My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
On behalf of the Exco of AFCMA, I wish you all a very happy Easter. It is the culmination of our journey as Catholics. It is the commemoration of Jesus’s death and resurrection, signifying the completion of his mission on earth, to redeem our sins. It is also a reminder for us to continue spreading the Good News to the people around us, through our words and actions.
As medical practitioners, we too should practice Catholicism in our lives. It is important to appreciate that these two aspects are inseparable: we are both medical doctors and Catholics. It is simply impossible for us to think that we can neglect our Catholic values while doing our medical practices and only follow Catholic teachings while we are not on duty. When tested by the Pharisees, Jesus said that we ought to “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17). It is entirely possible that the two can go hand-in-hand. We can carry out our duties as medical practitioners while at the same time following Jesus’ teachings in all our words and actions.
Firstly, it is important for us to utilise our God-given intelligence in taking care of our patients. When assessing them, we have to take all aspects into consideration. Our analysis on our patients should not only on their physical and physiological state, but also their psychological state, social status (including their religion), and financial situations. Each of our patients is an entire entity comprising of all these aspects and should be treated accordingly.
In each of our actions and the decisions we make, we have to put the patient’s needs as the primary focus. Patients should be viewed as subjects who we should treat in the highest regards. Never are they objects we can simply use to our advantage. They are much more than just our sources of income. We should remember our oaths, that we have an obligation to save lives and improve the lives of people.
In our line of jobs, we are constantly faced with ethical and moral questions. These are the times where we have to exercise our conscience. It is our duties as Catholics to answer these tough questions according to our faith in Christ. At times, our final decisions could attract controversies, some of which may even result in persecutions against us. However, it is imperative to remind ourselves that we should live our faith unconditionally, and that it is in these difficult situations that our faith is tested.
We have learned from our experiences during Lent that we have to introspect, inspect our conscience. As medical practitioners, we are also encouraged to continuously looking back at our experiences, at our actions for the day, and take lessons from them, to improve and renew ourselves, both as persons and as professional catholic doctors. Now that we have come to the end of the Lenten period, we should use the momentum to continue our practice to introspect and reflect upon our lives.
Jesus died on the cross to redeem our sins, regardless of who we are. We have to use the same analogy in carrying our duties as medical practitioners. We must not let our personal preferences towards certain people get in the way of our primary duties to help others desperate for our assistance. Our first priority is to save lives.
To conclude my message, I would like to once again emphasize that being a medical practitioner is God’s gift to us, and we have to always view it as a privilege. Therefore, it is our moral and spiritual obligations to utilise God’s gift to help others while spreading the word of God in our daily lives. I kindly offer my most sincere prayers, may the Holy Spirit guide us in all our thoughts and actions.
Yours in Christ,
Ignatius Harjadi Widjaja.
President of AFCMA