Life

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The Empty Chair

Posted by cotojo on June 27, 2007

An old man’s daughter had asked the local priest to come and pray with her father, who was ill and bed-ridden.

When the priest arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed.

The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” he said.

“No, who are you?” replied to old man.

“I’m the new associate priest at your parish” the priest replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”

“Oh yeah, the chair:’ said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the priest shut the door.

“I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At the Sunday Mass I used to hear the priest talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer.” The old man continued, “Until one day, about four years ago, my best friend said to me, “Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and, in faith, see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because He promised, ‘I’ll be with you always.’ Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.”

“So, Father, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The priest was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey.

Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the rectory.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the priest that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.

“Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange Father. In fact, beyond strange — kinda weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the empty chair beside his bed.”

The priest wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go like that.”

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2 Responses to “The Empty Chair”

  1. cotojo said

    We can but hope that for the majority of us it will as such. Thank you my friend, God Bless you too
    cotojo

  2. Sophiagurl said

    that was sad but beautiful. wish i could go like that too. God Bless you!

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