This afternoon I had an absolutely wonderful experience. It all started last week when I was talking to a Eucharistic Minister who brings the Holy Eucharist to some people who are homebound. I asked her about an old friend of mine who used to come to our Charismatic prayer meeting many years ago. She was also always in church and I enjoyed talking to her. Her family has been very active in our church and community and I know so many of them. It has been a while since she has been in church and I missed her. The Eucharistic Minister told me that this woman was doing well and has mentioned to her that she would love to see me. I told the EM that I would love to go with her the next time she went. Today was the day. It was to be a surprise visit.
I don’t want to mention this woman’s name, because I didn’t ask her for permission to use it. But I do want to tell you some interesting things about her and our visit and the presence of Jesus. This friend has been homebound for several years. She has a really good excuse, she is 105 years old. When you see her she certainly doesn’t look her age. When you talk to her she seems so young at heart. Her mind is as sharp as a tack. When we first walked in her daughter (who I also know well), who didn’t know I was coming, greeted us with a huge smile and welcomed us in. We then went in to the room where the 105 year old was sitting at the kitchen table. The smile on her face when we walked in lit up this rainy, dark and dreary day. It was enough to absolutely warm your heart.
We spoke for a while reminiscing about old times in the prayer group and in the parish. I was so surprised at the details that she remembered. She seemed so happy to talk about the old times, but also seemed so happy about talking about her present life. She related how she loved Jesus and Mary and the prayers that she can offer. She was sad only because she couldn’t be a part of the church activities. She also was quite concerned for a dear relative who had fallen and broken some bones. We prayed for that relative.
After talking for a while, we prayed the rosary. She knew every prayer so well. She was so excited to tell me about her rosary. It seems that a friend of a friend had gone to Rome and had an audience with Pope Francis. This friend mentioned that he had a friend who was 105 years old and still prayed the Rosary. The pope then reached in his pocket and pulled out a rosary, blessed it and told the man to give it to the 105 year old. That is the rosary that we used. It is absolutely beautiful and to know that the Pope had sent it to her, was very uplifting.
We then did what this person does every time before receiving the Sacred Host. We prayed an Act of Contrition and then an Our Father. She then received the Host with such a beautiful, warm, glow on her face. It was so moving to watch. We then talked for a while and prayed together. I prayed for her specifically while laying on hands. I also gave her and the EM and her daughter a blessing. Truth be told……I was the one who received the blessings.
So why do I bring this one occasion up? It is because things like this happen continuously in the Church. Bringing Jesus to the homebound (or nursing home etc.) is one of the most satisfying things a Minister of the Eucharist can do, whether they are ordained or an Extra-ordinary Minister. This last Sunday I brought the Eucharist to several people in one nursing home and then on Monday I brought the Eucharist to another nursing home. The experience of doing that is so satisfying.
I really encourage all Eucharistic Ministers to reach out to the homebound and bring them Jesus. So many EM’s help out at mass with the distribution of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and this is great and well needed in most parishes. But an even better way to minister to people is by visiting the homebound. It is a ministry that brings Jesus to others and allows Jesus to come to you in a very special way. God is good.