Benediction of Vanderbilt Christian Medical Student Graduates (Commissioning)

Wesley Ely, MD, MPH
May 10, 2017

REF: Ely EW, Linacre Q. 2018 Aug;85(3):200-201. doi: 10.1177/0024363918779841. Epub 2018 Jun 1

(format adapted from a benediction given at Xavier Univ 2015)

Let us gathered here unite in prayer so that we may entrust into the hands of the Lord the hearts of those who are graduating.

  1. May God the Father, who called you to the vocation of medicine, complete your formation in His image, enabling you to remain immersed “in” but not “of” this world. (Jn 17:14-16)
  1. May Christ his Son, our Lord, give you the grace to make wise choices when you are with your patients and to be faithful in your commitment to each of them, always confident in the support of those who love you during the trials anddisappointments that inevitably befall all dedicated physicians.
  1. May the Holy Spirit bless you with a discontentedness that sparks healing actions and words for those in most need, especially difficult patients who through their own suffering have become blind to beauty and goodness around them and reject your attempts to help.
  1. May God bless you with discomfort, as modeled for us by two modern-day saints, Drs. Gianna Molla and Josef Moscati…discomfort that will provide a fortress against half-truths, and superficiality, ensuring for you a life in oneness with the Blessed Trinity.
  1. May God bless you with *rage* towards prejudice and abuse of others, especially the poor and voiceless, so that you will sew fairness and peace.
  1. May you always remember Christ’s hematidrosis (Lk 22:39-44) when you receive the “gift of tears” shed for your patients and reach out your hand to comfort them in the spirit of Mt 25.
  1. May God bless you with foolishness to know that you can make a difference; so that you will do things others say can’t be done.
  1. May your integrity and drive be a radical gift to the world, constantly teaching those around you that Mercy mandates both diving into the chaos of another person’s and providing her lifting and healing, even when cure is not possible.

Ever living God, Bless these graduates whom we are sending forth to carry the Gospel of Christ to all people. Let your Spirit enlighten their minds and guide their actions so that they may be renewed in faith, united in love, and advance the work of the Church for Your honor and glory. And may Almighty God bless you all…in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…Amen

** Note that the use of “rage” here is not meant to incite or justify violence (physically or verbally) against those with whom we disagree. It is, rather, meant to wake us up to the importance of becoming “energized” into taking a stance against the immoral treatment of our vulnerable brothers and sisters in society. We must take this stance (especially as healthcare professionals) not figuratively or theoretically but in substance and action because of the truth that we know: all people are made in the image and likeness of our loving God.