Ministry > Health Care
This afternoon, like all other afternoons, wearing a spotless white dress of a nurse, I began my ministry to the sick by counting the narcotic medications and listening to the morning nurse as they report the patients' condition. After the report, I began to make rounds greeting and assessing the patients whom I will take care that day.
As I entered room 402, noticing the patient lying quietly in bed with his eyes half-closed, I tiptoed toward the intravenous (IV) pump at the head of the bed, attempted to readjust the machine. Stretching out my hand for the button, and before reaching it, he said rudely in a grudging voice, "Sister, what do you know? So, don't touch it. I don't want you taking care of me today". I was flabbergasted of such harsh language from a patient I have never met. That cruel remark affected my zealous disposition. Holding myself in, I made an effort to dialogue with him, yet it was hopeless. I left the room with hard feelings. Of course, I asked for a change of assignment so that I would not have to take care of this difficult patient. Throughout the evening I was unhappy. Occasionally, I take a peek at him as I walk in and out to take care of the patient beside him. The situation remained unchanged. After a through self-examination, and knowing that it was not my fault, my conscience was still not at peace. What was hindering me from such peace?
It was eight o'clock in the evening. I took the opportunity of bringing the medications to the patient in the next bed, and with courage, I again approached him. Seeing me, he burst out crying like a little child. I came closer, sat down, and held his hands in mine, letting the stream of tears ran down his pale bony face. I sate there in silence. He began to talk, and I listened attentively to him. Toward the end, he expressed his apology. Even without the apology, I understood why he used such harsh language he had unjustly said to me earlier. We began to understand one another, although it was only a monologue rather than a dialogue.
The Constitution of the Lovers of the Holy Cross describes an apostle as the visible hand of Christ to continue and complete his salvia mission. The Lambert ian spirituality that eh Lovers of the Holy Cross live out derived from the Good News of the Gospel. She approaches everyone with respect, gentleness, and humility to proclaim Christ crucified in words and actions. At the same time, she bears witness by willingly die for the one she proclaims.
In the nursing field, the Lovers of the Holy Cross are called to participate in the healing mission, minister to the sick. In the spirit of the Founder, the Lovers of the Holy Cross are called to help them regain their health according to the creation plan of God, and at the same time, to renew them in their spiritual life. Therefore, she takes care the sick not only in the realm of their physical health, but also concerns about the elements of their psychological and spiritual health as well, bringing humanity to the wholeness.
Furthermore, in the healing ministry as a nurse, the Sister does not solely minister to the patients, but also to all those whom she encounters: from the doctors and associate nurses, to the housekeepers and the families of the patients. The Lovers of the Holy Cross wears not only the white dress of a nurse, but she must at all times embraces within her heart the outfit of love. She is the visible loving hands of God to channel Christ's healing to all sick members of His Body.
Through the experiences of ministering with the sick, I found myself encountering Christ at different moments of His Passion and Resurrection. Patients, afraid and in pain prior to surgery, are images of the agonizing Christ in Gethsemane Patients at he point of death, wriggling with excruciating pain and totally surrendering to God, are the images of the risen Christ who conquered suffering and death. Living the charism of the Lovers of the Holy Cross with Jesus Christ crucified at the center, reminds me to be compassionate as the patients experienced excruciating pain, anxieties and confusion facing their death, and also to share with them the joy of recovery after many days of needlessly worrying,
Each day on my way to the hospital, I often ponder the Bishop Lambert's word handed on to the Sisters, "Jesus Christ crucified is the only object of my mind and heart". With this prayer, I pray that Christ would always be the center of my life and place HIm above all my daily activities. Each time stepping into the car, the Lovers of the Holy Cross Sisters also have the tradition of saying this prayer: "Christ is before me, so that I can adore and worship Him. Christ is in my heart, so that I can love and unite with him. Christ is in my hands, so that I can cooperation with Him by concrete works and bring Him to all humankind". These prayers become my daily prayer before I begin my nursing ministry.
"Christ is before me, so that I can adore and worship Him. The sick I meet in the hospital are the visible suffering Body of Christ, who is the need of my help. Facing these loving images, I must always have an attitude of respect and love, let go of my own selfishness, and embrace the sacrificial services for the wholeness of humanity. As the matter of fact, I encountered many unlovable images of Christ. Some images of Christ were very demanding and frequently complained. There were also rude and quick-tempered images of Christ. Dear Lord, whether lovable or unlovable, may I recognize Your image in the patients. All of us were made in the loving image of God. May I know how to adore and worship You in the body of our sick brothers and sisters.
Christ is in my heart, so that I can love and unite with him. Caring for the sick in the hospital sometimes are very unpredictable with time and schedule. it can affect the spiritual life of a religious life of a religious Sister nurse. The more commotion and busy of the apostolic activity, the more effort a religious sister nurse must strive to maintain the interior peace for union with God. May God engrave His image in my heart, so that His love would be realized in my actions and may sick brothers and sisters, who are in need of my care and comfort would experience my love for God.
Christ is in my hands, so that I can cooperation with Him by concrete works and bring Him to all humankind" In the course of nursing ministry, I have to face with many difficulties and challenges. There are ties that I must confront with life and death situations. With this reality, I do not hesitate to dedicate my life to God. I firmly believe that God is using my hands to carry out His love, to soothe the physical and spiritual wounds of the sick. The mediator role of the Lambertian Spirit reminds the religious sister nurse to return to her humble reality of being an instrument in Gods' providential hands. Dear Lord, use my ears to listen without being criticized, use mouth to utter only the loving and comfort words, renew my heart to be compassionate with the suffering of humanity, and use my lips to send your loving and peaceful smiles to all those who are journeying with me in this healing ministry.
The Spirit of the above prayer embodies the three aspects of Lambertian Spirituality: Contemplation, Mortification, and the Apostolate. Each working day was a day I experienced the cycle of suffering, sorrows, joys, hopeful waiting, and the abyss of despairs of the patients and their family, co-workers, and myself. Through meditation and recollection with God at the end of the day, I visualize all the moments of the day, the moments of recognizing God in others and moments of busy occupying I didn't not recognize Him. My Lord, speak a word and all things will be healed.
Lord, daily life in today's society, people tend to reward those with high educational degree and treat exceptionally well the rich and successful. Being a human I was influenced by the similar attitude. The only thing that make a Lover of the Holy Cross nurse proud of is that I am a nurse for You, Jesus Christ, the Supreme Physician with the gentle hands and loving heart ready to forgive and heal all those come to You.