In the 11 years since my ordination to the priesthood, I have had the
privilege of getting to know many people, some of whom are now in nursing
home facilities. Recently I visited an old man who because of adverse
economic factors lost his job which led to the loss of his car and home. Now
because of dementia, he is on the way to losing his mind.
During a recent visit, I was struck by the fact that he was not bothered by
what he has lost because he knows that what he possesses, “an eternal weight
of glory beyond comparison” (2 Cor 4:17), will not be taken away from him as
long as he continues to cooperate with God’s abundant graces. St. Paul
continues, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we
have a building from God, a house not made with human hands, eternal in the
heavens” (2 Cor 5:1).
After walking into his room I noticed it contained only a few items
including a rosary on his night stand. After asking if he wanted to pray the
rosary with me, he answered enthusiastically by saying “Yes!!” I was struck
with the love and devotion he exhibited as he kissed the crucifix and image
of the Blessed Virgin Mary between each decade. After reciting the Most Holy
Rosary, he wanted my priestly blessing and kissed my hands. He loves to kiss
the hands of a priest because with them he is able to receive the Body and
Blood of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, receive absolution
of his sins with the sacrament of penance and receive the sacrament of the
sick which he has received several times. It was evident that although he
lacked earthly riches, he possessed true wealth, which was his sole concern.
I must confess it was difficult for me to hold back the tears.
On Sunday, Sept. 26, the gospel talked about the “rich man who dressed in
purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at
his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores” (Lk 16:19-20). As
the story goes, both the rich man and Lazarus died. The former went to hell,
because he lacked true wealth and the latter to the bosom of Abraham because
he possessed it. Unfortunately the rich man’s wealth was only used for
himself and not others. He did not love God and his neighbor as himself.
I would like to thank all our donors who help us spiritually with their
prayers, materially with their donated items of furniture, appliances,
clothing, houseware items etc. and financially with their cash donations
which allow us to help the Lazaruses that come to us and their families.
Your generosity is evidence that you too possess true wealth within, which
is God’s Divine Life, the Blessed Trinity or Sanctifying Grace within your
souls, your ticket to paradise. Unlike the rich man in the gospel passage
outlined above, you do love God and your neighbor as yourself. Please be
assured of our continued prayers for you, your families and intentions!
2013 Southern Nebraska Register Publication Dates
(Resume Jan 4, 2014)
November 27 (Wed.)