Suffering, medical ethics, and the glory of God – Catholic World Report

It is normal to desire health and a long life. Tending to the health of our bodies is holy and commendable. Several beautiful verses in the Bible (Ps. 91 and Dt. 5:33, for example) invoke blessings for long life in the Lord. In the early Church, Saint Irenaeus insisted that the glory of God is man fully alive. With body and soul right with God, we have the fullness of humanity. We are normal. But our bodies give way to age. We weaken. We suffer infirmities. Some day we will die. God is not the author of suffering and death. “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living” (Wis. 1:13). Jesus reveals our natural existence when He heals the suffering and even raises Lazarus and the young daughter of Jairus from the dead. Suffering and death are the consequence of sin, Original and, of course, our personal sins. Developing an accurate cause-and-effect understanding of the relationship between personal sin and suffering is a healthy exercise for young and old alike. Except for bad habits such as smoking too much or consuming too much alcohol, our sex-drenched culture refuses to acknowledge self-evident behavior-related diseases and emotional disorders. But when we deny the sinful behavior that harms us, we deny our humanity. In medical matters, we have the reasonable obligation to use “ordinary means” to sustain and maintain our own lives and health and those of our loved ones. The question of what constitutes “ordinary means” of life support can be complicated, especially in our twilight years. But the basic requirements are not mysterious.

Suffering, medical ethics, and the glory of God – Catholic World Report

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