Week of May 18, 2015
Next Sunday's feast of Pentecost has me thinking about this time of year more than half a century ago when I was in the third grade.
Our family had just moved from one city to another and in our new parish third-graders received the sacrament of confirmation. I had two months of preparation. I didn't have a lot of time to learn about this incredible source of grace. And, being so young, I didn't have a lot of insight.
Still . . .
Throughout the many years since then I've come to compare confirmation and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to a "time-released" cold capsule. (You may remember those old TV ads for Contac.) The Holy Spirit, time and again, gave me what I needed when I needed it. Or . . . gave me a little of it and asked me to increase it by using it!
One of the ways God is with you in your caregiving is the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It seems to me they're seldom an instant answer, solution or relief to your most pressing need or concern but a nudge, an encouragement, a fleeting realization of a huge and amazing truth: God has asked you to help his beloved son or daughter and you have answered yes.
One of the Mass readings for Pentecost this year is Galatians 5:16-25. It incudes this:
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
The last six sound like a caregiver's job description: patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And, at times, each can be so hard. Each can demand so much self-sacrifice.
But what about the first three? Yes, love is the foundation. But joy? Sometimes joy is scarce. And peace? Ha! Worry, turmoil, fear, exhaustion, guilt . . . yes. Peace? Not so much.
My prayer for you is that you'll recognize the deep joy that comes from doing what God has asked you to do. The deep joy that come from serving Christ by serving one who needs your help. That kind of joy isn't to be confused with a bubbly happiness. That kind of joy isn't an emotion. That kind of joy is based on the knowledge that, like Mary at the Annunciation, you have said, "Let it be according to your will." And you are living that.
What about peace? That can be a tough one. But know this: The Prince of Peace is with you. Always.
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Again this week we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com and CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about becoming a member here.
No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).
God bless you!
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The Friends of St. John the Caregiver was chosen to be part of the USCCB's 2007-2008 Respect Life Program.