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Peace and Reconciliation

30 November, 1999

Tony Bolger tells a story about his father-in-law that encouraged his faith.

The morning of 29 June 1992 brought a telephone call to the office I shared at the time in my business with my wife, Anne. The aged and well-experienced nun in charge of the ward at the hospice was her usual bright self, but explained that Anne’s dad, Sam, was agitated and perhaps distressed. As his stroke over twelve months earlier had left him paralysed and without speech, we had communicated via his remaining working thumb and forefinger and our guesswork.

The agitation and distress was not normal. His condition overall was giving cause for concern lately and we were put on notice that Sam may have decided to join his wife who had gone to the Lord some years previously.

We went to see him straight away. Our guesswork was just not good enough that day. Everyone was anxious to get to the bottom of the story. The experienced nun exhausted her list of usual questions without success: was there any unfinished business – wills, family disputes, money, bills, people not seen in a long time who would be important, etc.? No joy.

Anne and I went back to our office in the afternoon and took some quiet time to pray and ask for the answer…and it came! Sam was a faithful and rule observant Catholic, who participated in all the sacraments. The sacrament of reconciliation was important to him, and there he was, ready to meet the Lord, yet unable to participate in the way he traditionally did. How could he tell us when he could not speak or write?

We immediately phoned our priest friend, Pat, and explained the situation. He lost no time in getting to Sam. Fr Pat explained that, while traditionally, he had verbally confessed his sins to a priest over the years, God was with him and had already forgiven him all his sins. A single tear ran down Sam’s cheek.

The problem was solved instantly, and Sam went to God that evening, happy and at peace. God had lovingly solved the problem and we were strengthened in belief and faith.

by Tony Bolger | businessman