Christmas Eve, 2014 Our one last 'family photo' before mom and dad died.
January 24, 2014, my mother passed away from brain cancer. After her funeral, dad asked my siblings and me, “Have you talked to Mom today?” I was a bit taken back and said, “Well, I prayed for her.” Emphatically he said, “No, I mean have you TALKED to Mom this morning?” I hesitantly said, “No Dad, I didn’t.” He said, “Well I did! I talk to her every morning. She told me she sends her love to all of you.” Then he said, “We are working on a project together.” We looked at each other in astonishment. This same line of questioning and statements continued for several days but dad wouldn't tell us about this project.
Finally, I could take it no longer. I insistently asked, “Dad, what is this project you and Mom are working on? You have to tell us!” He paused, and then quietly said, “We are working to get people back to the [Catholic] Church.” I thought, wow, here he is 93 years old in a nursing home, dying himself (from bone cancer), Mom already gone, and he is still working! I suddenly realized that not once had I read anything about retirement in the bible.
It was only 5 short weeks after Mom died that Dad was on his death bed. As he lay dying, my five siblings and I took turns by his side. For about 2 hours, I had the privilege of being with my Dad alone, praying. I felt like I was on holy ground. During this time, the hospice nurse arrived to examine Dad. Suddenly, he opened his eyes and looked intently at the ceiling, reaching both arms up trying to rise out of bed. As quickly as it happened, he laid back down unconscious again. We looked at each other surprised and she told me he doesn't have much time.
After she left, I whispered in his ear, “Dad, you go be with Jesus. I’ll take over working on the project that you and Mom started. I’ll take it from here.” About 3 hours later, he was gone.
A few months later, Fr. Jirak encouraged me to become involved with the Eucharistic Home Bound Ministry. I was a bit reluctant because I was still dealing with the grief of losing both parents and was involved in many other ministries. However, I agreed to pray in discernment. God has a loving way of cutting through our reluctance to get us to say yes.
Within a few days of my ‘yes’, I was in Wesley Hospital bringing Holy Communion to the patients. I was amazed at how many people register as Catholic when they enter the hospital, yet they haven’t been to church in years. In fact, my first day ‘on the job’ three people asked to meet with a priest and go to confession so they could receive Holy Communion. Wow, this is not at all what I expected!
A few days later, I was in the adoration chapel pondering this situation. All of a sudden, it took my breath away when I realized that I was fulfilling the promise I made to my father on his death bed. I just sobbed. My eyes were opened to the urgent need to bring people back into full communion with the Catholic Church.
In a sermon recently, Fr. Jirak told us that we are all called to Evangelize. But before we can evangelize others, we first must evangelize ourselves. We must be willing to be led, open to surprises from the Lord, and willing to change. I didn't realize until just now that this is exactly what happened to me.
God Bless You,
January 16, 2015blog comments powered by Disqus