We are approaching the end of the liturgical year and soon we will enter into the season of Advent where we will prepare our souls and hearts to celebrate the beautiful mystery of God's incarnation. The readings will help us set our eyes towards the meaning of the "End," and as people of faith to embrace the hope of real Christian life: "Your redemption is at hand."
Just this week I went to visit a person who was in the hospital with a critical condition; may the Lord bless him and raise him up with his mercy and power. During our sharing, he said, "Father, I don’t know if this is my time; I have no idea what the Lord's decision will be, but I want to be ready; I think that the end is near.”
This man had the grace of preparing himself for the "end" of his journey. Perhaps it was one of the most honest and meaningful confessions I have ever heard. I could feel that he was opening his life, heart, and soul to the Lord; I could feel the regret for the wrong things he did and for not doing the good he was supposed to do. When we finished I said that in my mind and soul I felt that it wasn’t his time yet, that the Lord still had something else for him in this world. I advised him that when he went back to his family everything had to be different because he was renewed by God's mercy and the graces he received and that moment had to be kept in his life and shared with his family and friends. We gave thanks to God and ended our encounter.
Knowing that the end is close is a grace and is an opportunity to examine our lives, to value every minute we are living, and to set our eyes on what really is crucial -- on the real values of life. There is no time to waste in resentments, hatred, dark memories, envies, selfishness and other things and feelings that waste and spoil our precious time. Every moment is an opportunity to forgive, to love, to work for peace and reconciliation, to nourish our soul with the graces of God. Only if we live in this way can we stand erect and raise our heads and then we will know our redemption is at hand.
Remember during this month we are to pray especially for the faithful who have passed. May their souls by the mercy of God rest in peace.
May the Lord and the Blessed Mother bless you and your family.
Let us pray for Priestly Vocations:
Lord, look upon our Diocese of Trenton with kindness and listen to the petition of your faithful. Make our parishes, families, and hearts fruitful ground for Your gift of vocations.
May our young people respond to your call with gladness, courage, and zeal.
Stir among our men a desire and the strength to be good and holy priests serving your Church and your people so together we can continue the mission of the Gospel.
We commend our prayer for vocations to You, Father, through the intercession of Mary our Mother, in the Holy Spirit, through Christ our Lord. Amen.