A Christopher Prayer for Doctors

I was recently looking through a book written by The Christophers’ founder, Maryknoll Father James Keller, in 1958, and came across this prayer for doctors that he wrote. It’s timeless and embodies the spirit of godly service that should define the life of a physician. If you’re a doctor yourself or know one, please pass along Father Keller’s prayer to them:

“Thank you, O Lord, for the privilege of being a doctor; for letting me serve as Your instrument in ministering to the sick and afflicted. May I always treat with reverence the human life which You have brought into being. Keep me constantly alert to see that the sacred right to live is never violated for even the least individual.

“Deepen my love for people so that I will always give of myself gladly and generously to those stricken with illness and suffering. Help me to listen patiently, diagnose carefully, prescribe conscientiously, and follow through faithfully.

“Teach me to blend gentleness with skill to be a doctor with a heart as well as a mind. Let me be calm without being cold, patient without being weak, and strong without being proud. Help me Lord, to give encouragement without over-confidence to tell the truth without being blunt.

“May I be prompt to relieve pain quick to hold out the hand of honest hope. Inspire me always to show a special tenderness for the poor and forgotten, for those who are broken in spirit as well as in body. Amen.”

- Father James Keller, M.M.

About Tony Rossi

After graduating from St. John's University in New York with degrees in Communications and English, Tony Rossi found a job at the Catholic media organization, The Christophers, that allowed him to indulge his interest in religion, media, and pop culture. He served as The Christophers' TV producer for 11 years, and is currently the host and producer of the organization's radio show/podcast Christopher Closeup, writer and editor of their syndicated Light One Candle column, and producer/scriptwriter of the annual Christopher Awards ceremony.

  • Dr. John Fox

    What a wonderful column. I have followed the The Christophers since I was a young boy in the 1950s. My first “real” Christopher experience was reading “Three Minutes A Day”.

    The most memorable story I read that I can truly remember was about the carpenter who built the original box into which delegates who met in the newly built United Nations building in New York cast their votes.

    His wish was ( and I am trying to recall something from more than 50 years old) was that every vote be cast with wisdom, compassion and understanding. He left the note in the box that he built.

    I can’t remember the exact date from the early 50s, but the paperback version of “Three Minutes A Day” in which I read it had a pink cover.

    I am not sure if The Christopher community knows this, but John F. Kennedy was a great fan of Father Keller and The Christophers. To me the greatest of all the speeches he gave was at American University. Its principal subject was nuclear disaramament. But for me as a Catholic and a Christopher, the most profound lines in the speech were:

    “For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christophers/ Tony Rossi

      Thanks for the comment, Dr. Fox. Unfortunately much of that material from the 1950s was lost through the years. We’re happy to have a few things from those days, including the book with that prayer. It would be great if a new generation started using it.