I wonder How should we react facing a disease? Should we fight against a disease? I mean, to seek for healthcare.(Our body already do that) Do diseases have a purpose? Albert Einstein refused to get healthcare, although there were treatment options for his disease

When asked if he wanted to undergo surgery, Einstein refused, saying, "I want to go when I want to go. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share; it is time to go. I will do it elegantly."


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How should we react facing a disease? Should we fight against a disease? I mean, to seek for healthcare. Do diseases have a purpose?

This is a loaded subject matter.

Each person reacts to pain and physical suffering differently. Some people are able to support pain, suffering and disease better than others.

We are never forbidden to refuse to treat our infirmities. But prudence would seem to dictate that we follow our medical doctors advice. I would put a caveat here to seek the advice of some trusted spiritual helper in cases where doubts may arise within our souls.

Suffering may purify our souls if united to Christ.

Redemptive suffering is the Christian belief that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus, can remit the just punishment for one's sins or for the sins of another, or for the other physical or spiritual needs of oneself or another. In Christianity, it is a tenet of Catholic theology, although it is taught in Reformed doctrine as well.

Pope John Paul II stated, "Each man, in his sufferings, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ".[2] (cf Colossians 1:24) Like an indulgence, redemptive suffering does not gain the individual forgiveness for their sin; forgiveness results from God’s grace, freely given through Christ, which cannot be earned.(See Romans 4:3-5) After one's sins are forgiven, the individual's suffering can reduce the penalty due for sin.


Life presents the ordinary human being with ample unasked-for occasions to practice redemptive suffering. However, religious practitioners in various traditions have found spiritual benefits from voluntarily bringing upon themselves additional pain and discomfort through corporal mortification. One extreme example of redemptive suffering, which existed in the 13th and 14th centuries in Europe, was the Flagellant movement. As a partial response to the Black Death, these radicals, who were later condemned as heretics in the Catholic Church, engaged in body mortification, usually by whipping themselves, to repent for their sins, which they believed led to the Black Death.(cf 2 Samuel 24:10-15) The Flagellants quickly developed a large following throughout Central Europe, as they undertook militant pilgrimages across parts of the continent.

Roman Catholic Teaching

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following concerning redemptive suffering:

Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the "sin of the world," of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.


Thérèse of Lisieux wrote the following about her own redemptive suffering from her deathbed:

O Mother, it’s very easy to write beautiful things about suffering, but writing is nothing, nothing! One must suffer in order to know! I really feel now that what I’ve said and written is true about everything ... It’s true that I wanted to suffer much for God’s sake, and it’s true that I still desire this ... All I wrote about my desires for suffering. Oh! it’s true just the same! And I am not sorry for delivering myself up to Love. Oh! no, I’m not sorry; on the contrary!

Likewise, Padre Pio said the following about the purification brought about through redemptive suffering:

“I want your soul to be purified and tried by a daily hidden martyrdom. How many times,” Jesus said to me a little while ago, “would you have abandoned me, my son, if I had not crucified you.”

Reformed Christianity

In Reformed theology, "redemptive suffering is that voluntarily undertaken in the cause of justice and the effort to combat disease."

St. Paul has a very mysterious phrase in regards to suffering in Colossians 1:24:

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.

Again how should we react facing a disease will vary with each person.

According to Catholicism, they employ two terms that may be beneficial here: Ordinary means of care vs Extraordinary means of care.

Ordinary means of care (or proportionate) is medical care that in the patient’s judgment provides a reasonable chance of benefit and does not involve excessive burden (excessive pain, risk, expense, etc.) on the patient, family or community. In the Catholic tradition there is a moral obligation to use ordinary medical treatments aimed at prolonging life.

Extraordinary means of care (or disproportionate) is medical care that imposes excessive burden and/or is unlikely to provide the desired benefit. Catholic patients are under no obligation to receive medical treatments that in their judgment are extraordinary or disproportionate.


Hope this helps.

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