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Dr Louis Pasteur: Sacrificial Servant of All

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDr Louis Pasteur

My family and I watched an Academy Award-winning movie which reminded me that every one of us owes an enormous debt to Dr. Louis Pasteur.

Just think of pasteurized milk and honey, making food safe for our families to eat and drink, thanks to Louis Pasteur.

Think of our children whose lives are safe from rabies transmitted by ‘mad dogs’, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  Think of our wives and mothers who need not fear death from infection during childbirth, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  Think of the sheep, cattle and chickens that we can safely rely on for our food supply, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  No wonder that Pasteur’s name is better known than any other scientist who has ever lived.

Louis Pasteur is a living reminder that anyone who wants to make a difference in life is bound to face bigotry and opposition.  The most narrow-minded usually turn out to be those who pretend to be the most open-minded and inclusive.  Pasteur was maligned as a murderer and a menace to science.  He was even challenged to a duel by an angry physician.

Dr Louis Pasteur1His ‘criminal’ behaviour was none other than publishing a pamphlet urging doctors to wash their hands before surgery and to sterilize their instruments.  Thirty percent of pregnant women in Paris were needlessly dying from infection during childbirth.  One grief-struck husband, whose wife had just died from childbirth fever, went on a rampage and shot his doctor dead.  Medical doctors rallied against Dr. Pasteur, blaming his pamphlet for the murder and claiming that Pasteur was making the practice of medicine unsafe for physicians and surgeons.  “Who did Pasteur think that he was?” They said. “He isn’t even a medical doctor…just a lowly chemist”.

The Emperor’s wife invited Pasteur to the French Court to explain his radical ideas.  Pasteur had the nerve to tell the Emperor that the hospitals of Paris were death houses, and that there was hardly a doctor who didn’t carry death on his hands.  After accurately predicting the death of the Emperor’s sister-in-law from childbirth infection, Pasteur was condemned as a fraud and banned by the Emperor from ever speaking out publicly again about medicine.

Having been banished into obscurity in the Dr Louis Pasteur2countryside of Arbois, Pasteur spent the next decade researching the causes of anthrax, the black plague ravaging the sheep across France.  Miraculously Pasteur invented an anthrax vaccine, which he gave freely to all farmers’ sheep in Arbois.

When the French government needed more sheep to pay the 5 million francs War indemnity to Germany, they came to Arbois to find out why Pasteur’s sheep were healthy.  Telling them of his vaccine, Pasteur was again mocked as a fool and charlatan by the Academy of Medicine.  Only after a rigorous test where infected Anthrax Blood was injected in 50 sheep, was Pasteur finally vindicated.  To everyone’s amazement, the only sheep that survived were the 25 sheep which Pasteur had injected with his vaccine.

Was Pasteur then accepted by the medical establishment?  Not on your life!  When Pasteur had the nerve to look for a rabies cure, again he was vilified and humiliated without mercy.  Pasteur was such a servant of all humanity that he even risked facing prison or guillotine to save the life of a rabies-infected ten-year old boy, Joseph Meister.  Joseph Meister was later made the caretaker of Pasteur’s tomb at the world-famous Pasteur Institute in Paris.  When the Nazis tried to force him to open Pasteur’s tomb in 1940, Joseph tragically committed suicide rather than defile the grave of his hero.

Dr Louis Pasteur3The ‘great physician’ Jesus once said that if anyone wants to be first, he must become the very last, and the servant of all.  Louis Pasteur was indeed the servant of all, who sacrificed his time, energy, and health so that others might live.  Pasteur selflessly taught that the benefits of science are not for the scientist, but for all of humanity.

Though he has saved millions of lives through his discoveries, Pasteur was unable to save the three out of his four daughters who died from typhoid fever.  In his unceasing striving to cure rabies, he suffered a crippling stroke at age 46.  Yet even that setback did not stop him from successfully finding a rabies cure.

Near the end of his life, Pasteur was finally honoured by the French Academy of Medicine.  He graciously said to them: ‘Doctors and scientists of the future, do not Dr Louis Pasteur4let yourselves be tainted by a barren skepticism nor discouraged by sadness of certain hours that creep over every nation.  Do not become angry at your opponents for no scientific theory has ever been accepted without opposition.’

In so many ways, Pasteur embodied the true meaning of Christ-likeness.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we may never let opposition embitter us as we seek to be the servants of all.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-author of the award-winning book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier


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Forgive and Forget

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Mad Dog

The famous public speaker Charles Spurgeon once said: “Forgive and forget. When you buy a mad dog, don’t leave its tail above the ground.” If you are like me, you were taught as a little child by your parents to say that you were sorry when you hurt people and to forgive when they hurt you.  Most of you reading this have probably been taught this and know this to be essential to daily living in our families, our workplaces and our schools.  We all believe this intellectually, but when someone really hurts us deeply and unfairly, it is really hard to do.

They say that it is usually easier to forgive an enemy than a friend. Why is this so? I know from personal experience that I can hurt my wife and sons (often unintentionally) far deeper than my acquaintances. I often forget that it’s the little things that really make a wife feel appreciated and loved. I believe that there is no one that we both hurt and love more than our families. Only daily forgiveness and repentance (saying you’re sorry and changing your behavior) can keep today’s families together.

Benjamin Franklin said “Doing an injury putBenjamin Franklin pictures you below your enemy; revenge makes you but even with him; forgiving sets you above him” I always thought that I was good at forgiving, until a close acquaintance hurt me deeply and very unfairly. I thought to myself “I’ll just forgive him and get on with it.” It took me over 16 years to truly forgive him from my heart. I had to forgive him day after day after day. I discovered that I was a poor forgiver, and that true forgiveness is a miracle. It is humanly impossible. Without help from a higher power, revenge will always control us.  We go sour and bitter inside. The Bible calls this disease “The Root of Bitterness” (Hebrews 12:15).

I have come to realize that forgiveness is not just a nice option for me. It’s life or death (both physically and emotionally). That’s why a wise Sage named Paul once said “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ God forgave you.”

My prayer for those reading this article is that forgiveness may not be just a word, or an intellectual belief, but rather a daily experience.

 

 The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

 Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

 -previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

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