Thought for the Day – 26 September – The Memorial of Saints Cosmas and Damian (Died c 286) Martyrs
Who were Cosmas and Damian? Tradition has it that they were twin brothers, Arabs by rac, and physicians, practising their profession without claiming payment from their patients. Hence they were known as the “moneyless” or “unmercenary” physicians. The lesson formerly read at Matins has this lovely line: “Not more by their knowledge of medicine than by the power of Christ, they healed diseases which had been hopeless for others.”
Ultimately, Cosmas and Damian gave their lives in witness to the Divine Physician Christ. They were honoured first in the East and by the sixth century they had their own basilica in Rome where they were depicted in mosaics which can still be seen today.
It is no surprise that Cosmas and Damian came to be invoked as the patron saints of physicians, surgeon, and other health care givers. For this reason, I remember today, all the physicians and nurses who have cared for us in the past and who care for us now.
In some way we are, all of us, ‘moneyless’ health care givers. There is a long tradition of this — an apostolic one, in fact. Remember Saint Peter saying at the “gate which is called Beautiful” (Ac 3:2) “I have no silver or gold, but I give you what I have” (Ac 3:6). Peter then offered healing in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
The charism of healing may not given to all but the word of comfort, the word of the Lord that dispels fear and brings assurance, is something that each of us can offer. Holy Father Benedict, speaking of the cellarer of the monastery, says that, “a good word is above the highest gift” (RB 31:14). If words can wound, bringing suffering, they can also heal, bringing light and peace.
The words that bring us together, day after day for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass — “This is my Body which will be given up for you,” and “This is the cup of my Blood” — are words of healing. They come forth from the mouth of the Divine Physician, moneyless and unmercenary who, “though he was rich, yet for your sake became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9). (Fr Mark of Silverstream Priory)