Prayers for Caregivers – February 12th – 28th

Feb. 12 – A Prayer for Health Care Workers Loving God, you created us with the capacity to heal, to restore and to offer peace through our role in Catholic health care ministry. Help us to be signs of love and compassion in the world today — honoring every person we meet who is in need of healing. When our burdens are heavy, renew us, remind us of the blessing of our calling and reawaken our commitment to the healing ministry. Amen. Feb. 13 – A Prayer for Hope In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus speaks of the call to serve others in these words: "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." Today we ask God's blessing on our work in health care ministry, that we may faithfully serve the persons who come to us for care. We pray for hope and faith to strengthen us to meet the challenges of our time. Above all, we pray in the hope that we may serve as Jesus served, with love and compassion for those on the margins of society. Let us now consider the words of the first president of Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Communist regime … "Either we have hope within us or we don't. It is a dimension of the soul, and it is not particularly dependent upon some observation of the world. It is an orientation of the spirit, and of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond horizons. Hope is a deep and powerful sense and it is not the same as joy that things are going well or the willingness to invest in opportunities which are obviously headed for success. But rather, it is an ability to work for something because you believe in it. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that it makes sense regardless of results. It is hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and to continually try new things." — From Vaclav Havel's (Czech dramatist, writer and human rights activist) Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Huizdala (translation by Paul Wilson) And so we pray … O God, in whose image we all are made, give us hope that through the work of our hands, and with Jesus as our model, we may glorify you now and always. Amen.  Feb. 14 – A Prayer to Go and Do Likewise Lord, as one entrusted to carry on your healing mission, help me to be ever aware of the commandment to love you and to love my neighbor as myself. Help me to be a merciful neighbor and a compassionate caregiver even when it is inconvenient, when time is short or other responsibilities loom. Help me to remember the Good Samaritan and Jesus’ simple message: Go, and do likewise. Feb. 15 – A Reflection on Luke 7: 19-23 The people of Jesus’s time first became aware of him as a teacher and a healer through the visible evidence of his impact upon the poor and the sick. As they told what they had seen and experienced, his reputation spread across the land. The good news he brought continues to live on today in the healing narratives in the Gospels and in the health care ministries serving in his name. In this passage from Luke 7, Jesus responds to the disciples who have been sent by John the Baptist to question him. After the disciples of John told him about what Jesus was doing, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” When the men came to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” At that time he cured many of their diseases, sufferings and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind. And he said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” Consider the response Jesus made to John’s disciples: “Go and tell what you have seen and heard.” The ministry of Catholic health care extends the healing ministry of Jesus to those who are in need today. Having faith in what we have seen and heard and in God’s power working through us, we pray … God, our Creator, you have blessed us with the great gift of your Son Jesus whose healing ministry is a model for our own. Grant that we may ever serve you by serving our brothers and sisters who experience illness and injury. Help us to bring alive your reign of peace through models of health care that are emerging to meet the needs of our challenging times. Let us go out to tell the world what we have seen and heard, faithful to your Word. Amen.  Feb. 16 – Concern for Those who Suffer Lord, God of All Compassion, hear our prayer and help us to live day by day with active concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit whom we are called to serve, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be. Grant your healing grace to all who are sick, injured or disabled, that they may be made whole. Grant to all who through illness are lonely, anxious or despondent, an awareness of your loving presence. Restore those who are in mental distress to soundness of mind and serenity of spirit. Through your name we pray. Amen. Feb. 17 – A Prayer for the Start of the Workday In peace we pray to you, Lord God … For the children, women and men who come to us seeking healing: For all who are in need of wellness. For those who have great needs, but who do not enter our doors: For the indigent, the infirm, the isolated. For all people in their daily life and work: For our families, friends and neighbors, and for those who are alone. For our communities, our nation and our world: For all who work for justice, freedom, health and peace. For the just and proper use of your creation: For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice and oppression. For all who are in danger, sorrow or any kind of trouble: For those who minister to the sick, the friendless and the needy. We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life: We glorify you forever and ever. Lord, our God, we pray in thanksgiving for your great mercy and for your enduring compassion towards us and all of your creatures. Assure us, guide us and grant us confidence to do your will, especially in our roles in Catholic health care. Help us to understand and respect the vulnerability and fragility of the persons we serve in our ministry as well as the associates with whom we serve. We pray, trusting in your loving kindness. Amen. Feb. 18 – A Blessing for Nurses May rest find you, In the peaceful moments when all is still, In the quiet times when you pause And breathe. May rest find you In the chaos of the moment In the sorrow you seek to heal. May rest strengthen and bless you. May it fill your spirit And give you unearned joy. May you find rest in the care of others, In the knowledge of your worth, In the value of your service. May the One who gives rest Bless you and hold you close. And may you, in your very being, Be a place of rest for others. Feb. 19 – In Your Loving Presence God, if I am challenged today, if there is anything difficult or painful I must face, help me to let go of anxiety about the outcome, and to be mindful of your presence with me. No matter where I am, what my circumstances, what my past has held, or what I need to do, in every struggle, every birth and death, great or small, in this moment you are here, in loving presence. Your life flows in me, and through me. Your breathing fills me, and awakens me. Your blessing surrounds me; your delight sustains me. Your will creates me. Your light guides me. Let this be my path: to be with you, and that alone; and to choose my way by this light. Help me to let go of anxiety about the outcome, and to be mindful of your presence with me. ⁸ A Prayer by Chuck Hawley, a long-term care leader from Providence Health & Services who wrote and shared this in his last days of battling cancer. Feb. 20 – Power in Authentic Service Let us never forget that authentic power is service. … Only those who serve with love are able to protect! Caring, protecting, demands goodness. It calls for a certain tenderness. … Great tenderness … is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness! Today … amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others, to protect creation, to protect every man and every woman. To look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! … Let us protect with love all that God has given us! — Pope Francis From the homily of the Holy Father at his installation on March 19, 2013 Feb. 21 – With Those Who Suffer in Our Midst Loving God, May we see the plight of all those who suffer in our midst. Give us courage and compassion to live in solidarity with the suffering. May our hearts, burning with love, bear the burdens of all in our care. And may our loving example ignite the hearts of others to accompany the vulnerable in their affliction. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. Feb. 22 – Prayer for Caregivers in the Face of Disparities Today we pray for persons serving in Catholic health ministry, those women and men who are called to be aware of the chasm in health care today. May they have eyes open to the disparity in care that results in worse outcomes for persons who are made vulnerable because they are unjustly kept outside the mainstream of community life. May they act for justice, and bring comfort and healing to those persons who do not sit at the table today. Let them advocate for those on the margins of society, and promote and defend human dignity. God, our creator, we give you thanks for all the blessings of this life, especially for the gift of each other and our work. Every person is a treasure, every life a sacred gift. Through our work we strive to diminish the chasm of disparity and bring about greater justice and equity. We ask your blessing on our gathering today and on all those in our communities who need our care, attention and focus. Amen. Feb. 23 – Prayer for Caregivers Let us reflect on what it means to be a “healing presence.” It is a call … To listen more than we speak To remain calm even when others are in chaos To stay clear and focused even when no clear direction is apparent To value people exactly as they are and not as we think they should be To be with people who are suffering, rather than trying to have all of the answers or explain that which ultimately is “mystery” To let go of the temptation to show only the clinical and professional side and hold back the personal and human side of caring Healing presence is not about doing something, it is about being present. And, when we enter this vulnerable state of simply being with another person who is in pain or in sorrow, we experience the healing power of God. And so we pray … Good and gracious God, You are the source of all healing. In you we have a share of the wonderful ministry we call “healing presence.” Today, we pray for caregivers, that your grace moves through each of them to reveal your healing touch, your compassionate glance, your consoling words. Bless them in a special way today and strengthen them so that they might continue to be your healing presence to others. We ask this in the power of your Holy Name.  Amen. Feb. 24 – A Prayer for all Those Who Work in Catholic Health Care  Loving God, you created us with the capacity to heal, to restore and to offer peace through our role in Catholic health care ministry. Help us to be signs of love and compassion in the world today — honoring every person we meet who is in need of healing. When our burdens are heavy, renew us, remind us of the blessing of our calling and reawaken our commitment to the healing ministry. Amen. Feb. 25 – A Prayer for Spiritual Caregivers It is a cry that we hear every day in our Catholic hospitals and nursing homes: "I want to see." In some circumstances, it is a cry for physical sight that has been taken away by age or accident. But in many circumstances, it is a cry for meaning and insight as persons suffer spiritual crises spurred by ill health and disaster. What is the meaning of life with disability? Is there purpose in my pain? How could a good God allow this to happen? What happens after I die? Spiritual care is not unique to Catholic hospitals and nursing homes, but it is integral to their identity. Catholic teaching lifts the importance of honoring the whole person — both body and spirit — seeing the two as integrally connected. It would be impossible for us to offer Catholic health care without dedicating colleagues to spiritual care. They go by many different names — chaplains, pastoral caregivers, spiritual companions and more. Most are professionals who've prepared for their ministry with years of study and certification. Others are generous volunteers from the local community. All help us to fulfill our mission in an explicit way. And today we give thanks for their presence in our midst. Bless these women and men whom you have called to serve you as spiritual companions of the infirm and suffering. Make them ministers of the "sight" that we all need in our lives in times of trial. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the healer, who attends to both body and spirit. Amen. Feb. 26A Reflection on Jesus’ Call for Equity Jesus told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to draw attention to the great chasm that exists between the poor and the powerful who are indifferent to their suffering. As part of Jesus’ healing mission, we are called to promote justice. There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. (Luke 16:19-23) Jesus calls us to be aware of the chasm in health care. He calls us to act for justice. He calls us to bring comfort and healing to those who are not sitting at the table today. He calls us to advocate for the poor, and to promote and defend human dignity. With Jesus’ call in mind, let us pray together… God, our creator and the ground of our being, we give you thanks for all of the blessings of this life, especially for the gift of each other and our work. Every person is a treasure, every life a sacred gift. May the work we do diminish the chasm of disparity and bring about greater justice and equity. We ask your blessings, in the name of Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Feb. 27 – Reflection on Staying Refreshed A Reading: Caregiving demands lots of physical and emotional energy. It is frequently hard, draining work. We donít have an unlimited supply of energy, and so we must figure out what the source of replenishment is for each of us. The principle of burnout is that more energy goes out from a system than comes into it. Do we think about the ways our energy is replenished and build them into our life? The Psalmist spoke of "lifting our eyes to the mountains" to find help. Are we built up again through time in the mountains, meditation, relaxation, outdoor activity, reading, exercise, prayer, creative expression, or a combination of many opportunities? — Joan Guntzelman, Prayers for Caregivers, St. Mary's Press, Tempe, AZ, 1995, p. 140. Let us pray … Dear God, when I spend myself without replenishment, I wind up being no help to anyone. I know what nourishes and refreshes me. Thank you for these gifts, and may I turn to them readily. I recognize that I have far more to offer when I am vibrant and full of life than when I am burned out. Praise to you, my God. Amen. Feb. 28 – Prayer for a Health Care Leader Leaders bring unique gifts to the work of Catholic health ministry. Never working alone, but in concert with many others. Each person, each gift, is important to the whole. Open my mind today to the words of scripture, calling me to see the value I bring to the community of caregivers and to cherish the unique contribution of others with whom I share in this work. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many.  … If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. (I Corinthians 12:12-14) Spend a moment of silent reflection recalling the words of St. Paul.
  • What is a unique gift I bring to my work?
  • Upon whom do I depend each day in order to address the needs of patients, families, others?
  • For whom am I most thankful in my personal life, in my professional life – those persons who enable me to be at my best?
And so I pray … God of mercy, I come to you today different and unique, yet one with my colleagues. May we be united in our desire to serve. Give us a share of your Spirit so that our minds and hearts are open to the ways you will speak to us during this day. Give me more trust in the confidence you have placed in my leadership and as a sign of your love and healing for others. Amen.