By Abbot Tryphon
“We must first care for ourselves. And We must confront our own weaknesses.” The Caregiver And Our Weaknesses | The Morning Offering.
My dear mother was diagnosed with dementia back in 2003. Soon after the diagnosis I moved her from Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, and into an assisted living place on Vashon Island, where I could be involved in the supervision of her care. Her dementia progressed for the next four years, and almost from the beginning she needed me to be with her as much as possible. I spent hours everyday by her side, taking her on drives around the island, treating her to lunches in the Chinese restaurant, and bringing her to the monastery for services. As I attended to her spiritual and social needs, as best I could, I felt blessed.
My willingness to sacrifice my time and energy for my mother, in her time of need, was based not only on my love for her, but I saw this as an opportunity to pay her back for all the love and care she had given me while I was growing up.
Weaknesses Care | The Caregivers
Increasingly, people are being called upon to be caregivers for parents, siblings, or other family members. As the economy falters, and the pandemic continues, we are, as a people, having to take on responsibilities that were in past generations, the norm. Extended families were common during most of our nation’s history, where multiple generations living in one house was the norm. Elderly family members were never sent to live in institutions.
It is important that caregivers not sacrifice their own spiritual and social needs as they take on the extra burden of attending to the physical, medical, and social needs of their family members. Caregivers have every right to have a life of their own, and should make sure to attend to their own need for friendships, social engagements, and church life. The caregiver must not feel guilty, or feel they are betraying their loved one, when they step out with friends for dinner and a movie. They should not feel they are abandoning their responsibility by attending the divine services, or partaking in a Bible study.
“It is essential that caregivers not sacrifice their own spiritual and social needs as they take on the extra burden of attending to their family members’ physical, medical, and social needs.” The Caregiver And Our Weaknesses | The Morning Offering.
Weaknesses Care | The Services
I know only too well that, as a priest, I must tend to my own spiritual and emotional needs if I am to have the energy to minister to others. If I were to allow myself to be depleted, spiritually and emotionally, I would do a disservice to those whom I serve, and I would ultimately fail in my service to them.
We should not feel as though we are betraying a family member, (or, in the case of a priest, a parishioner) when we spend an evening with friends, or take time out with other family members for a special outing. When we allow ourselves to become depleted, the person in our care will ultimately suffer, for a caregiver (or priest) who becomes resentful, can slip into being abusive, without even realizing it.
“if we do not take care of our own spiritual, emotional, and social needs, we will ultimately fail in our ministering to others.” The Caregiver And Our Weaknesses | The Morning Offering.
There are any number of organizations that can provide in-home care when the caregiver needs a break. Whether we be a caregiver, social worker, or a priest, or anyone in service to others, we must be sure to take care of ourselves, lest we become ineffective in our service. When flying on an airline, we are instructed by the flight attendant, when the oxygen apparatus falls down, to place it over our own face before taking care of the person next to us. Likewise, if we do not take care of our own spiritual, emotional, and social needs, we will ultimately fail in our ministering to others.
Weaknesses Care | The Lenten journey
As we continue our Lenten journey, this is a time when the Church puts much emphasis on the role of repentance. We strive to go to confession more frequently during Great Lent, just as we’ve increased our level of fasting, and frequency of attending the services. Holy Week is almost upon us, and as we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announced to the Holy Virgin that she was to bear the Son of God, let us examine how we are living our lives.
“Holy Week is almost upon us, and as we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announced to the Holy Virgin that she was to bear the Son of God, let us examine how we are living our lives.” The Caregiver And Our Weaknesses | The Morning Offering.
Weaknesses Care | The Struggles
There are certain sins that have become habitual, and behavior that we would like to change, but seem to repeat, even against our will. Saint Isaac the Syrian suggested that we confront these struggles head on. “If you bear your weakness constantly in mind, you will not overstep the bounds of caution.” Part of the problem is that we allow our guard to be down, and we find ourselves repeating the same sins over and over.
If we take Saint Isaac’s suggestion, we will keep vigil, watching out for those situations that bring us into moments of temptation, where we find ourselves falling into the same sins, over and over again.
“God’s grace is sufficient to bring about the transformation of our heart, but we must cooperate.” Our Weaknesses | The Morning Offering.
When we keep ourselves vigilant, we are able to avoid those very situations that cause us to stumble, and, with Christ’s help, triumph over our sins. God’s grace is sufficient to bring about the transformation of our heart, but we must cooperate. Just as a soldier enters into combat prepared, so too must we be vigilant, keeping watch for the enemy. Then, just as the Holy Virgin received the Son of God into her womb, becoming a living tabernacle of the Most High, so too will we receive Christ into our hearts.
Weaknesses Care | The Birth
On this Feast of the Annunciation of the Birth-giving of God, let us remember that this Feast reflects the fullness of Christian teaching, and touches on the mystery of God within us. The Feast is a reminder that we must also give birth to God within ourselves, by cleansing and restoring our ailing human condition through the Medicine of Immortality, wherein we take Christ into our imperfect bodies.
In doing so, we allow Christ to purify us from within, as He purified His Mother, when She gave birth with the whole of Her body and being. For this pure and virgin vessel, the Prototype of our salvation, brought forth in mystery God Himself as the Archetype of Perfected Man, Who guides us by Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the example of His Pure Mother, to the fullness of life. Most Holy Theotokos, save us.
With love in Christ,
About The Brotherhood of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible.
We depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery’s mailing address:
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
P.O. Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
Another small way to contribute to the monastery if one already purchases items through the amazon.com website is to use the smile.amazon.com link associated with our monastery. Purchases will accrue a small percentage that will eventually be given to the monastery in time. For more information, please go our website page here: https://vashonmonks.com/using-amazon-smile
By: Abbot Tryphon | The All-Merciful Saviour Orthodox Monastery on Vashon Island. Washington, United States
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2020-04-07 from Washington, United States
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