Wednesday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time at Mississippi Abbey

I remember a story that Abbot Philip O’Connor told during one of his morning chapter talks in the late 1950’s.  Back in those days the abbot gave a chapter talk every morning after the Office of Prime.  He said, “A young man, after finishing his lunch, used to hurry from his place of employment to the nearest Catholic Church for a quick visit.  Genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament he only had time to say ‘Jesus, this is Jimmy’ and then he had to hurry back. After many such visits a curious priest found out what Jimmy was doing, and he used to watch for him. One day, about the same time he expected Jimmy to arrive, he heard the blast of an automobile horn, the screeching of tires, and the terrible loud thump of metal against flesh and bones.  Grabbing the Holy Oils for Anointing the Sick, he rushed outside and saw Jimmy lying in the middle of the road, all twisted and bleeding.  While the priest anointed Jimmy, before he died, he heard a voice saying, ‘Jimmy, this is Jesus.” 

What a beautiful love story revealing the value of even our shortest prayers, our little acts of love, like those of Jimmy or St. Therese!  Over the years it has been retold by many people in various ways and it has even become a classical country song, because it expresses the desire we all have to love and be loved by God.