Something Different

Today I took communion to one of the ‘memory impaired’ in our congregation. She has never recognized me but has always been able to keep a conversation and remember the Lord’s Prayer. Today was different. I could see a vacancy in her eyes and at first she refused to even talk to me. Eventually she did and I gave her communion, only today she did not remember the Lord’s prayer.

I felt discouraged on several counts. Discouraged that I drove 40 minutes and she could care less that I was there. Discouraged that the once bright soul of a woman was more and more becoming a mere shell.

But one of the caregivers said something quite profound. She said ‘I know that the spiritual things always have an impact. We don’t know how, but I know they do.’

I sure hope so. It puts one’s theology to the test. If ever she needed Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and without, it was today.

7 thoughts on “Something Different

  1. That is so scary and truly, truly sad. God bless you (I’m not joking) for doing your duty Padre. YOU are the presence of Christ to her. I’m sure it makes a difference regardless if we can perceive it. Losing my mental faculties (some think I already have, just ask Seraph) is the one thing that frightens me the most as to getting older. God save me from that fate.

    So…why aren’t people like this dear soul miraculously healed or at least a candidate???????????

  2. I don’t know. I anointed her with unction oil and prayed as such, but I guess it’s God’s business how and when he heals her. Remember Lady Julian. ‘All shall be well’ even though all is certainly not well now.

  3. Blessings to you Father for your humility and sacrifice. Literally, God only knows what is going on with that woman, and who is to say that her soul does not understand? You commune children all the time who have no cognitive understanding of what is happening. After all…you don’t deny food even if they don’t know about nutrition!

    This reminds me of a passage in the book _Beginning to Pray_ by Anthony Bloom. A young woman becomes very ill and rejoices that her spirit now perceives God so much easier. Bloom counsels her that it will not last, that when she gets weaker she will not be able to cast herself Godwards and she will feel like she has no access to God. He likens this as an opportunity for the girl to learn humility. Sure enough, a while later she tells him that she cannot move Godwards but it is God who steps down to meet her.

    Seems to me that is what you did today.

  4. Fr. Neo:
    My Grandmother whom we burried on Tuesday had been struggling with demntia for about 5 years now, maybe a little longer. SHe forgot nearly everything who I was, who my mom was, how to eat. But the one thing that stuck with her were prayers (our father, hail mary, glory be) and church hymns (How great though art, ave maria, amazing grace). Sometimes she wouldn’t repond to them at first. But they always seemed to comfort her. I hope the same for your memory impaired.

  5. It is easy to look at a soul from our side of eternity and think that it has reality here, when I believe its fullness and integrity, undiminished, is on the supernatural side of life. God still sees her the same as before her dementia claimed her memory.

    I did some emergency estate planning. One man, whose sister was my client, met me as a visitor in his living room. He sat at the TV, dying of cancer, with a bible on one arm of his chair and his portfolio stock list on the other arm watching the Bloomburg financial channel. In the three days I saw him, he went from this posture to putting down the stock list, to turning off the TV, to putting down his bible, to dying. It seemed to me at the time that he was backing into heaven, going up the steps on his rear end, one at a time. At each step, he left a memento of his life on earth. At the end he even left his bible. But from his side, what must this have looked like…the last step, that is. Crossing the threshold between time and eternity is lonely on this side, rich with grace on the other.

  6. I lost my father in 1984 to pancreatic cancer. It was a very painful and slow death. As we stood by his bedside from time to time other beleivers would come in and pray for my Dad. My Dad, who walked very closely with God, was not healed on this side of Heaven…So did their prayers help? Yes…they helped us.

  7. Very rich stuff crew. Especially S79 and Angevoix–thank you for the poignancy and honesty.

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