A STORY OF TRANSFORMATION:
It was another wonderful day serving God. I entered into the nursing home to visit the sick and dying. But before I enter into any room, I always Pray, “Lord, let Your Spirit speak through me”. As I walked in an elderly Catholic woman’s room, with a loving smile and I introduced myself as someone from the Catholic Church. The woman, lying in bed, stared at me sternly and said nothing. Then I thought, perhaps she can’t hear me or is suffering from dementia or maybe, I have the wrong room, and she doesn’t like Catholics. Then, I walked closer to her bed to make perfect eye contact with her as I smiled with love and said, “I’m from the Catholic Church. Is everything alright?” Then in the most unhappy, angry tone she said, “No! My son is dying”. With great concern I responded, “oh, know…what happened”. She stated emphatically, “He has a brain tumor, and it’s terminal…he is in a comma”. I said, “Oh, no! That is terrible. I’m so sorry.”
GOD’S PERFECT PLAN FOR ALL OF US – Then, I went on to talk about God’s love and plan for us by saying, “God allows these things to happen for reasons we don’t understand, but everything that happens is allowed out of God’s great love for us to guide us to eternal life with Him.” Then I asked her, “Is your son a Christian?” She replied,” I’m not sure; I raised him that way”. I then said, “Well, it sounds like you are called to pray for your son and offer up your pain and suffering for the salvation of his soul.” “Our God loves you, and your son, and wants him in heaven with Him. Even if your son hasn’t been to confession or repented from his sins to a priest, you can go to God on his behalf and beg God for mercy with your prayers and sacrifices, and God, who loves you, can send grace because of your prayers and sacrifices to save the soul of your son. God demands justice, but His mercy is so great, we can hope in that mercy for the salvation of your son, if you pray and offer up your pain to God to cover his sins.” Then I asked her, “Do you know how to offer up all of your pain so your pain isn’t in vain and can be used to purify both you and your son’s soul?” “No”, she replied.
HOW TO OFFER UP PAIN – “It is easy. All you have to do is not complain about your suffering and tell God you will suffer whatever He wills (wants) and you want to offer up your pain to the Father united with Jesus on the cross for your sins and your son’s sins, by saying, “God, I give you my pain for my sins and the sins of my son.” That is it! So, pray for your son as often as you can, offering up everything in your day to God and all of your pain for you and your son’s sins, and God will bless both you and your son.” You both will be growing pure with each prayer. The more you pray for him and offer up your pain in atonement for his sins, the more grace God will send to your son, and God willing, your efforts will result in eternal happiness for your child. Which is the greatest gift you can give anyone since we all live only to die and be with Christ forever.”
YOU CAN CHANGE SOMEONES LIFE – She began to tear up, and I hugged her telling her God loved her very much. I said, “You have the wonderful opportunity to give everything to your son…but you must pray and pray a lot and trust in God’s mercy. We don’t know how much grace he needs for his soul to be saved.” Next, I told her how Christ died at 3:00pm and that was when His mercy is the greatest, and that God promised whatever someone asked for at 3:00pm, as long as it is in accord to God’s will, will be given to that soul who asks because of His passion. Following that, I asked her how long it was since she has been to confession, and she said, “a very long time”. I told her, I try to go to confession at least once a week, not because I commit mortal sins, but because I love the grace (help) God gives me, in my everyday life, through the power that pours fourth from the priest’s hands during confession; it is amazing! This sacrament is just wonderful! God sends so much grace. It is a fountain of God’s mercy. Then I told her, as I always tell everyone, “Did you know, if someone dies with a mortal sin on their soul, they have broken their relationship with God, and they are deserving of suffering in hell forever”. That is just a horrible thought. But thank goodness we have Confession; that is what the Bible says we need to do to receive forgiveness of deadly sin. Also we must remember to call upon the great Mother of God to pray for us since her prayers are perfect, and she will always pray for us especially when we need the help the most. God’s fountain of mercy flows straight through His and our Mother as she looks after those who call upon her.
If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin [not serious sin], you will ask, and God will give life [forgiveness] to such a one—to those whose sin is not mortal [venial]. There is sin that is mortal [serious sin someone willingly commits]; I do not say that you should pray about that. [go to confession to a priest to be forgiven] — 1 John 5:16
FORGIVENESS – But if someone is truly sorry for all of their sins especially mortal sins, they are completely forgiven and great grace is given to them by simply saying they are sorry in confession. Nothing more does God ask of us except for a truly sorrowful heart.” Then I ask with great excitement, “If you want that amazing grace God gives in the sacrament of reconciliation (confession), which will bring you the peace you need in your heart about your son, I can have a priest come to you, right here, to hear your confession. She said, “Yes, I would like that.”
10 COMMANDMENTS – If I would have had the time, I would have gone over the 10 commandments with her, but she didn’t seem to think she was without sin, and I was running out of time. Many people I visit don’t think they have committed any sins. I prefer to review the 10 commandments (which I got from www.LiftingOurValues.com) and there eyes are opened and they are more willing and prepared for confession. I also remind the people, who haven’t been to confession in a long time, that they need to confess all of their serious sins since their last confession. Many people think confession is only about today’s sins. And I always stress there must be true sorrow for their wrongs choices or all the grace and forgiveness they are looking for won’t be given. And if they struggle with being sorry for some sins like being angry towards someone who did them wrong or something some other sin, I ask them to pray to God for the sorrow they need to be forgiven. I let them know every moment they are alive is the wonderful opportunity to know God better through prayer and working hard to not sin no more by being love to everyone they come in contact with for the great heavenly reward. This gives the people who are stuck in a bed a real purpose and goal in life. I sometimes talk quite some time on that subject…especially with those who seem depressed with their condition.
THE GOAL IS TO SAVE SOULS – My goal, when I visit someone, is not to simply bring them the Holy Eucharist, it is to save their soul. I look into the face of each person, see the face of Christ, and love them. When I first approached this woman, she was in misery, and when I left, this woman she was smiling and excited for reconciliation, not because I gave her false hope or said some vain complement…but she, who is so valuable to God, was filled with joy because I told her the truth with all the love in my heart for her and her son.
COMMUNION CAN DAMAGE THEIR SOUL – I actually never gave this woman Communion. I told her since receiving Jesus in Holy Communion is damaging for someone’s soul and hurts Christ if they have unforgiven grave sin on their soul, and since it has been so long since you went to confession, it would probably be best if you waited before you received communion to make sure you are purified. Is that alright? She said, “OK. Now, I have said this to others, and they have told me, “Oh, I haven’t committed grave sin. I would like communion”, and of course they receive. I can’t read their souls nor judge their hearts, but I want to use right judgement and do the best I can to discern what would be best for each person I’m visiting and Jesus. If I bring 5 Holy Eucharists with me, visit 10 people and still have 2 communions left over…That is fine with me. I don’t want to scourge the Lord by having Him enter into an unworthy tabernacle nor hurt the recipients soul. So, in the most loving way, I always educate and ask before I give Jesus to anyone.
As you can read, this visit wasn’t just me being a distributor of the Eucharist. Being a Eucharist Minister, who visits people, is so much more than simply running in and giving them the Body of Christ and leaving. You are a minister of love. You can allow God to use you to love that person and hopefully save their soul.
This story is just one of countless stories I have. I had a hard time deciding which one to tell. Most of the people in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice etc. want to know about the requirements of salvation, God’s mercy and forgiveness of their sins…most of them have forgotten, due to their sins, almost everything they once learned long ago, and God has you right in front of them for a great purpose. Answer His Call…it is time well spent for the love of our Lord.
10 Steps to
- Pray before you meet anyone
- Have real concern for them
- Pray over them
- Ask, with great excitement in the sacrament, how long it has been since they have been to confession
- Educate them about what reconciliation is
- Tell them how wonderful the sacrament is
- Ask them if they want to receive the grace and forgiveness
- Tell them, if they are hesitant, “it surely won’t hurt…God’s grace and mercy is wonderful”.
- Never force anyone who isn’t interested or talk about confession beyond their comfort point.