As our parish journeys through its fifteenth year of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, I marvel at, and give God thanks for, the hundreds of faithful Adorers who have spent time in His Presence over the years. It is hard to believe that sixty-seven of them have passed on into eternity.
Many of their names and faces pop into my consciousness from time to time – a reminder of the impact their lives and examples have had on me and countless others. With each passing year, I become increasingly aware of my own approaching death – at a time and under circumstances fully and solely in God’s hands.
Although modern sensitivities discourage reflection on our immortality as a morbid and useless effort, nothing could be further from the truth, as you will glean from these words of Father Winfrid Herbst, S.D.S. from his book, The Way of God:
“So it is wise for me always to remember that I must die and that I ought always to be ready. This reminds me of a story told about a certain nobleman in Italy who had led a bad life until he was ripe in years and who then was touched by the grace of God and resolved to make a good confession of the sins of his whole life and begin anew.
|(Image source: Trappist Caskets)|
He thought that only the Pope himself could forgive him his many sins. Of course, he was not right in thinking so, for any priest with the necessary faculties could have forgiven his sins. But he went to the Pope in Rome anyway, so this rather odd story says. He made a good confession, was sorry, and promised to do better. The Holy Father gave him absolution and then, because he really had many big sins, told him that as penance he should fast for six months. But the man said that he had a weak stomach and could hardly do that; if the Holy Father, would not mind he would rather have some other penance.
So he was told to go to Mass every day for six months. Then he said that because he was a business man he would find it very hard to do that, since he had so many affairs to attend to. So the Pope asked him to read a chapter of the New Testament every night. But he said that he had poor eyes and got a bad headache from reading at night. He begged the Pope to give him something else, if he would be so kind.
So the Holy Father gave him a beautiful gold ring, a signet ring, on which were engraved the words…"Remember you must die." The Pope said: "Wear this ring as long as you live and read the words written on it every morning and think of them earnestly for a while." He promised that he would. And he did.
The result was that he fasted and prayed much, went to Mass every day, and read the Bible every night. That is the way it is with the thought of death. It is a thought that is good for souls.”
May none of us presume on God’s mercy. May all of us ask for it.
And may the souls of all our faithfully departed Adorers through the mercy of God rest in peace!