"Will You Pray with Me?"

Every day at the bedside of patients, I see the Good Shepherd bring comfort to those who are close to death.

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Life After Death blogger Trudy Harris

I was inspired by a recent article for Catholic New York in which Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan wrote about the Good Shepherd and all that this title entails.

He speaks about the love this image of the Good Shepherd brings to the minds and hearts of his followers. Jesus is seen to be a strong, loving protector of his children, whose sorrows, joys and needs are ever-present to him. He tends to his sheep, draws them to clean water, keeps them from sharp rocks and thorny bushes and searches out those who become lost.

This is the Good Shepherd that I see every day at the bedside of patients, family and friends who are dying and whom God is preparing to take home to himself. This is the tender, forgiving, compassionate Lord who makes himself available to the dying person in a myriad of ways and who is patient and kind until the very last moment of life. This is the God who goes out into the wilderness to find the innocent one who has gone astray and cannot find his way back to the fold.

We are the sheep of his flock and it cannot be seen any clearer than in the last days and weeks of a person’s life, when we are longing to feel the tender touch of the Good Shepherd.

This is what Bonnie, the hospice nurse in More Glimpses of Heaven knew to be true when she was called for the first time to the bedside of Marsha, who was imminently dying of lung cancer. The family called and requested that she stop by that day, as they sensed things changing quickly. Bonnie took her place at the bedside and gently asked Marsha what she would like them all to do for her. She whispered, “Will you please pray the 23rd Psalm with me?”

Bonnie and all of the family formed a circle around the bed with Marsha and slowly and quietly together prayed the 23rd Psalm. With every word spoken, Marsha looked more relaxed and peaceful. As they said the words, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me,” Marsha gently took her last earthly breath. The Good Shepherd had indeed walked her into the house of the Lord, where she will live forever.

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