God knows caregiving is
hard. God knows caregiving is work. God alone knows all the
particular circumstances—the feelings and emotions, the life
experiences and personality quirks, the baggage and hot
buttons—that can make taking care of another person hard work.
And knowing all that, God has chosen you to play a central
role in providing that care. Just as from the cross Jesus asked
St. John—the patron saint of caregivers—to take care of the
Blessed Mother, God asks you to help take care of someone else
he so deeply loves. But that doesn’t mean providing care for a
spouse, a parent or grandparent, a child or sibling with special
needs, or any other family member or friend is simple or easy
You know—or have quickly been discovering—that caregiving
is hard work. You know—or have quickly been discovering—that
caregiving can take a toll physically, emotionally, mentally,
financially, and spiritually. What you may not know, or at times
not recognize, is that you are not the only one facing these
challenges. While you may be the only one in your family
providing care (or the primary person providing it), there are
other caregivers in your workplace, in your parish, in your
community, in your city or town, in your state. The number of
caregivers continues to grow rapidly, because the number of
seniors needing care continues to grow rapidly.
As in your case, often the work they do and the services
they provide—the loving care they offer—is unknown and unseen by
others. That’s so because caregiving is personal. That’s so
because caregiving is not a role one accepts and sticks with to
earn glory and praise. That’s so because caregivers aren’t
interested in tooting their own horns (even if they had the time
or energy to do so).
In each case, in every case, a caregiver needs workable
options that can easily be tailored to meet specific needs and
circumstances, not a one-size-fits-all, time- and
energy-consuming “answer.” A caregiver needs up-to-date
information on, and access to, affordable services, not programs
that are out of touch with reality or out of reach financially.
A caregiver needs the support of others, not a hands-off
attitude from the workplace, the community, the state, or the
church. And a caregiver needs solid spiritual nourishment, not
More than needing all that, a caregiver deserves all that .
. . and much, much more.
You deserve all that . . . and much, much more.
God knows you do.
One of the basic teachings of Catholic spirituality is that
throughout our lives each of us is personally called by God to
use a particular talent, to meet a particular need. For you,
now, that vocation is taking care of a loved one.
Our Catholicism also tells us that in all things, at all
times, we’re never alone. God doesn’t send us on our way. He
walks with us. That’s not to say there aren’t times when we feel
alone—or abandoned. Countless saints have testified to that
experience. From the cross, Jesus himself cried, “My God, my
God, why have you forsaken me?”
When you are caught up in the many everyday details and
demands of caregiving, it’s easy to overlook the spiritual side
of what you have been asked—called—to do and what you are doing.
It can help to realize, to remember, that what you’re doing is a
prayer, and the path you and your loved one are taking is
It’s the Father calling his beloved child home. It’s the
Father asking you to help his son or daughter along the final
stages of that journey.
It’s his Son whom you are giving care. It’s the Son who
told us that whatever we do for those in need we do for him.
And it’s the Spirit who is with you right now. It’s the
Spirit who will never leave you, even during those times when it
seems he’s gone away and taken his gifts—wisdom, courage,
knowledge, and the rest—with him.
May God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit richly
bless you and your loved one in this life, and in the life to