Unlimited grace

by Fr. Jeff

I was in Camelot Brookside visiting their newest resident. She is a woman whose life has had a major impact on our church parish, and she recently suffered a mild stroke. In her new home, we’re hoping she gains the strength to return to her normal routine.

As I was rounding the corner to her hallway, I heard a sob behind me. I turned my head to see two woman emerge from a room in tears. “I should stop and visit on my way back,” I thought to myself.

After visiting our parish friend, I was caught by a nurse, “Are you here to visit Mrs. Esther? It doesn’t appear to be long now.” Hospice hadn’t called me, and I didn’t know of her situation. The nurse gave me the room number, and I headed in that direction.

I found myself standing with the women I had heard crying earlier. Their mother is Mrs. Esther. She is 87, and her daughters were at her bedside.

Introducing myself, I quickly discovered that they weren’t Catholic. However, it didn’t seem to matter.

Mrs. Esther is Southern Baptist. Her daughters told me about her faith and her trust in Your Cross. It was obvious: they love You. 

I stayed awhile. We prayed. We talked of the beauty of faith and the great gift of hope. As a priest, I so badly wanted to celebrate the last sacraments in that moment. Then I remembered one of my seminary professor’s favorite phrases:

Grace is guaranteed by the sacraments but isn’t limited to them.

Your grace was there giving them hope. It reminded me that You are generous. I still hear Your words clearly:

That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.–John 17:21

The sacraments are visible signs of an interior grace. We may not have celebrated a visible sacrament, but it’s clear You were there. Today, I thank You for

unlimited grace.