Praying Mentis

A Laymen's Journey into the Catholic faith.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hope in Death Part 3

On the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the visiting priest at my parish asked me to think of ways that Mary had intervened during the past few years in my life. I came to the powerful realization that Mary has helped me very recently. I should, now that I think more about it, thank that priest for personally helping me to see Mary.

There is an unwritten and for some reason mostly unspoken rule of thumb in the spiritual world. If you pray with someone you will be closer to them. It's a very brief and to-the-point rule. Every time you go to God who is entirely Love, you pull down a piece of Him with you.

I would like to share one last piece of my Dad's death with you. When I got the call I raced down south from Northern Washington State. All I knew was my Dad was dying. It was serious. All I could think to myself was, God please let my Dad live long enough to receive last rites from a priest and for me to visit him one last time. 

Long story short I made it to the hospital. And waited for hours. Let me tell you this, there are two ways this story could have ended.

1.) No one prayed. We all sat and let our minds wander about how much we hoped our Dad didn't die. And then we would talk about video games, jobs, typical day stuff.  (This situation almost happened.)

2.) The opposite. Would the first option really be worthy to be called a "beautiful of death?"

Here is what happened. My family began talking about normal things. Then Lizzie, my fiance, helped me to start a rosary with my family. I could barely say the words. "...Holy Mary pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." I thought to myself: 'How many times have I said those words with no meaning, only now to hope so much in them?'

My Brother Sam then lead us in a Divine Mercy Chaplet. My family never prayed together, and now they were being led by my youngest brother, the shiest person I know, in a sung version of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Before we started I told my Brother, "Hey, Sam, keep it on the down low ok? Remember we're in a hospital." Then I realized as I was starting that there was no reason for him to keep quiet. And so Sam sang the Divine Mercy Chaplet with his beautiful voice which he attests is now officially better than Josh Groban's. (I believe him too... I mean if I could go to one mass with him and have someone not compliment his voice)

Anyways, I digress. I have told many people how Matthew, a firefighter-in-training friend, was at my brothers' house when my Dad had his initial heart failure. He performed CPR on my dad, which helped him live a little longer, just enough for everyone to see him again. I wanted to let those who thought to themselves, ok... so... your Dad lived just to die. That's no miracle--- know that it was.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:


The Church encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death. In the ancient litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: "From a sudden and unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord";588 to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us "at the hour of our death" in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death.

The small things really help put things into perspective. We prayed to Mary and Matthew a trained firefighter just so happened to be spending the weekend at my brothers. This allowed my Dad to not have an unforeseen death. I would say it was the most beautiful death anyone could ask for in fact. If I could have Sam sing a divine mercy chaplet on my death bed, and know that my family was brought together in prayer from the process I would die a happy man.

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