There are other moments of comforting God’s people, however, that do warm the heart. Just as I was leaving the hospice, I caught myself asking the nurse if there was anyone there who had no family or friends. She immediately pointed me to 6B. It was the half of room 6 occupied by a Mr. Harris. I took his hand and spoke in a loud voice. His eyes remained closed, his head down. After a few futile attempts to connect with him, I raised my voice even louder and told him he looked wonderful. I told him he was strong. I placed a Yankees cap on his head and laughed at him. With eyes still closed, and to my great surprise, he squeezed my hand with the grip of a twenty-year-old. A few minutes later he opened his eyes wide, recognized the collar, and asked one thing: “Did you come here, Father, just to see me?” “I did, Mr. Harris, I did.” He cried like a baby. More tears of joy. Comforting people in the throes of tragedy is sometimes a downer emotionally, and sometimes it feels good. It is always a blessing for my soul.
Read the rest of his interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez here.