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A Perspective from the Denver Guild on the 92nd Annual Educational Conference

September 22, 2023

By Dr. Thomas Jensen

This year’s conference attracted over 700 attendees, including the largest turnout ever from medical students and residents. This was also true of our young members from Denver. We enjoyed inspiring presentations and encouraging discussions in the celebration of faith, medicine, and fellowship. Dr. Tim Millea organized a thoughtful program to help equip us with the tools necessary to overcome our fears and transform medicine to serve as leaven to lift up our fellow men and women.

Courage, the theme of the conference, is not something passively infused into us all at once, but as many of the speakers gave witness, courage is forged in us through the fires of tribulations and failure emerging through the purification of Christ crucified.

To tie in a motif that best captures these stories of courage, I was reminded of the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 14. After the feeding of 5000, the Apostles attempt to cross the Sea of Galilee at night on their own. Matthew recounts the boat being tossed about by the waves as a strong wind beat against it. And then if that was not enough, shear terror gripped them as a ghostly figure walked on water toward them.

In medicine today, we in the midst of our occupations, may also feel our own careers and lives being tossed about by waves, with a strong “wind” working against us, and ghostly figures awaiting to devour us. Yet in the midst of our greatest fears, emerges our greatest hope, Christ Jesus who will repeat the same words He spoke to the Apostles; “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  The question is: How will we respond to His invitation?

The conference presenters over those three days revealed their response as did Simon Peter; “If it is you Lord command me to come to you on the water.” We have to do the audacious and daring thing; be prepared to leave the boat of our self-reliance and man-made securities to trust our Lord. We have to be another Simon Peter and start walking on water. And how true in an age that tells us that Catholics should have no place in Medicine, we are witnessing the proverbial walking on water as we listen to stories of a pediatric endocrinologist facing the headwinds of gender ideology, an OB-GYN resident facing the headwinds of the pro-abortion ideology of Planned Parenthood, an anesthesiologist facing the headwinds of a hospital system taking away support for a Catholic Health Care Clinic, a pulmonary critical care doctor facing the headwinds of covid and inhumane response, a palliative care doctor facing the headwinds of physician assisted suicide, a dermatologist facing the struggles to convey truth in the media and mental health among so many other stories of courage.

And just like Simon Peter, the speakers freely admitted their doubts when facing the prevailing winds of our own time. Each of them at times will freely admit they too sank like Simon Peter. They each faced dark moments when their own strength failed them. But each cried out as well like Simon Peter, “Lord save Me.” Therefore, it can be said that courage is not the strength we acquire through our own merit, but the strength that God can infuse in us when we embrace the reality of our weakness. What might seem to be the last step of our greatest tribulation, really is the first step towards our greatest triumph. We, just like Simon Peter, have to not be afraid and be prepared to leave the security of our self-designed “boats” to listen to the call of Christ and start walking on water with Him.

This is the medicine the world needs, and the vocation of truth that Christ calls us to live.

Dr. Thomas Jensen is the president of the Denver Guild, which was recognized at the conference with the St. Luke Award for the excellent work the Guild does.



Hosted by SW Florida Guild of the Catholic Medical Association: