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  • Sarah Raad

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“Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy.” (Saint Faustina, Diary 1602).

A Part of the Painting Simeon’s Song of Praise (Rembrandt van Rijn)

About a year ago I heard the story of Blessed Imelda Lambertini for the very first time. Blessed Imelda lived during the early part of the 14th century.


From the age of five years old, Imelda asked to receive the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion because she longed to be saved and understood the power of the Sacrament, which brings God into our soul. However, during that time, the Church only allowed children to receive Holy Communion after they turned twelve years old.


After daily Mass on 12 May 1333 – when she was only eleven years old – a vision of the Eucharist appeared above Imelda’s head while she knelt in silent prayer in front of the Tabernacle. Convinced that this was a sign from God, the priest gave Imelda the Blessed Eucharist right then and there – she made her First Holy Communion in that moment… And then – a moment later – she died…


In Saint Luke’s Gospel, where he recounts the story of the presentation of the Christ Child in the temple, which we commemorate in the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Most Blessed Rosary, we also hear about Simeon, who – upon encountering Christ – was content to die…


“…Simeon was there. He took the Child in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as You have promised. I have seen Your salvation.’” (Luke 2:28-30).


You see, for both these people – Blessed Imelda and Simeon – one moment, one encounter, with God Himself was enough for them. That moment meant that their life was complete and they were content to die…


The other day I heard very sad news that a young Catholic priest who was only forty years old was stabbed to death while administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Vietnam. That priest’s name was Father Joseph and I have been praying for Father Joseph’s soul and for the souls of those who love him and cared for him since hearing this news.


You see, Father Joseph also died in a moment after an encounter with God…


Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska wrote Christ’s words in her Diary 1735…

“Today, the Lord has been teaching me, once again, how I am to approach the Sacrament of Penance: ‘My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light.’” (Diary 1735).

And what this really means is that when Father Joseph was killed – it was God inside that confessional working in him. At the moment of his death, Joseph was but a vessel – a “screen” as Christ described it to Saint Faustina – for the infinitely merciful God…


You see, in Dairy 1602, Christ told Saint Faustina…


“Today the Lord said to me, ‘Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls.” (Diary 1602).


And so, as I pray for those who die unexpectedly in a moment, it occurs to me to embrace all such moments in my own life… You see, God is waiting there in those moments – just for me… And if I am humble enough, I will embrace them with all the desire of my tiny little soul…


And then I will be able to say… “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as You have promised. I have seen Your salvation.’” (Luke 2:29-30).


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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