Monday, March 5, 2012

It Bears Repeating... In Fact It Thrives in Repeating----The Prayer of Maimondes

Almighty God, Thou has created the human body with infinite wisdom. Ten thousand times ten thousand organs has Thou combined in it that act unceasingly and harmoniously to preserve the whole in all its beauty - the body which is thee envelope of the immortal soul. They are ever acting in perfect order, agreement and accord. Yet when the frailty of matter or the unbridling of passion deranges this order or interrupts this accord, then the forces clash and the body crumbles into the primal dust from which it came. Thou sendest to man diseases as beneficent messengers to foretell approaching danger and to urge him to avert it. Thou has blest Thine earth, Thy rivers and Thy mountains with healing substances; they enable Thy creatures to alleviate their sufferings and heal their illnesses. Thou hast endowed man with the wisdom to relieve the suffering of his brother, to recognize his disorders, to extract the healing substances, to discover their powers and to prepare and to apply them to suit every ill. In Thy Eternal Providence Thou has chosen me to watch over the health and the life of Thy creatures. I am now about to apply myself to the duties of my profession. Support me, Almighty God, in these great labors that they may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed. Inspire me with love for my art and for Thy creatures. Do not allow thirst for profit, ambition for renown and admiration, to interfere with my profession, for these are the enemies of truth and of love for mankind and they can lead astray in the great task of attending to the welfare of Thy creatures. Preserve the strength of my body and of my soul that they ever be ready to cheerfully help and support rich and poor, good and bad, enemy as well as friend. In the sufferer let me see only the human being. Illumine my mind that it recognize what presents itself and that it may comprehend what is visible, but do not permit it to arrogate to itself the power to see what can not be seen, for delicate and indefinite are the bounds of the great art of caring for the lives and health of Thy creatures. Let me never be absentminded. May no strange thoughts divert my attention at the bedside of the sick, or disturb my mind in its silent labors, for great and sacred are the thoughtful deliverations required to preserve the lives and health of Thy creatures. Grant that my patients have confidence in me and my art and follow my direction and my counsel. Remove from their midst all the charlatans and the whole host of officious relatives and know-all nurses, cruel people who arrogantly frustrate the wisest purposes of our art and often lead Thy creatures to their death. Should those who are wiser than I wish to improve and instruct me, let my soul gratefully follow their guidance; for vast is the extent of the art. Should conceited fools, however, censure me, then let love for my profession steel me against them, so that I remain steadfast without regard to age, for reputation, or for honor, because surrender would bring to Thy creatures sickness and death. Imbue my soul with gentleness and calmness when older colleagues, proud of their age, wish to displace me or to scorn me disdainfully to teach me. May even this be of advantage to me, for they known many things of which I am ignorant, but let not their arrogance give me pain. For they are old, and old age is not the master of the passions. I also hope to attain old age upon this earth, before Thee, Almighty God! Let me be contented in everything except the great science of my profession. Never allow the thought to arise in me that I have attained to sufficient knowledge, but vouchsafe to me the strength, the leisure and the ambition ever to extend my knowledge. For art is great, but the mind of man is ever expanding. Almighty God! Thou has chosen me in Thy mercy to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures. I now apply myself to that profession. Support me in this great task so that it may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed. re is an ancient physicians oath which articulates the physicians deeply felt obligation to heal the sick. Maimondes, as a devoted physician and guide for the perplexed, composed an oath for all physicians, Jews and gentiles1, which expresses the profound obligation of the physician to heal with devotion and humility, and a prayer for God's assistance and intervention. r

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