This is why we become priests …
As I knelt beside the bed of a thirty year old dying woman, I began to read the baptismal prayers. The gravity of what God was doing here was apparent to all present. The loving God in His generosity was giving her the gifts of His Church, including the most supreme gift of Himself, the Eucharist. God was present to her in her sufferings; He loved her dearly. He was comforting her as she listened attentively to the prayers. This is why we become priests … to share the love and generosity of God to those in most need. Her cancer was discovered only a few months ago, now she received notice that it had spread and was in an advanced stage. She stated that she wanted to get right with God before her death, so she summoned a priest. Her Mother was seated at the end of her bed, her soon-to-be Godmother knelt beside me, while her father and boyfriend of ten years drew close to witness her Baptism. She encountered Jesus in the four Sacraments that she received - Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and the Eucharist.
She was made who God called her to be … a child of God, an heir to God's Kingdom, a new creation in Christ. She was welcomed into the family of God, in communion with all Christians. The original sin was cleansed from her soul, all her actual sins were forgiven her and all punishment due to these sins were removed. Through His sanctifying grace she became a participant in the divine life of the Trinity. In obedience to His heavenly Father, Jesus was lead by the Holy Spirit, through His suffering and death to His glorious resurrection. She, too, was being lead through suffering and death to her glory in God. She heard that her life was lived in union with Jesus. The Lord had lived, suffered, died and rose and so shall she. She was entrusted to follow Him and His life. To live in Jesus, is her life. Though weakened by her illness, she was now strengthened by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and empowered with His supernatural gifts and virtues. She was made ready to be received by God, if He took her to Himself. Through His real, true and substantial Presence she became the temple of the God. He indeed lived in her and she truly lived in Him. In her sickness she was ever conformed into the likeness of the suffering Jesus. Now she was animated by the God who did not abandon her on her cross. He desired to unite Himself to her in her suffering. And with His strength and grace, through her cross God was leading her to her salvation.
The Lord in His goodness had one more gift for her. She was told that we Catholics believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Savior Jesus - was given to all as our spiritual mother, by Jesus on His cross. Jesus gave to His Mother the parting gift of His faithful disciple John, "Woman, behold your son." And Jesus gave to John His dear Mother in the words, "Behold your Mother." In this last gift of God, Jesus gave to all mankind Mary as our spiritual Mother. Mary desires to have a relationship with all her children and to help them in their needs. This newest Catholic was given a homemade string rosary, with a Miraculous Medal on it blessed by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. She listened how the Rosary is a prayer from the Gospels, and that we pray it in union with Our Mother Mary. While we meditate on the mysteries of Christ life, contemplating His face, Mary's help us to know and love God more. May we, her spiritual children, be worthy of so noble a Mother. She kissed the cross and the image of Mary on the Miraculous Medal and the Rosary was put around her neck. She expressed gratitude for all that she received and we praised the Lord together for His generosity. We parted ways with smiles and tears. I told her I would soon return for a visit, and she told me to come again anytime. God is great ! Now and forever !