Saturday, June 03, 2017

The empty chair


The daughter of a man asked the priest to go to her house to say a prayer for her father who was very ill. When the priest came to the sick man's room, he found this man in his bed with his head raised by a couple of pillows. There was a Chair beside his bed, so the priest assumed that the man knew that he would come to see him.

[The Chair with pipe of Vincent van Gogh] "I guess that you were waiting for me," he said. "No, who are you?", the man said. "I am the priest that your daughter called to pray with you, when I saw the empty chair beside your bed I figured that you knew that I was coming to see you"

"Oh yes, the Chair", said the sick man, "would you mind closing the door?" The surprised priest closed it.

"I have never said this to anyone, but... I've spent my whole life without knowing how to pray. When I've been in  Church I have always heard about it in sentences, that we should pray and the benefits that prayer can bring, etc., but the words always came through one ear and out the other because I have no idea how to do so. So for a long time I left completely the thought about prayer until about four years ago, when talking with my best friend he told me: "Joseph, this sentence is simply having a conversation with Jesus. So I suggest you do it this way... you sit on a Chair and place another empty chair opposite you, then with faith view Jesus sitting in front of you. It isn't crazy to do so because he told us: "I will always be with you." Therefore, you talk to him and listen to him, in the same way as you are doing it with me right now".

"So I did it once and I liked it so much that I followed doing it two hours daily since then." I have always been very careful  not to be seen by my daughter because she would have  immediately put me in "a mad house".

The priest felt a great emotion upon hearing this and told Joseph that what he had been doing was very good and that he should not cease to do so. Then he began to pray with him, extended him a blessing, anointed him with the holy oils, and went back to his parish.

Two days later, the daughter of Joseph called the priest to tell him that his father had died. The priest asked him:

-Did he die in peace?

-Yes, when I left the House at about two in the afternoon, he called me and I went to see him by his bed.  He told me how much he loved me and gave me a kiss. When I returned after shopping an hour later, I found him dead. But there is something strange with regard to his death, because just before his death, apparently he reached for the Chair that was beside his bed and leaned his head on it, because that is how I found him. What do you you think is the meaning of this?"

The priest wiped the tears of emotion and answered:

-"I wish that all of us could go this way"

Translation from:

Deuteronomy 31:8 "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed".