An old priest had celebrated his diamond jubilee before the Lord called him home at the ripe old age of 85. He was very dear to me and although I was not a Catholic then, he was always there for me and my mother who had been warded for surgery at that time. The old priest too was in the hospital for some treatment. Under those circumstances, I found myself having several opportunities to converse with him and often he would come by to say ‘hullo’ to my mother in her ward. There were many smiles exchanged since both could not speak the other’s language.
Upon his death, I had a sweet dream of him. Imagine the camera zooming up close. I saw his face, smiling and radiant. It looked so friendly and he was so healthy too. In that dream, I saw the priest in his white priestly vestments. He gave me a smile. I returned that smile. Then he gave me a big hug. How warm this memory remains till now although I had had this dream so many years ago.
In that same dream, I saw a very long rectangular table with many men, all dressed in white, sitting around the table. There were no words spoken. Everything was just silent. Then it was that I had a close up look of the old priest with whom I had spent so many delightful moments in conversation. When he was still alive, I was on the final stage of preparing for my baptism. In his last days he was in hospital and then it was my pleasure to visit him and to assure him of my prayers. By the grace of God, I would tell him that I was praying the rosary for him – all fifteen decades. I still recall him telling me not to worry if I could not complete all. His cheerful response was that the Blessed Virgin Mary would complete them for me.
He was truly a joyful child of God. He accepted the challenges of his old age and sickness with humility. He did not make a fuss but accepted it all. I can still recall being amazed by his cheerful disposition. Then, on one of the visits, I requested that he give me my Confirmation name and he did. He pronounced both my names and satisfied, he smiled broadly. How then can I forget this wonderful old priest who had also told me to read the Book of Job.
The old priest went home to the Lord on 12 March 1993 while I got baptised the following month and then received my Confirmation in August that same year. It is Fr Herbert Myers of the Redemptorist Order that I have written about. May he rest in peace!