Last night I went to see my grandmother once more, before she departs this earth. Dorothy Heinz has lived a good, full, 87-year-long pilgrimage in this life. She has been ailing for some time, and has spent her recent months in the OSF St. Clare Home near Peoria.
She has had a number of strokes, and has not been too talkative -- especially now. While still having her full faculties, in spite of aspirating food/triggering pnemonia, she refused a feeding tube. Naturally, she has grown weaker.
I arrived at the nursing home around 10PM, but the nurse promptly unlocked the door when she saw my collar. I walked down the hall to Grandma's room.
She looked up when I told her it was me, and you could see the recognition in her expression. I chatted with her a little, but then came the important part of the visit.
I know a priest has already anointed her, but I did the same. St. James instructs us: "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders [pastors/priests] of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." (James 5:14-15 ESV)
Then, I prayed Compline with her. What is Compline? Compline is a prayer service, like Matins and Vespers, intended for bedtime. The order of Compline is intended to be a way for the Lord to guide us to "rest in peace" each night. In fact, it uses those very words. In a way, the Lord is showing us that we have nothing to fear in the darkness of night, and foreshadows the rest we will have in our tombs until He raises us.
Grandma attended Mass every week. I doubt she had prayed Compline often -- if at all. However, this was yet another connection for her to the Church catholic in all times and places. Christ gave her comfort by speaking His Word to her then, and we rejoice in that!
"The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and peace at the last.
Stay with us Lord, for it is evening and the day is almost over."