Diluted Medicine

balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing

A German doctor named Samuel Christian Hahnemann was dissatisfied with the medicines of his day. He lived in a day before the discovery of vaccines, the germ theory, and systematic medical testing. He is said to be the father of homeopathy medicines and developed the idea that if you diluted the basics of a disease then you could cure the disease in a person. As you can immagine, modern medical science rejects homeopathy as a viable treatment option.

But what caught my interest was the idea of diluting medicine. While I don’t pretend to understand all the science of medicines, I have discovered, on my own, that diluted medicines aren’t as effective as the full dose. I tried it once when I couldn’t afford my prescription, so I cut the medicine in half. Yeah, oh well, back to the drawing board.

So, if diluted medicines don’t really heal our physical diseases, why do we suppose that diluted spiritual “medicines” will heal our inner lives? Things that make you go “Hmmm.”

Look at our Gospel Lesson today in Matthew 5:14-19:

The Lord said to his disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus makes it clear that His faithful followers will be the light of the world. They will be a “city set on a hill that cannot be hid.” Notice, He doesn’t say we should try to be the light of the world or a city that can’t be hid. He simply declares that His true followers “will BE” this obvious to the whole world.

And this insight, this reality, flows from His clear wisdom He declares when He says that He hasn’t come to destroy the law and the prophets, to destroy the past, but to fulfill them!

You see, your fidelity to the wisdom of the faith that transcends time and space, your active participation in the Life of the Faith MAKES YOU the light of the world. This active participation in regular liturgies, daily prayers, generous giving, and willingness to share this faith with others sets you free to be what Christ says you are: The Light of the world. And this very purposeful Orthodoxy is the spiritual medicine at full potency and not the diluted “medicine” that simply makes other immune to the fullness of the faith.

Today, have you ever wondered why some find it so easy to abandon the Orthodox Church? Could it be that they have been “inoculated” by a diluted witness of the Faith? How sad that we insist on potent medicines for our physical ailments but accept watered down “medicines” for our souls. No wonder we grieve when our children make choices that cause them to drift further from the Faith we’ve known our whole lives. And yet, all is not lost. No, we can, and must, abandon the diluted witness of a Faith used more as a cultural decoration rather than the center of our very existence. We must be willing to go to Him Who offers us the full potency of wisdom, faith, and love to “become by grace what Christ is by nature.” Will you join me today in daring to be Orthodox on Purpose and watch as this “Light of the World” calls wounded people to the only “city” where they can get medicine for their lives that truly makes us well?

P.S. All this week we are asking your help in enabling us to get our Video Project off the ground. Our initial funding goal is $5000 and we are very close! This will allow us to shoot a demo video and will (prayerfully) launch the rest of the project. We want to create a tool that will help folks who know little to nothing about Orthodoxy to learn about the Faith AND we want to help our faithful Orthodox to learn how to share this faith with others. Would you help us? Go to our Orthodoxy 101 Page to learn more and give. Thank you!


  1. Dear Fr. Barnabas,

    I listen to your podcasts every morning to get my day off to a good start – and normally they do, until this morning when I heard homeopathy used to illustrate the effects of diluted spiritual faith. I’ll agree with you on the detriments of the latter, but will say briefly that I am an Orthodox Christian naturopathic physician who has used homeopathic remedies in my practice for over twenty years and found them to be profoundly effective and deeply healing – just like Orthodoxy.

    Samuel Hahnemann was a physician who found the conventional medicine of his day ineffective – particularly after he was unable to save one of his children during an epidemic. A devout Christian and a man of integrity, he did not feel it was honest to offer an ineffective practice of medicine to his patients. He gave up his private practice and supported his family by translating botanical medical monographs. There he saw research showing that healthy people given quinine (used to treat malaria symptoms) developed symptoms of malaria. Thus the principle of homeopathy was discovered – let like treat like. To put it another way, Hahnemann was ahead of Jenner in discovering a basic principle used to develop vaccines. (I could say much, much more, but if you have Amazon prime, you can download a copy of my e-book, Simple Ways of Healing, free for two weeks and read the introduction to the section on homeopathy.) On his death bed, Hahnemann’s last words were – “Everything I got I got from God.” And that included his inspired development of a system of healing used by millions worldwide for over 200 years. With love in Christ – Paraskeva/Pam Taylor, ND

    PS: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to introduce you to a safe and effective approach to healing. I hope you’ll give it a try.

      1. Dear Father Barnabas,

        Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to feed us every day. May God continue to bless you and your work!!! FYI – Mother Theresa used homeopathic medicines in her clinics in India, and they are used (along with conventional medicine) at the clinic at the Hogar Rafael Ayau – the Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala.

        Dear Donna,

        I practice in Moline, IL and am a grateful (to our archdioceses for its amazing level of support and to Fr. James Makoul for driving up from St. Louis to offer services at our budding parish) member of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Mission Church in Davenport, IA. God Bless!

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