Saturday, 25 April 2015

Rescue Drive

For a few days Father Ignatius had been thinking over his conversation with Father Donald about the dream he had.

In the dream, St Peter asked Father Ignatius directly, ‘Have you done a good job of looking after Our Lord’s lambs and sheep?’

“What a challenge!” thought Father Ignatius, “St Peter himself asking me if I was a good priest!”

Jack lived a few yards down the road from St Vincent Church, just the other side of the Convent.

One Friday evening he was waiting outside the Fish and Chips Shop just opposite the church when Father Ignatius joined the queue.

“How are you keeping Jack?” he asked, “you look really miserable right now … just like a mile of bad road, I should say!”

“Hello Father …” mumbled Jack under his breath, “it’s a long story!”

“You’d better tell me about it … let’s move away from this queue …”

The two men left the queue and walked a few paces away from the shop.

“It’s this friend of mine …” Jack said hesitantly, “he’s over seventy years old, lives in Brintown, and he’s not too well. I think he’s dying. I spoke to the lady friend he lives with and she said the doctor is not holding much hope. I’ll go and see him tomorrow as I’m not working this weekend … I hope I get there in time …”

“I’ll pray for him Jack. I notice you said lady friend … is he not married then?”

“Oh … that’s another long story Father.” said Jack, “Many years ago, when he was thirty or so, he met this lady and fell in love with her. She was divorced and his priest would not marry them. In fact he argued the matter with the priest and the priest excommunicated him.

“I think he probably excommunicated her as well … I don’t know.

“Anyway, they’ve lived together ever since … that’s about forty years. I don’t know if they ever got married in the Civil Court.

“But the man kept faithful to the ban imposed on him. He didn’t move to another church and take Communion there, even though they moved town several times. In fact I believe he never set foot in another church ever since that day!”

“We’d better go and see them then …” said the priest.

“What now … it’s five o’clock. It will take us two hours to get to Brintown!”

“The sooner we start the better,” replied Father Ignatius, “you go to my office and phone them from there. I’ll get the car ready!”

Moments later Father Ignatius was driving up the highway as fast as the speed limit allowed.

They arrived just after 7:30 that evening. Father Ignatius went to see the old man in his bedroom whilst Jack stayed with the old lady in the front room.

They could hear talk, and sometimes laughter from the bedroom. The priest stayed there for a while. He heard the old man’s Confession and gave him Holy Communion. Then they chatted away about the past … the old man had spent some time in Italy, not far from where Father Ignatius studied for the priesthood, so they talked about Italy and all the places they visited whilst there.

Eventually the priest came out and asked Jack to go and stay with the old man.

He heard the old lady’s Confession and gave her Holy Communion.

Father Ignatius and Jack set off back home at about 10:45 that evening. In the car, on the way to St Vincent, Jack said, “Thank you Father … being with you is like being with Jesus!”

“Don’t ever say that,” replied the priest, “no one can possibly be like Jesus!”

The old man died three days later.

The old lady also died a few months after that.

(Based on a true story).

10 comments:

  1. Whoever was the priest in the true life events, God bless him. While no one can ever be Jesus, we are His hands and feet here on earth, and that priest served Christ well. Great story.

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    1. Yes Manny. Father Brian was exceptional - may he rest in peace.

      I have known some really good priests in my time.

      God bless you and yours.

      Delete
  2. Wow, that is a moving story Victor. It also gave me pause to think about the pressure our priests must feel to take care of their flock. Prayers for them ... that they may find the strength to act as those in your story here.

    God Bless you!

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    1. This particular priest, Michael, (Fr Brian RIP), travelled several miles by car that evening to reach these old people whom he did not know. They were not lost sheep from his flock. They'd been lost for many years and he went out of his way to find them and return them to the fold.

      God bless.

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  3. Hi Victor! I have tears in my eyes...what a beautiful example of reaching out as Jesus would. Rules. Yikes. They should be for instruction, but never to exclude those who want to love God and love each other. May God keep us from the enthusiasts of the 'hard and fast' and grant us the grace of priests and leaders who love. Just love.
    Just beautiful Victor,
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you Ceil for your lovely comments. In this case, (in true life), this couple I knew had been together for over 40 years. They were both Catholics but could not marry because she was previously married and divorced. Somehow, in their arguments with the priest/church they got excommunicated and never set foot in a church again.

      This priest (Fr Brian RIP) did not know them but travelled miles to go and hear their confessions and gave them Communion.

      God bless.

      Delete
  4. A real life example of the truth of the gospel. Beautiful story and the priest--GETS IT! Jesus has to be well pleased! Thank you for sharing, Victor!
    Sabbath Blessings!

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    1. Thank you Lulu. He was indeed an exceptional priest.

      God bless you.

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  5. Victor, thanks for sharing your thoughts. That priest is my hero. The truth, I believe, is that there are very many holy priests that are silently and humbly feeding and caring for Christ's sheep. It is also true that there are events and situations the Church is not handing as I believe Christ would have done. There is a family that left the Catholic Church for what their father considered unjust treatment on him. The man is at present terminally ill. Him with his family members see the Catholic Church as arrogant, cold and passive. Unfortunately, we at times fail to see that our Lord Jesus Christ is like Eternal Father whose mercy is inexhaustible and treasure of compassion unfathomable. We equate sinful man's actions to Christ's Church. May our Lord Jesus Christ grant us love and the wisdom to handle the broken reeds.

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    1. Wise words Charles.

      I am praying for the man you mention and his family.

      It is true, and sad, that at times the Catholic Church (and other churches I suppose) does appear un-caring. This is because churches are run/managed by humans; and as humans we fall much short of the example set us by Christ our Lord.

      May God bless you and your family.

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