Friday, October 5, 2012

Gift for a Dying Mother

"I only have 5 minutes, would it be possible to speak to you?"--words spoken to a pastor by a school teacher on his way to visit his mother in a hospital, and used to introduce the pastor's article in the Catholic Digest. The teacher, an only son, felt his visit to his mother would be his last; she was dying of a liver ailment. Wanting to give his mother a present before she died, he went to the priest to ask for help, although he was not a Catholic nor was his mother.

"Bringing food does not make sense nor buying her clothes, Father. Any word is acceptable, please help me. I want to hear what you have to say and bring that to my mother before she dies."

Seeing the serious attitude of the man, the priest was moved and asked if he had ever gone to a Catholic Church. No was the answer. He then asked him why was he now coming to a Catholic priest for help in giving a present to his mother. He said he was on  the way to the hospital and saw the church with the cross, and thought the minister or priest would probably  be of some help in knowing what to  bring to his mother.

The priest expressed his respect for the teacher in wanting to have something to give his mother before she died, but felt it was unreasonable to be asked to do this in five minutes. We were in our mother's womb, the priest said, for 10 months, at peace, when we had to leave. This was our first separation and probably the reason separation was followed by cries. But the birth was happiness for many.

When we leave this world the same feelings of sadness come, the priest told him, but knowing what is waiting for us, we are happy as we look forward to the beginning of a new life. His words were well-received by the teacher. The priest added that by helping his mother to desire and look forward to this new life, a life of faith and salvation, he would be giving a great present, as well as expressing his filial piety towards his mother.

The priest's words brought a grateful smile to the teacher's face. He said that in all the years he has been teaching never have these words come to mind. The priest took a rosary out of his pocket and gave it to the teacher. He told him there was a parish in the town where the hospital was located and he could contact the sisters and priest there to come to baptize his mother.

A few days later he received a letter from the teacher, thanking him for his advice and telling him that his mother received the gift gratefully and died in peace.


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