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Thursday, May 19, 2011

You Don't Know the Day or the Hour

I take Communion to the Catholics at a local nursing home every Sunday. One is a lovely lady from Massachusetts who has Alzheimers. Her daughter moved her about a year ago so she'd be closer. It was a hard adjustment. She went to daily Mass "at home" and had many friends. Happily, one of the gentleman in the home, a widower (I'll call him Bill), took her under his wing, looking after her with such tenderness it was sweet to see. I would come in and find him getting her a glass of juice or coming down to her room to bring her to one of the activities. He appeared to be one of the healthiest people in the home and one of the most alert. 

Yesterday, the nursing home called to say "Bill" had died suddenly the night before, a shock to everyone, and "Linda" (not her real name) was very distraught. Could I come and sit with her because family was unavailable until later in the day. Of course I went right over. I found Linda lying in bed hugging a stuffed animal and weeping. I thought of Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. I stayed with her for an hour hugging and comforting her and reminding her that she would see Bill again and that she was not alone. A number of the staff came in just to give her a hug. We walked the corridors praying several decades of the rosary for the repose of Bill's soul and her own comfort.

This isn't the first time someone has died suddenly there. I've been taking Communion since 2002 and on occasion have been shocked by the death of someone who seemed exceptionally healthy, while other very sick patients live for years. We don't know the day or the hour. We need to be prepared every moment.

Are you ready if you're called today? In the event of a sudden death, is your spiritual house in order? There's a great bumper sticker, "Life is fragile - Handle with prayer." It's a good motto for each of us. Prayer is talking (and listening) to God. We pray if God is our friend. It shows where our treasure lies. If we only talk and listen to the world, which belongs to the Prince of Lies, can we claim to be God's friends?

Where will you spend eternity?

Please pray for "Linda" and for the repose of "Bill's" soul.


Dolorosa said...

Was a priest with you or did you give the Holy Communion and are you a Eucharistic Minister?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I'm an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. When Father asked me to do it, I said I did not want to distribute Communion at Mass (There are too many women on the altar already, and most Masses aren't that heavily attended to need a lay assistant.), but I agreed to take Communion to the sick who might otherwise rarely see and receive Jesus. We have many nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our town and an older population in the parish as well because of so many retirees who move to Woodstock.