Yesterday I had a very powerful experience that I will probably never fully understand. I was doing some reading yesterday morning and the phone rang: it was about 5:45 am. Sure enough, it was the hospital summoning me to the emergency room. I arrived and the nurse brought me to the room where a woman was lying on a bed, having some trouble breathing. There was some (I presumed) family present. I told her I was a priest from her parish and I would anoint her. Being a hospital chaplain, I have anointed many people in hospital beds, so nothing seemed too out of the ordinary at first. She grabbed my hand. I began the rite, and laid hands on her head. As I began anointing her, she began gasping–I did not realize she was actively dying, so suddenly the intensity picked up a bit. I finished the prayer and she gasped her last full breathe.
I imparted to her the Apostolic Pardon and blessed her before she finally died. I then prayed the litany of saints and commendation of the dying, giving her soul to God. A few minutes later she was pronounced dead.
As I walked out into the still dark morning, one of the men in the room (I am not sure if he was a son, a son in law, a friend) turned to me and said “she was waiting for you”. Indeed it does seem that way. What a special grace to experience this. I can only thank the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Joseph, and my guardian angel for getting me there in time. Had I been five minutes later it might have been too late. Or maybe she would have waited-who knows. What a truly awesome gift is the priesthood.
I then returned to the parish for the normal morning schedule with Mass and Confessions.
Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace Amen.