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Visiting the Sick

2016-11-09-ryanEvery Thursday, I head over to the Veterans’ Hospital, in East Orange, New Jersey, for my apostolic assignment. It is in this ministry that I get to visit the sick and the disabled, which is one of the many responsibilities of a priest. To me this is one of the most important ministries out there, because this is exactly what Jesus did over two thousand years ago. That is, visit the sick, and heal the lamb. Well maybe I do not exactly have the gift of healing like Christ himself had, but what I do have, I give to the patients I visit. Many of the patients I visit have no one, and so, I am there to give them an open ear. I care for each one of the people I visit, and I not only try to lift them up physically, but I also lift them up spiritually. But the patients are not the only ones getting something out of the visits. I myself receive much consolation from visiting each patient I encounter, and it is a way that I get to experience Christ through each patient.

One patient, who has been there for six months, I have been able to see on a regular basis. Every time I see this man, he makes me forget about the little things that I have going on in my life, because he has far more complications than I have ever had. But yet, even in all his sufferings, this guy continues to smile, and praise God for his life. Sometimes this baffles me, because if I were in his position, I know I would not have the joy and the faith that he has in God.

(For confidentiality sake, I will not disclose the patient’s name, but I will just call him Jim).

Two weeks ago I was able to visit Jim, but this was going to be my last visit with him, because that day he was checking out to go home. I was happy to hear the good news that he was finally healthy enough to go home, and as we said our goodbyes to each other, we ended it in a prayer. As we ended the prayer, a random guy, who was in the common area with us, asked me if we just prayed, and if so, why did I not ask him to join in. I apologized to the man, for not asking him to join in the prayer, but this gave me an invitation to meet someone new. This simple little prayer in public, led me to meet a new man, and learn about his life situations, and what he needs prayers for.

And so, I ask you, whoever reads this, not to be ashamed to live out your Catholic identity in public. We were not made to be two different people. We were not made to be a worldly person in public, and a Catholic, prayerful person in private. No, were made to be children of God all the time, and this means living out our faith by word and in deed. Who knows, maybe just being who you are supposed to be all the time, will inspire the people around you to live out their faith the way we all are supposed to live it out.

Ryan Meehan

Ryan Meehan

1st College
Ryan Meehan attends The College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception at St. Andrew’s Hall, Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.
Ryan Meehan

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