There are many of you who pray for me. I try to pray a Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception for you all (if I can) daily. Thank you. And there is someone I would like to thank in particular, well, very many in particular, but this one said something to me rather incisive that needs repeating. So…
On the feast of Pentecost, this rose for the Immaculate Conception was sent in by a cloistered benedictine nun in New Zealand, a certain Mother L. known to many of you. She prayers for me really very much, about which I’ve told her that I have mixed feelings. I very much appreciate the prayers on the one hand, very much aware of them in my daily life as a priest, as it is evident to me – evident, I say – that those prayers keep me going, hopefully in the right direction, though, on the other hand, I complain because, as I tell her, I fear the judgment of Jesus, which I fear – fear, I say – will witness words to me such as, “Do you know how many prayers were offered to me for you by so many good souls? And what do you have to show for those prayers?”
And then, I hope I will not run away into hell but will simply stand there, then dropping to knees, utterly ashamed, weeping for for sins, a time when it is too late for repentance and any kind of purpose of amendment, but, oddly, not too late for contrition, for, in heaven, we will always see those wounds on the body of Jesus, in His hands and feet, in His side and Heart, and that contrition will be an act of love that is most appropriate in heaven as it will be the foundation for the exuberant thanksgiving which we (that is my hope) will have the great, great joy of putting before Him. Should our Lord then roll His eyes, making the angels laugh (they having done this a gazillion times), and then say that I now have the great privilege of going to purgatory until the end of the world, I think I will then jump up and throw my arms around Jesus like a little kid might do and thank Him a million times, knowing that, in the end, I’ll be able to go to heaven and thank Him there. I will be the happiest person at the judgement to have the joy of running into purgatory. Yay! And then the angels will peal me off of Jesus and lightly toss me into the very depths of fiery purgatory, with me nevertheless not able to stop rejoicing.
I know I’ve recounted this before, but it bears repeating, that the answer of Mother L. to my complaint was immediate and incisive. With no hesitation she scolded me so as to just get over it, for without their prayers I would certainly be on my way to hell, but, hey, look at me now, with a little possibility of going to heaven! Yes, awesome that. So, then, no mixed feelings. We all have the possibility of going to heaven.
Dum spiro spero. While I breathe I hope (the motto of South Carolina). That can be said by all of us, looking to Jesus. You know why? Because the Immaculate Conception has first of all interceded with us as only a mother can with her Son. Yikes!