I am a retired critical care nurse. One evening I had a patient who had had a very severe heart attack, and his life ebbed away. I knew this man as I’d had him as a patient many times before.
That evening he was extremely agitated, and I suspected fearful, as his death was approaching. I had grown up respecting each person’s religion but felt inspired and finally said, “I don’t want to offend you. I know you are Jewish, but I am Roman Catholic and rely on prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May I pray out loud with you to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?”
He looked up at me with wonder in his eyes and asked, “Does Jesus love me too?”
I said, “Yes, Jesus loves each person and loves you very much.”
I saw his eyes light up as he said, “Let’s pray.”
I prayed out loud for this man asking the Sacred Heart of Jesus to give him comfort and courage and let him know how very loved he is. It was a moment of mercy, God’s mercy, for sure. The man visibly relaxed, lay quietly, and died peacefully a few hours later. I knew he was in the arms of Jesus.
Some years back as a Maryknoll Brother assigned to Egypt, I worked at a government hospital that served people with Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Zakia was one of the patients. She was about 30 years old. Her overall appearance was not attractive. Perhaps because she came from a poor family, she had not received the drugs that lessen nerve damage and other physical deformities that can result from the sickness. She kept her hair cut short and matted down because she could not hold a comb or hairbrush.
One day a very proper British lady came to visit, as she often did, to bring gifts to the patients. Later, commenting on Zakia, the woman said, “She’s very feminine, isn’t she?” At first I hesitated to respond, then answered, “Yes, she is.” I had been concentrating on Zakia’s outward appearance but this visitor saw the warm, friendly person Zakia truly was and could sense her inner beauty. That was a mercy moment for me. Since then, I try to seek and understand the real inner person before me.
Robert Butsch, M.M.
My dear dad died at a local nursing home in 2003. After some obligatory and impersonal expressions of sympathy from the nursing staff, I was asked to stop by the nurses’ station to sign some papers. When I had done this, the charge nurse looked down at her desk and continued with her paperwork without another word to me. The whole experience was so cold and uncaring.
However, when I was walking to the elevator to leave, one of the housekeepers stopped me, sincerely expressed her sympathy, and asked if she could pray with me. We stepped into a side hallway, she held both of my hands, we bowed our heads and she prayed a beautiful and heartfelt prayer for me and my dad. I will never forget how this lovely woman brought comfort and caring into an otherwise devastating situation.
Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Everywhere my husband Erik and I lived as Maryknoll lay missioners in rural Tanzania, neighborhood small Christian communities met to reflect on Scripture. At the end of each service, a small offering basket was passed. The coins that were given were put aside to help one another in times of crisis. I was reminded of the Gospel story of the widow’s mite. These people showed mercy by giving out of their own poverty.
Margo Cambier, MKLM
Please share your Mercy Moments.Send to: Maryknoll Magazine Mercy Moments, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0302 or email email@example.com and write Mercy Moments in the subject line.
Featured Image: By Paul Jeffrey