The physician is not to be praised only when he leads the patient into gardens and meadows, or baths and pools of water, or when he sets a well-furnished table before him. He is also to be praised when he orders him not to eat, when he oppresses him with hunger and lays him low with thirst, confines him to his bed, making his house a prison, and depriving him of the very light, and shadowing his room with curtains. When he cuts and cauterizes, when he brings disgusting medicines, he is just as much a physician.
Isn’t it preposterous, then, to call someone a physician when he does so many bad things—and then to blaspheme God, and reject his providence over all, if he does any of these things, if he brings on famine or death? Yet he is the only real physician of our souls and of our bodies.
For that reason he often takes hold of this nature of ours when we’re wallowing in prosperity, and shaking with a fever of sins, and cures us of the disease by means of want and hunger and death and other disasters.
But only the poor are hungry, someone says. But God doesn’t chasten us only with hunger, but also with countless other things. He has often corrected the poor with hunger, but the rich and prosperous with dangers, diseases, and untimely deaths. He is very resourceful, and he has many medicines for our salvation.
However we forget that our salvation isn’t in this world and from here, our drama.
Based on Saint John Chrysostom
In the photo, a moment at Vatopedi’s hospital.