If the season is a hint of the work of chaplains and pastoral caregivers, it provides a perfect metaphor. When the mercury of our lives drop, we often find ourselves walking through cold and dark valleys of visible and invisible pain and suffering. Faith can then be tested and many questions arise about the meaning of our lives, the meaning of suffering and the meaning of death. We struggle. Yet, the season also teaches us, when the mercury drops, there is a grand transformation and glorious display of beautiful autumn leaves, as if to tell us that the autumn days of our lives are not without their own gifts….as if to tell us that there’s beauty in the dark valley of life. We too will emerge transformed if we are willing to persevere in our struggles.
The work of chaplains is just that. Chaplains - through the eyes of faith - help individuals in their struggles to move toward transformation. Chaplains empower individuals to draw on their own faith traditions and teachings for comfort and guidance as they walk through the dark valley. Chaplains believe that “FAITH OPENS OUR EYES TO HUMAN LIFE IN ALL ITS GRANDEUR AND BEAUTY,” even when we are facing the dead winter days. Following the Divine Master Himself, Chaplains empower individuals to see hope in a confusion, joy in sadness, light in darkness, faith in doubt, and life in death.
October 21-27 is Pastoral Care Week. Please join me in honoring and celebrating the dedication of our Franciscan Alliance Chaplains and Spiritual Care Staff. To quote the late Sister Corita Last, OSF, “Spiritual Care is the heart of who we are.”
In prayerful appreciation,
Mission & Spiritual Care Services