This was the only decent image about 'preoccupation' on google. Sorry.

Yet another fluff piece from Burrito, scribbled first on the back of a fag packet, then transcribed. Yes, I am a smoking doctor, mea maxima culpa, a youthfully begun habit that I have not been able to shake. No doubt, nearer my death, I will have plenty of time to regret this ‘choice’. For certain, ALL coffins are strictly non smoking, unless you choose cremation.

The more obsessively observant among you, dear readers, may have noticed my comparative absence from here of late. This is because I have been preoccupied. The powers that govern my profession have decided a while back that all doctors must be appraised yearly, to be ultimately revalidated. This all began as a knee jerk response to the Shipman and Bristol scandals in the UK back in the nineties. Before this bureaucratic coup, doctors were policed by one another. Sick or dodgy doctors would come to the attention of the local ‘three wise men’, and be dealt with discretely, or reported up to the GMC. In those days, a doctor’s name and reputation were his or her trading credentials, and lived in the minds of patients and colleagues, and were transmitted by gossip. Nowadays, various fatuous items of evidence have to be collected, stamped, approved, submitted, digitised and recorded onto an electronic database, for perusal and data mining by the great and the good. It takes ages to gather all this ‘evidence’ and enter it online. It takes even longer for an appraiser (that’s me) to read it all and write a summary etc. The software doesn’t even work properly, which causes delays, the enemies of deadlines.

Aargh!! I entered this profession to treat the sick! This sort of paperwork thingy drives me mad because it is so distracting and time consuming. I long for the good old days. Shipman succeeded for so long as a mass murderer, because he was a stickler for detail. He only got caught when he became careless. I bet he would have got top appraisal scoring. He wouldn’t have been picked up by this new system.

Enough of my moaning, what is this rant doing on a Catholic blog? The point is ‘preoccupation’. Whenever we are preoccupied, we are often breaking the First Commandment. We are forgetting to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength. This has to be the commonest sin of all, and also the most deadly!

In my view, all organised religion is targeted towards addressing this first Commandment. The devil responds by trying to make it impossible to follow it. ‘The devil is in the details’, a common saying, to me suggests that the devil is in the distractions, the preoccupations. Beelzebub translates as ‘the Lord of the Flies’.

This is why it is so particularly hard to fulfill the First Commandment in these modern times. Distracting, annoying, dirty flies, everywhere.

There is no alternative (TINA) but that we all appraise ourselves, detect and reject our preoccupations, and set ourselves at the service of the Lord. Once we have addressed the First Commandment, loving our neighbour as ourselves, is a doddle.


So what about my present preoccupation? Well, as I report to my appraiser each year, everything is still Shipman-shape, and Bristol-fashion.

About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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2 Responses to Preoccupation

  1. leftfooter says:

    The rueful laughter of recognition! I’m not a doctor, but when I was teacher In London appraisal was non-stop.

    Your point about the First Commandment is a powerful one. I never thought about it in that way before.

    Thank you – I think I am now a little wiser. God bless!

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Yes, the burrocrazy in Britain especially targets professionals. Thanks to the CRB, I now live and work abroad. I never want to return to England. Spanish burrocrazy is quite different. It takes just as much time, involves continual rounds of form filling, but they are so inefficient, all the paperwork gets lost and nobody seems to care about enforcing anything. It is a complete waste of time but quite harmless.

    As for preoccupations, I agree that you have hit the nail on the head. When Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light,” he was talking about the attitude of mind and soul of an individual freed from fears and worldly preoccupations and resting in the still centre of God.

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