The Catholic Priest And The Dying Man

I once had a tenant to whom we had rented an apartment. He was rather a troublesome tenant in that when something went wrong in the building he would always call the city building inspector instead of reporting the trouble to our office.

One day when calling at the office in our apartment building to talk to the manager of the building I was told Mr. D., our troublesome tenant, was very ill. I immediately went to his apartment to see him. His wife received me very graciously and told me her husband was not given very long to live. She escorted me into the sick room and Mr. D. expressed how glad he was I came to see him.

I sat down by his bedside and told him as I had done before, about the full and free salvation to be found in Christ Who died for all upon the cross. I felt it rather unfortunate I had to leave because of the arrival of his nurse who immediately proceeded to attend to his physical needs. I excused myself and as I shook hands with him I told him I was going out of town over the weekend but would see him when I returned in three or four days. He made me promise to be sure to come again just as soon as I returned to the city. Immediately upon returning I hurriedly called to see him as I realized he was indeed a very sick man but only to be told by his wife he was buried the day before, having died the same day I had talked with him. "Won't you come in?", she said, as I stood rather stunned at the door, "I want to tell you what happened," I did and she related the following story to me: "You know," she said, "My husband and I have not been attending church for many years and since he took ill this disturbed him greatly. A short time ago we joined the Catholic Church and after you left last Friday and after the nurse had gone we called in our parish priest who came in a very short time. Mr.. D. told the priest he wanted to die happy and to have the assurance, if possible, that he would be in heaven when he died. He said to the priest, 'You know I have been a Protestant all my life and now I want to know if there is anything the Catholic Church requires me to do so that I may die happy and be in heaven'." "I was surprised," said Mrs. D., 'that the priest told him there was nothing he would require him to do and that there was nothing that he could do for him that would give him the peace with God he desired. I was so happy when I heard the priest tell him exactly what you told him and that was to trust Christ who died as his substitute on the cross and he would have the forgiveness of sins." "You know," said Mrs. D., "I never saw anything like it. I shall never forget it. His face brightened up as he said to the priest, 'if that's all I have to do to die happy I'll take Christ as my Savior now’." "Do you know," she said, "I believe the happiest hours of his whole life were the few hours before he went home to God."

Dear reader, true happiness can only be found in Christ. No ritual either Protestant or Catholic can put away sins. Listen to what Peter the Apostle said of Jesus Christ. "We are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold but with the precious blood of Christ," I Peter 1:18-19. The Bible says, Blessed is the man whose God is the Lord. Christ alone can forgive sins. Take Him as your Savior and you too will know the joy of sins forgiven.

W.G. McCartney