Yesterday I was called three times to anoint the dying. I was on call at the local hospital but only one of the three calls came from there. One came from a parishioner's home and another from a local nursing home. In each case there was family present and I was graced with that experience that a priest often has, of being invited into the heart of people's lives, even strangers' lives, and made welcome there for the connection he brings to the Church, for the prayer he leads when words of prayer are difficult to speak, for a sacrament's touch of God's presence in his hand.
A priest is often invited into moments of trouble, distress, pain and loss but this past week, in addition to yesterday's three visits, I have been, more often than usual, close to the burdens of many hearts and the sadness with which those burdens weigh on people's souls.
Yet, in each instance, I have met not only the pain but also the grace, the strength, the resilience, the faith that gives believers a path to walk through the most difficult of times and the hope that somehow, in some way, some day: all shall be well; yes, all shall be well; and yes, all manner of things shall be well...
Such trust is not immediately realized in the depths of loss but it is the light by which those in pain make their way, with the Lord as their shepherd, through their valley of darkness.
Because of my share in the Lord's work, people share with me stories known by few, sometimes known by no one, save the Lord... I learn again and again how much we need to walk gently and carefully among our brothers and sisters: so very often we do not know what burdens our neighbor carries... Very often, others do not know the burdens you or I might be carrying.
Let us pray for and be gentle with one another...
Image Source: Cacina
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Posted by Concord Pastor at 12:05 AM