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By Bishop Fulton J. Sheen


A woman wrote to me about her brother, saying that he was dying in a hospital and that he had been away from the sacraments for about thirty years. She said he led not just a bad life, but he was an evil man. He did much to corrupt youth and circulated all manner of evil pamphlets among the young to destroy both faith and morals.

His sister said that about twenty priests had called on him, and he threw them all out of the hospital room.

“So, will you please go to see my brother,” she asked me?

Last-resort Sheen, I visited him this particular night, and stayed about five seconds. I fared no better than anyone else.

But instead of making just one visit, I made forty. For forty straight nights, I went to see this man. The second night, I stayed ten or fifteen seconds. I increased my visits by several seconds every night. At the end of the month, I was spending ten to fifteen minutes with him.

I never once broached the subject of his soul until the fortieth night. That night I brought with me the Blessed Sacrament and the holy oils, and I said to him:

“William, you are going to die tonight.”

He said, “I know it.”

“I’m sure you want to make your peace with God tonight.”

He replied, “I do not. Get out!”

I said, “I’m not alone.”

“Who is with you?”

“I brought the good Lord along. Do you want him to get out, too?”

He said nothing. So, I knelt down alongside of his bed for about fifteen minutes because I had the Blessed Sacrament with me. After the prayer, I again said:

“William, I’m sure you want to make your peace with God before you die.”

He refused and started screaming for the nurse. So, in order to stop him, I ran to the door as if I were going to leave Then, I quickly came back. I put my head down alongside of his face on the pillow, and I said:

“Just one thing, William. Promise me, before you die tonight you will say, “My Jesus, mercy!”

“I will not! Get out.”

I had to leave. I told the nurse that if he wanted me during the night, I would come back. About four o’clock in the morning, the nurse called and said he had just died. I asked her how he died.

“Well…about a minute after you left, he began saying: ‘My Jesus, Mercy’ and he never stopped saying it until he died.”

There was nothing in me that influenced him. Here was a divine invasion upon someone who had the faith once and lost it.

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