His equal interest in diseases and people has allowed Dr. Sacks to focus on the “suffering, afflicted, fighting, human subject…a ‘who’ as well as a ‘what,’ a real person, a patient, in relation to disease—in relation to the physical.”2 His inclination and his insight about himself and others intersect with our Christian conviction about humans: each person is a lively unity.
Those who judged Jesus a blasphemer did not see as Jesus saw: a person with paralysis. Those who glorified God shared the divine vision. They saw again how Jesus responded to people not only to conditions and diseases. In Dr. Sacks’ language, Jesus did not focus on diseases but on people, who fall “radically into sickness.” Sickness is more than ailing bodies.
- Allow yourself, body and spirit, to rest in the Trinity, who creates and redeems you.
- Ask the saints to present you to Jesus, as the friends of the paralyzed man presented him.
- Speak to Jesus by telling him the story of yourself: not a chronicle but the way you would introduce your parent or child, your spouse or sibling or friend to Jesus. Speaking your story makes you a real person to yourself as well as to another.
- Ask Jesus for grace honestly to reveal yourself. Give yourself to Jesus.
- Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. On earth as in heaven calls us to attend to our embodied spirits, our true identity. The more we do, the more we grow aware of Jesus with us and among us.
- Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales. © 1970, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985 by Oliver Sacks. All rights reserved. pdf version, accessed 11 Feb 2012, p. 3.
- St. Paul used the phrases inner human and outer human in speaking about spirit and body: 2 Corinthians 4.16. Procopius of Gaza (c. 465-528) used hidden and seen of this unity: “God the Father’s Power, himself a person...has fashioned man also, who was created to resemble God’s own image and likeness and has a nature which is partly seen and partly hidden from our eyes.” (From his Commenatry on Proverbs.)