Father started playing the same song he plays every day. It’s a four note song that you can play going up and down the piano keys. Today, I was with him. Instead of just repeating his notes, I played with a few variations but always ended on the right key.
Then I realized we had a problem. I forgot that the priests on spiritual exercises had their meditation in the next room in only two minutes. What could I do?
You see father is in his 80s and is slowly going mentally. He walks around the house blessing every second person and repeating half a dozen phrases like, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in you.” He often acts much like a toddler, enjoying ping-pong and sing-a-long. The brothers take turns watching over him.
I need to convince him of the need to stop playing the piano which he so loves. I try to tell him that we need to go. I try to explain that he will be disturbing the retreat. I mention the Lego he likes to play with. No success.
A minute or two after the meditation has begun, one priest comes in and makes a sign that we should leave. I nod and shrug my shoulders in frustration. However this priest knows how to attract with honey not vinegar: “Father it’s a beautiful day outside, wouldn’t you like to go for a walk?” That priest joins us for about 5 yards out the door before returning to his meditation.
I only spent two mornings with him while the rest of the house was on Spiritual Exercises. In this short time, I realized how his fidelity shines through. A priest is always a priest.