Spiritual Support for Family or Friends (Part 1 of 3)

 In Pastoral Care Ministry

People who are suffering with illness, worry or grief often ask spiritual questions, seeking comfort, meaning and hope. While clergy and pastoral ministers may play an important role in spiritual care, family and friends can offer important spiritual support too. During these anxious times of uncertainty during the COVID Crisis, you may find others close to you are seeking your wisdom or need you to listen to their fears or questions. If you have the opportunity to provide spiritual support for someone experiencing fear, grief or serious illness, you can still share your gift of faith. This series may offer you some suggestions to build your confidence in the gift of your presence:


Explore your own beliefs and values before you talk to others.

To support others spiritually, it’s important to understand your own spiritual beliefs about times of uncertainty, loss or illness. Think of a time when you faced a major life change, loss or severe pain.

–  How did it affect you spiritually?

–  How did your spirituality affect the experience?

–  Did you discover spiritual strength during that time?

–  Did you ever question your faith?

–  How did you want to be supported spiritually?

If you have never experienced the fear of a life-threatening illness or a life-changing loss yourself, exploring these questions will help you at least understand your spirituality when facing life-changing situations. Give yourself the time to pray for God’s grace of understanding and empathy.

Even within families, among close friends and in bonded faith communities, people’s spiritual beliefs and experiences can vary widely. Be clear that your beliefs and values reflect yours and yours alone.  Just as you would want another person to listen to you with respect and understanding, your family member or friend wants you to listen to them with respect and understanding as well. When in emotional or spiritual distress, an attentive listener is of greater value than sage advice. Listen to your loved one and offer to pray with them, encouraging them to listen in their heart for the wisdom that already resides inside of them.

(Content based on wehonorveterans.org)

For more information about Pastoral Care at Holy Spirit, contact Leah Harris, Director at 408-997-5110.

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