Sunday, August 22, 2010

Love, Life and Prayer

My beloved aunt, who my entire family loves dearly (and who is like a mother to me), has been ill. She is the matriarch of our large Italian family and she is greatly loved by many people. She is older but she has a strong will to live, that is what love will do. In the last few weeks, all of us, her immediate family as well as her extended family have been visiting her, praying for her and trying to make sense of doctor's reports and her heart condition.
We have also had to rely on the goodness of a priest, (who I've yet to meet), who visits her as well as the other patients in the hospital. He has been to see her a few times, to pray with her and for her. What peace of mind that gives to us, to know that this wonderful priest, comes to Beth Israel Hospital in Brooklyn where she is, from a nearby parish to anoint her and pray for her. 
Yesterday her condition seemed dire and so I suggested to my cousin, to ask the nurse to call for a priest. And so this very good priest, once again came to anoint her and pray for her. Before I could drive from my house to the hospital, he had already been there to visit with her and pray. He told family members to call him if we needed him, he was so willing to help. I can't tell you the peace that gave to my entire family and most especially me.
It is so comforting to know that love, prayer and the goodness of others can help in difficult situations. When it comes down to it, what really matters in life? I think it's the love of family and friends, how much we are loved and cared for, our faith, prayers, Eucharist, anointing when we need it, the sacraments, belonging to a loving family and belonging to a faith community. In the end, that's what's real, that's what's important. The "stuff" that we spend our entire lives collecting, doesn't matter in the end, it's just stuff that will eventually belong to someone else or will be thrown away.  What matters in the end is love, family, God and also how much we have touched the lives of others. The question is: have we been a blessing to others?   
Anyone who doesn't think they need a religion, or a faith community or belief in God, or prayers, is making life more difficult for themselves, in my opinion. They're taking the hope out of life. I knew the importance of belief and prayer before this situation. But once again, I'm living it, in the here and now. The benefits of belief are what I'm immersed in and belief is a very good thing, especially when there is a crisis in life, uncertainty or illness. 
Also, the prayers and generosity of this priest, who is so available to help us and especially my aunt, has made a difficult and trying situation so much easier and comforting. That is why faith is so important for human beings. It's there when you need it, it strengthens you and gives you courage and the ability to persevere. Faith helps you deal with the difficulties and trials in life.