Once again, I sit here playing Bible roulette. I don’t know what to say to you, Lord, and the silence is deafening. I slowly thumb through the pages, my eyes closed, each page passing like a hope for some question unanswered. What do you expect of me? Where do you want me to turn? Each question flows like a light breeze through my soul as I pray that you pierce my heart with your words. We clutter the silence with questions and distractions. We live in a society in which every space, every moment must be filled with activities and noise. But it is in silence that God speaks the loudest, touching the deepest parts of our broken hearts. No matter what we are doing we need to take time to stop, reflect and realign our thoughts and action with Him and let Him lead us forward.

Living in the noise of daily life, as an intensive care physician, my job has taught me the importance of silence. All of a sudden, the lights are flashing. All of the monitors are beeping. Twenty people are rushing around. One conversation over another blends into a cloud of noise. The family cries in the background. Everyone waits for instructions to direct the next steps of this orchestrated chaos.

In front of me a person, lying in stillness, completely exposed, holds onto the last breaths of life. This is what we are trained for, to make sense of the noise, to focus on what we can fix, to command a team of many, to put out the next fire.

The patient is now hooked up to many pieces of equipment; the chaos subsides. Now what? That is when the work really begins.

It is in the moments of silence, when everyone leaves, that I can take it all in. I watch the monitors. I look at every breath. I look at all the bags hanging, synthesizing my next steps. I look at the person, their face, and ground myself in the fact that this is a human being, with a past, a present, a family. I look at the pictures of their children on the windowsill — they have a beautiful life.

It is in the silence of those moments, when the chaos subsides, that I can connect to this person, to understand what happened, to help them move forward in their care.

Whatever our profession, vocation, age or capabilities we are asked one thing — to open our hearts and listen in the silence. Into the open heart God whispers His desires; in silence God gives us the gifts to carry on His work; God sees our truest selves which He so much desires. This is the importance of the White Mass for healthcare professionals. It is a time to gather under the patronage of St. Luke (the patron saint of physicians) to ask God’s blessing upon us, our patients and our work. Healthcare professionals have the great privilege and responsibility of serving the sick and this allows us to revive and enrich our call in unity with the Lord. It is a time for us to reflect on the moment Jesus called us to this vocation. It is an important reminder that we also need to take care of our spiritual needs in order to be able to properly serve with full hearts, to be still and listen to God’s voice.

— Dr. Marta Kokoszynska

White Mass with Bishop Christopher Coyne and Father Jon Schnobrich

Talk and Refreshments to follow.

Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019

4 p.m.

UVM Catholic Center, 390 South Prospect St., Burlington

Please bring your white coats. All healthcare professionals and their families are welcome.

For more information contact: Dr. Marta Kokoszynska at kokomed@gmail.com.

—Originally published in the Sept. 21-27, 2019, issue of The Inland See