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One day a family called their parish priest to come over because their elderly grandfather was very sick and dying.

The priest came and sat down in the dying man’s bedroom. He noticed another chair on the opposite side of the bed, a chair that had been drawn up very close to the bed. The priest said, “Well, I see I’m not your first visitor today.”

            The old man looked up and was puzzled for a moment, then recognized the priest had noticed the empty chair. “Well, Father, many years ago I found it very difficult to pray, so I shared my problem with a priest. He told me not to worry about kneeling. Instead,” he said, “Just sit down, put a chair opposite you and imagine Jesus is sitting in it. Then talk to him as you would to a friend. I’ve been doing that ever since.”

             A few days later the old man’s daughter called the priest. She said her father had passed away. She said he passed away with his hand on the empty chair next to his bed. She said, “Isn’t that strange?” The priest added,“No, it isn’t strange. I understand.”

            Jesus in today’s Gospel (Luke 21:25-28, 34-36) encourages us to pray at all times. He does this after mentioning many of the natural disasters that plague us as well as our daily cares and worries. Advent is a great time to find that chair, put it close to you, imagine Jesus sitting there and listen to his words to you from the Gospels as you feel his presence.

Try the empty chair approach yourself, even once.  Maybe it will help YOU to pray.

JESUS NEVER TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES HOW TO PREACH. HE ONLY TAUGHT THEM HOW TO PRAY!

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