Sometimes I just feel like I need and want to go to Emmitsburg and just go sit in St. Joseph’s and think and pray about everything that has happened. I thought I might end up there at some point today but I did not dream it would be under the circumstances that sent me there today.
The day started when I drove to "Parish Church" for CCD and arrived just as the clock on the dash switched to 9:33. CCD went fine and it was a very nice morning that was soon to go sour because of what I am about to describe.
After CCD I drove out to the nursing home to check on Bob. When I got there most of his family was gathered around his bed. B___ said “Thank God you are here, Bob is having a bad morning and has been asking for you”. I walked over to the side of the bed next to the window and it was the very worst I have seen Bob look. He looked dead and distorted.
I took Bob’s hand and he started talking to me. He seemed very concerned about something and said in a very weak tone of voice “Robert, I have a question for you” He asked “Do you know anything about money, who is going to pay for all of this, I don’t have any money.” I told Bob that he did not have to worry because Medicaid was paying for everything and that he was all paid up and there was nothing to worry about. He then said “That’s good to know” and he smiled.
Bob’s son M___ then said “Dad when Jesus died on the cross He released us from all of our debts”.
At that very instant Bob’s eyes nearly bulged out of his head and with a strength and force that did not seem possible he told M___ to get out of the room. Bob then said he was tired of hearing all of this Jesus stuff. Bob then began to curse and swear in God’s name. Everyone in the room was shocked and in disbelief of what just happened.
It then got worse. Bob continued to insist that M___ leave and not come back. He continued to swear until M___ finally had to actually leave the room. Bob would not allow him to return. Barbara was sobbing uncontrollably. I tried to calm Bob but was unable to do so. This went on for at least 10 minutes.
Bob’s daughter J____ was standing behind me and took the crucifix off the wall and handed it to me. I held the crucifix in front of Bob’s face and told him to look at it and pray. He resisted at first but within a few seconds Bob calmed down and became peaceful. The time was 11:33.
A little while later Bob started to become a little more agitated so I asked him if he would like to pray the rosary like we do everyday. He said yes. Everyone in the room prayed the Glorious mysteries of the rosary together and Bob tried his best to get the words out but now seemed so weak that it was nearly impossible for him to do so.
After the rosary I asked Bob if he felt strong enough to receive the Eucharist and he shook his head yes. I told Bob that I would go to church and get the Eucharist and be right back. I walked out the door and at that very instant the peaceful feeling hit me and I glanced at my watch and the time was 12:13. I drove to "Parish Church" and picked up the Eucharist and drove back to the nursing home and just at the truck came to a complete stop the clock on the dash switched to 12:33.
I walked back in Bob’s room and his son-in-law Rich suggested that they go get a cup of coffee while Bob receives the Eucharist. B______ said she would like a cup of coffee so they left and it’s a good thing because it got very ugly very fast after that.
I started to say the usual prayers Bob and I pray before he receives the Eucharist and he did not try to join in like he always does. He just had a cold, blank stare in his eyes. After the prayers I tried to give the Eucharist to Bob but he turned his head away.
I asked Bob if anything was wrong but he did not say anything. Bob then opened his mouth to receive the Eucharist and after a few seconds he spit the host out. The host became stuck on the end of his tongue and he twirled his tongue around with the host stuck on the end of it in a way that looked deliberately disrespectful .
I took the soggy but intact host off of his tongue and held it in my fingers. I asked Bob what was wrong and why he was acting like this. He did not say anything but had a disgusted look on his face.
After about a minute of silence I asked Bob if there was anything he would like for me to get him like a drink of water or something and Bob said yes. He said in a strong, loud, clear and angry tone of voice “I would like for you to go get a gun and use it to blow your brains out”.
I was stunned when he said this but I tried to show no emotion whatsoever when he said this because I knew it was not Bob saying those words. I instantly remembered Bob telling me about little brown men who come into his room who have missing body pieces who torment him.
I then said “You don’t really want me to do something like that do you?” and he said “Oh yes I do.” I then asked why he wanted me to do that and he said “So you will leave me alone.”
I then got right down in Bob’s face and I asked Bob if anyone was bothering him and with a frightened look on his face he shook his head yes. I told Bob to tell whoever was bothering him to go to hell and leave him alone because he belongs to Jesus and Mary and nobody else. Bob shook his head yes again and regained his peace. After a few minutes of Bob being back to normal I offered the host that I was still holding in my fingers. Bob consumed it with no problems other than being exhausted.
I told Bob to get some rest and that I was going to ride to Emmitsburg and refill his water jug with fresh Grotto of Lourdes water. Bob said he said he would like that very much. I walked down to the dining room where Barbara was to say good by and she was still very upset about the episode when Bob demanded that M__ get out of the room. I did not dare mention what else had just happened.
I drove home for a few minutes to get my phone and then left for Emmitsburg. I went to St. Joseph’s first and arrived at 3:33. I went in and I was going to complete the rosary for Bob that we had started this morning by his bedside by praying the Joyful, Sorrowful and Luminous mysteries. I only had the last 2 Luminous mysteries to go when Fr. Goff came in and was going to lock up the church. I glanced at my watch as I walked out the door and it said XX:X:33.
I went to my truck and sat there and finished the rosary. I then drove to the Grotto of Lourdes to get Bob’s water and was delayed by a very slow moving car in front of me. I arrived and pulled into the Grotto and the odometer was 1.3 and the time was 4:33.
I walked through the Grotto and it was extremely cold but it was still nice just to be there. When I got to the spring I filled Bob’s jug and when I finished I again felt that sudden sense of peace. I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13.
As I was leaving I saw Fr. Jack Lombardi and we stopped and talked for a few minutes. I told Fr. Jack about Bob’s condition and he remembered exactly who Bob was. Fr. Jack has prayed over Bob on several occasions. I asked Fr. Jack if he would bless Bob’s Grotto water and make it holy water. He did and he told me to tell Bob that he would pray for him during his evening prayers and gave me 2 holy cards to give him. I then walked in the glass chapel and prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and then left.
I drove back to "hometown" and went to the nursing home to take Bob’s water to him. Barbara’s van was in the parking lot but she was not in the room when I got there. Bob was asleep and I had a sudden thought that I should sprinkle the holy water around Bob’s bed and the entire room. This thought came very suddenly so I did it. I had lost all track of time and at the very instant I finished sprinkling the water I glanced at my watch and the time was 7:33:59
February 18, 2004