Friday, July 1, 2011

The Goodness of the Lord

My sister's wedding rehearsal dinner was scheduled for tonight, which left me with a lump in my throat knowing I would not be able to get to the Visitation Monastery for Mass on the Feast of the Sacred Heart.  I was fortunate to get to early morning Mass, but I wanted to do more.  Once our schedule finished up, I left work and went to a church which has confessions Wednesday thru Saturday and adoration 6 days a week.  (Every day but Sunday, go figure).

The priest I had is one who struggles with words.  Even when he reads, he forgets things and gets himself all mixed up.  I know it must be so humbling for him.  During  absolution, he forgot part of the words, and he was stammering and stuttering and after an uncomfortable lapse of time that felt like minutes ticking away,  I inadvertently prompted him.

"Thank you" he said and continued.  I wanted to say "you know, Father, if you read the words, it would be easier for you" but I didn't.

I had something on my conscience that I really wanted to confess.  It made me think of how great God is to us.  He takes this fumble-bumble of a priest and empowers him to act in His Name to forgive us our sins.  So even though I could remember the words to absolution better than this priest obviously does, and even though I wouldn't be caught dead ad libbing or saying the words from memory, none of it matters.  This man who listened to my confession is a priest of God, and no matter how badly he screws up, the Lord still acts through him to cleanse me of my sins.

Meanwhile, never second-guess the Lord.  A man who is normally at the 6:30 each morning has been battling cancer for years.  Yet every morning, he drags himself, sometimes literally, to Mass.  Every so often, he has some kind of relapse requiring hospitalization and I wonder to myself if this will be the end of him, and lo and behold, days or even a week or two later, he reappears.  I almost want to call him Lazarus.

A few months ago, he looked like he was on his last legs. I urged him to see his doctor and he told me he had an appointment for that afternoon.  The next morning when I didn't see him, I assumed he was back in the hospital.  Only this time, he was gone for weeks, and the weeks turned into months. One of the other regulars told me had to go into a skilled nursing facility.  Every weekend I had good intentions of taking a walk to see him, and one thing or another would come up and the chance would pass me by.  I actually got to the point where I would glance at the obits each day to see if his name popped up.

God has other ideas.

I looked up the other day, and there he was, looking decidedly thinner, paler and slower, but still able to walk to Mass.  I nearly said what I was thinking, which was: "My God, I thought you were going to die."

Still haven't learned not to second guess the Lord, still making a fool of myself.

This man does not want to die. I don't know when I've seen such a will to live.

God knows that, and He is so good.

God is so good to us.

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