My mother was in the hospital for nine days. When we finally brought her home, the first thing she did was … sleep. Yes, sleep. You see, one thing I’ve learned about hospitals is that no one – no one – gets rest in a hospital. The doctors are working long hours. The nurses and staff are handling a thousand different things for a bunch of different patients. The patients’ families are tired and worried. The patients are worn out from their ailments, from the doctors, nurses, and staff coming and going, all the activity and medications. There is no rest.
So, while I was in my mother’s room, I made sure to stay out of the nurses’ way. “Don’t butt in,” I told myself. “Let them do their job. No suggestions, no opinions, just stay out of their way. Wait for them to ask me if they need anything.”
So the very first evening the nurses were trying to give my mother her meds and, well, they just weren’t on the same page. They would hold the pill one way, and she would get a little frustrated, and then they would ask her some questions, and she didn’t understand … I waited. After a couple of tries, one of the nurses turned to me and asked, “How do you do this at home?” I got up and showed her. “Oh, here, if you lay them out on your hand, it’s easy for her to pick them up herself and put them in her mouth.” One by one, in a matter of seconds, my mother plucked each of the pills from my hand and downed them with her drink. We all got a laugh, my mother smiled.
So anyway, I was spending the evening with her and the 8-o’clock curfew for visitors approached. Now, I really wanted to stay longer with my mother. It was her first night, and I didn’t want her to be alone. On my way out of the room at 10 past 8, I said sorry to the nurse for staying a little later than the curfew. She said, “Oh, you can stay longer if you want.” “Really?” I got the impression that they don’t say that to everyone. “Oh, yeah – you’re quiet.” I got it:
They are very happy that I stay out of their way. They are very happy that I wait on them. They are very happy that I am a servant.
That night, I stayed alone with my mother until she fell asleep some time past 10pm. What a gift – what we shared in those two hours was very special.
Where does the Lord get His staying power? Why is it that we’ve asked the Lord to stay with us in the Eucharist? What is it that draws generation after generation of people around the world to ask Him to stay all these centuries? Why do people want the Mass and Holy Communion, Eucharistic processions and Eucharistic adoration?
The Lord has given us the answer at the Last Supper: “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that have power over them are called beneficent. But you not so: but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger: and he that is the leader, as he that serves. For which is greater, he that sits at table or he that serves? Is not he that sits at table? But I am in the midst of you as he that serves.” (Lk 22:25-27)
Do you want staying power? Follow the Lord and become a servant to all. People will want you to stay. And you will receive the greatest gifts.
Happy Solemnity of Corpus Christi.