eternity!
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part One of Lesson 6: IN THE GARDEN AT GETHSEMANE