To heal a wound, the first thing to do is to clean it well, including a wide area around it. The surgeon knows that the cleaning hurts, but he also knows that there will be worse pain later if it is not done. A disinfectant is also applied immediately. Naturally it stings (or, as they say where I come from, it prickles) and hurts the patient. But it’s the only way if the wound is not to become infected.
If it is obvious that such measures must be taken to protect bodily health, although it may only be a relatively minor wound, then when the health of the soul is at stake — the very nerve centre of a man’s life — how much more necessary it is to wash, to cut away, to scrape, to disinfect, to suffer! Prudence demands that we intervene in this way and that we don’t flee from duty, because to side-step our obligations here would indicate a great lack of concern for and even a grave offence against the virtues of justice and fortitude.
You can be sure that a Christian who really wants to do everything honestly in the eyes of God and of his neighbour, needs to possess all the virtues, at least potentially. But Father, you will ask me, what about my weaknesses? And I will answer: can’t a doctor who is sick cure others, even if his illness is chronic? Will his illness prevent him from prescribing proper treatment for other patients? Obviously not. In order to cure others, all he needs is to have the necessary knowledge and to apply it with the same concern as he would in his own case. (Friends of God, 161)