From the Hermitage
Good morning. A scenario: a loved one or dear friend is dying. You have been a faithful friend throughout the person's life. Perhaps you have travelled together. Many dinners were shared and so on.
On a day when you visit your friend, you are told he may well pass from this life to meet the Lord. When you are his side that day, he opens his eyes and speaks ever so softly. "Friend, you have meant so much to me on so many occasions. Now I know that there are not many beats left in this heart of mine.
Of course you are saddened by the experience. How will you remember him? His sister has told you that she will be doing his will's intentions and that she would very much like you to have something special that would always remind you of your friend. As you stand there, your friend says, "You know all those trinkets and things I have collected will soon mean nothing to me. My sister will distribute them to my friends. Is there any particular item I own that you would like me to tell her to give to you?
What do you feel? What should you say? Well the first reading today gives us the same scenario. Elijah is about to depart this life. What does Elisha say to him: Ask from me what you want before I die? What did Elisha ask of Elijah? No, he asked for no earthly goods. Rather he asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit! Wow! How strong Elisha had become working with Elijah. His value system was made clear in this response: a double portion of your spirit.
One time when I was visiting one of the power brokers in industry. Standing by his bedside, knowing he was not much longer for this world, and asked a very similar question to the one placed before Elisha, I stood frozen. The man had so much and so many wonderful "thing" that had cluttered up his homes, as he told me. Suddenly the Holy Spirit did something that I shall never forget. I said to my friend, "Let me kneel here beside your bed. You place your hand on my head. Then, please, would you say some kind of blessing over me because you have been such a true friend who always reached out to help others. I need just a small portion of your spirit." I looked into his eyes as I climbed from my knees and saw the tears rolling down his cheeks. He said "I thank you for your spirit, Milt. You have just made this dying so much easier. Just take care of other people as I have tried to do."
I need to write no further.
Oremus pro invicem.