Seedlings

Steadfast love

By Fr. Christopher Kubat  

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 136:1).

Since visiting my mother at a skilled nursing facility for several months on a regular basis, I couldn’t help getting to know the staff and other residents and family members. As my mother’s window overlooks one of the entrances, one can see who is coming and going.

Not long after mom’s arrival, I had the privilege of getting to know an elderly man who visits his wife on a regular basis. He is like clockwork. He is a faithful and loving Catholic man and husband. After having greeted each other a number of times, he asked me if I could visit and anoint his wife. While walking to her room, he explained she is suffering from end-stage Alzheimer’s dementia. Once at her bedside, I greeted her but she was not able to respond. I was happy and privileged to give her the anointing of the sick. 

Just weeks ago, I learned that the husband has two cancers, prostatic and pulmonary. His hope and prayer is to stay alive long enough to continue to visit his wife. His prayer is that he is the last to enter eternity.
During my last visit, I said to my mother, “Mom, I need to write a “Seedlings” column and I do not know what to write about.” The last time I said this, she jokingly said, “Don’t worry son—if you use a picture big enough, you will need less words.” 

She started praying. I started praying. After a few moments, I remember that the man mentioned above just walked through the door to see his wife. Since I had not talked to him for a while, I decided to pay a visit.
I saw them in the dining area with a nursing aide helping his wife eat. After greeting them, I asked the man, “How long have you two been married?”

“Sixty-nine years!” he replied. He continued with a big grin, “We just decided we better stick together.” Then with much emotion he related that in all of the years they have been married, they have never quarreled.   

After a little more small talk I asked, “Can we pray together?” At this the nursing aide shot up like a rocket, bowed her head, and asked, “May I pray with you, too?” 

After praying together and giving them my priestly blessing, I blessed them all with the first-class relic of St. Gianna (which her daughter Gianna Emanuela gave me). At this the aide happily left and the husband took over and lovingly helped his wife eat.

“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 136:1).

Not only does the love of God endure and is steadfast, when we possess the love of God in our hearts, it likewise endures and is steadfast, like the love exhibited by this faithful husband—to death do us part.

As I write these words, I think of the many faithful donors who regularly and consistently support the work of Catholic Social Services. I see their names over and over when I sign thank-you letters each and every month. They are like clockwork. Why are they regular donors? Because their love is steadfast and endures forever.

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