The heart of priesthood

I was contacted yesterday by a former parishioner to see if I could visit with a relative dying of cancer (she is very young, in her thirties). I made my visit today, and it was a beautiful experience.

I began by saying hello to everyone gathered in the apartment (close to a dozen people) and then visiting the sick woman. She was clearly very weak, slipping in and out of sleep, but she made a herculean effort to be “with it” while I was there. I offered her the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick, and a wave of peace washed over her — it was really quite visible, actually.

I still had communion with me, so I went back out to the family and after we finished praying the rosary I offered to those present the opportunity to receive communion and, if they wished, to go to confession first. Many took me up on both offers, actually, and all told I think I heard 60+ years worth of sins — it was awesome! We then prayed the Lord’s Prayer, and I distributed communion (and blessed the children present). After a small bite to eat I then left to go home.

Total time: 2 hours. Total grace: infinite. You know, I do see the value in the work I do here in the office, but it was nice to be back “in the field”, being just a regular priest for regular people.