Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Pray for Paul, Now and At the Hour of His Death

 Tonight Paul, who looks a little like St Paul, came to the door asking for absolution, Normally he comes asking for a few pounds or sees me in town and asks for my blessing, something few of my parishioners ask for. Now, he has lost control of both his bladder and bowels, he is convinced he is dying, he is an alcoholic, he tells me he has sclerosis of the liver. He wanted me to pray he would go to heaven and go soon. He asked me to say that prayer which he couldn't remember but it had, 'pray for me now and the hour of my death'. I told him all that was necessary that he should say the words he remembered, with as much faith as he had.

I went into church for Exposition, he was kneeling there in the pew alongside Ann one of our parishioners. Even on the sanctuary, even with the incense, it was possible to smell his breath, he stayed there kneeling for about half an hour, got up and went to kneel on the sanctuary steps before the Blessed Sacrament where I had knelt, he got up and helped by Ann left as silently as he had prayed, going back to a shop doorway where he normally spends the night.

Pray for him that his prayer might be answered soon and that those words, "pray for me now and at the hour of my death", may indeed gain him heaven.

And give thanks that this priest was able to glimpse the great beauty of the faith of this poor man.


36 comments:

Terry Nelson said...

I will pray for him now - I'm going to pray my rosary and will repeat that part of the prayer with him.

I pray for you too dear Fr. Blake.

I love you so much - you are so kind and charitable and good.

Thank you.

Unknown said...

A little while ago my long time friend, who was an alcoholoc, died. He had been in a chemical coma for weeks. He had not long been to confession and died with the brown scapular round his neck. Deo gratias! I will pray for Paul

Chloe x

Lucy said...

Praying for Paul

Joe Potillor said...

Will do such a thing, prayers for paul

Pablo the Mexican said...

Padre,

Why not enroll him in the brown scapular?

Remember your soul is more at stake than his; God loves Poor Lazarus.

,

Luciano Toscan said...

Dear Father Blake I will pray for Paul in my prayers this evening.
Thank you for what you do. In the words of Pope Francis you truly are a shepherd who has the smell of his sheep. Thank you for having a true pastor's heart.
Ad multos annos

David Heath said...

I wish I had seen this before we said our Rosary this evening, but I will keep Paul in my Intentions regardless.

He is privileged to have such Faith, and Blessed to have found such a Priest to assist him.

I shall pray for you both, Father...

Long-Skirts said...

LITTLE
PAUL

He was once
Someone's baby

Smiling at
His mother's face

Knows his flaws
So pray and maybe...

Our Mother in Heaven
Will smile on him with grace.

(I know she will.)

viterbo said...

Will pray for Paul. Perhaps if you see him again, Father, ask him to pray for us.

God bless and keep you both in His mercy forever.

Liam Ronan said...

"et publicanus a longe stans nolebat nec oculos ad caelum levare sed percutiebat pectus suum dicens Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori." Luke 18:13
I shall certainly include Paul in my prayers, Father!

NBW said...

Father I will pray for him and put him on my prayer list. You are on the prayer list as well Father. May God Bless you for all the wonderful work you do.

And may God Bless Paul.

Supertradmum said...

God bless Paul and may his angel lead him to paradise. Paul's purgatory may be on this earth

Annie said...

Prayers for Paul.

Hendo said...

Thank you for your faith, Father Blake, and for sharing the faith of your parishioner Paul. May his prayers be heard by Our Lord and His Blessed Mother and his Heavenward journey be swift and sure.

mrsmeadowsweet said...

Dear Father

Thankyou for posting this. I have quoted from it as I found it very affecting. Your blog is an inspiration to many.

Mark W said...

"Let me die, like Jesus on the Cross, with the most lively hatred of sin, of charity toward Thee, O heavenly Father, and of perfect resignation in my agony. Holy Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit. Be merciful unto me. Jesus, Who didst die for me, grant me the grace of dying in an act of perfect love for Thee.

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me now and at the hour of my death.

"My Guardian Angel, my holy Patron Saints, forsake me not at the hour of my death.

"Saint Joseph, obtain for me the grace of dying the death of the just. Amen."

Mr Grumpy said...

Praying with tears in my eyes. God bless him and you.

Michael Gormally said...

What a beautiful and very moving story, Father. You are a good and holy priest. Your congregation are truly blessed to have you as their spiritual father. May God bless you always.

Gertrude said...

Prayers for Paul, and may he remember us when he reaches that placeto which we will all find our way. His purgatory has started on earth. Bles hom and may the Immaculate Mother of God hold him close, as only our mother can.

Lynda said...

Yes, the brown scapular. Would any Catholic hospice be able to take Paul. Lord, protect him in body, mind and soul.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gertrude, Forgive my nitpickiness but what is "that place to which we will all find our way"? Do you mean Judgement?

Lynda, I think there most probably isn't but I think Paul wouldn't want such a place, he has been free and on the streets for 16 years, he'll want the right to die with bottle in his hand, and probable a crucifix in the other hand.

Gervase Crouchback said...

I serve breakfast to the Homeless here in melbourne ,Oz,once a fortnight,from out of an Anglican church hall.Paul's last memories will be of those who helped him-his priest and a fellow parishioner. God Bless you Father for you are a faithful and true priest,and all priests

Ale said...


Rezaré por Pablo. Dios tenga misericordia de él, pobrecito.

gemoftheocean said...

Oh, Father, please notify your council social services about this man. He really needs to be in the hospital or a hospice. The thought of that poor man dying alone on a street somewhere breaks my heart and there are tears running down my face now at the thought. He may feel too ashamed or too proud to ask for help like that, but everyone deserves to die in a clean bed in a warm place, with any luck with someone beside them holding their hand. Of course I will pray for him, and you, and that a place can be found for him. Let him die with some human dignity.

Fr Ray Blake said...

No, Gem, he has ample opportunity to ask for help from DSS if he wants to, it would be violation of his freedom to impose something he would not choose on him.

EFpastor emeritus said...

Father,
I thank God that you exist

Konstantin said...

"he'll want the right to die with bottle in his hand, and probable a crucifix in the other hand."

Father, granted that's the case, what will Paul's eternity look like? I will catch lots of flak for this, but it sounds like Paul might lose his soul. If he doesn't want to abandon drinking, he's an unrepentant sinner who shouldn't receive absolution.

You're running out of time here, because you never know when he will lose the use of reason, just as he has already lost control over his bowels and blatter. Make him give up drinking before it's too late and he really dies that way...likely minus the crucifix.

Please don't let that happen, Father.

Fr Ray Blake said...

K
Alcohol addiction has never been classed as a mortal sin, though its consequences might be.
The consent of the will is so reduced that at this stage it would be impossible to remove drink from his life, therefore all that seems to be possible is to increase his desire to do God's Will, trusting in the fact that 'God judges our hearts and not our actions'.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liam Ronan said...

When I read your post about Paul, Father, it reminded me of the life of St. Mark Ji Tianxian, a Chinese opium addict, canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2001 and who died rather than renounce his Faith during the Boxer Rebellion.
Here is a link which mentions his life briefly:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/diaryofawimpycatholic/2011/09/the-addict-saint/

It is both a humbling account and worthy of reflection in regards to Paul's struggles.

Filippo Neri said...

The vast majority of homeless people suffer from mental illness. I hope God blesses that poor man, and I hope that when he dies, he can see the Face of God forever. http://tranquillitascatholic.blogspot.co.uk/ (My blog on mental illness)

Jacob Pierce said...

Father,

Deo Gratias for your spiritural and humane response. God told you he was genuine,remorseful and above all in fear of Our Lord.

Supertradmum said...

I hope I have the last perseverance before death as well as an excellent priest. Paul knew what to do. Prayers.

Any one of us could be Paul. But more importantly, the Crucified One reveals Himself to us in such poor ones as Paul.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Praying.

Albert said...

imagine the joy when he does reach heaven; for your poor man and for God

Bp. Neumann said...

Thanks for the post, Father.

Since you posted this, I've told the kids I teach at school, and they (150 or so of them) have been praying for Paul. Several have asked me since then, in total concern and sincerity, "have you heard how Paul in England is doing?"

Either way, they'll be praying for a while longer for Paul in his final days and/or the repose of his soul.