Our Holy Orthodox Faith teaches us that each human life is a unique creation of Almighty God and that each individual is precious in His sight. The Natural Law St. Paul speaks of, which is written in our hearts and enables us to discern good from evil, obliges us to make all reasonable efforts to preserve human life no matter how insignificant that life may seem. When a person is not dying or in imminent danger of death, food and water are absolute requirements for maintaining human life and it must be presumed that if a person is unconscious or unable to respond that the person would request nourishment in order to stay alive. The benefit of the doubt here has to be in favor of the person’s will to live. Only God has the right to take an innocent human life and we as God’s faithful stewards have the obligation to preserve His creation until He calls us home.
We take the opportunity of the end-of-life issues being so prominent now in the news to remind our flock of the value of arranging for themselves a living will and a health care proxy. We also remind our flock that the Orthodox Church does not call us to the ideal of living this life for the sole sake of longevity, but for the sake of using our time in this life to work out our salvation.