Because death is such an important moment in our life, our perfect God doesn’t leave unused any possibility of improvement for the one who is about to die and for anyone else who could be affected by that person’s death. However, here intervines our human freedom which can spoil things badly. But, if we do what we can – which is almost nothing – God will do what He can, which is everything.
Don’t you believe?
Several years ago, one of my brothers came to me, saying, “Come to my office because a photographer from Thessaloniki wants to show us how to use Photoshop.” It was very hot outside and I was very tired (it was after a vigil) but, because my brother asked me, I went to his office.
Inside we found a rather obese gentleman with a lot of sweat on him and a big bottle of water in his hands. After few minutes of disbelief, I started to realize that this man was a good hearted man who tried, with all his heart, to teach us everything he knew about Photoshop.
After several hours in a hot office he said, “I cannot do it anymore!” We said to him, “But, you shouldn’t have to. You should have stopped much earlier.”
After a while, he told us, “I did it because it was a must. May I share a miracle which happened to me?”
We started to be very attentive: “What miracle?”
He began: When I was very young—just a small child—my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Things were so bad that everyone knew she would die. They didn’t tell me, because I was very small. However, one evening, I was in my room and I heard the family speaking about my mother’s funeral—how it will be, what to do—details like that.
Then, I got out from my bed and I kneeled in front of the icon of the Mother of God and I prayed with all my heart of a small child, saying, “Mother of God, please do not take my mommy because I am not ready yet!” And my mother lived.
The years passed. The medics were stumped because all the analyses showed that my mother should be dead—but she was very active and took daily care of her children.
One day, I had to go into the army. In Greece, at that time, the army was mandatory. I went to an island with my unit and, as I was there, one night, I saw an immense light—without margins. It was white, white, white, white. And inside of this apparition was a man”
Then I said to him, “Did he look like this?” And I pointed my finger to a huge icon of Christ which we had in the office.
He looked long at the icon and finally said, “Yes, but I am not sure.”
After a long silence, he continued: Then, that man came close to me, bowed towards me and said, “Are you ready now for me to take your mother?” And I said, “. . .Yes!” and then I awoke. Realizing what happened, I started to shout out, “No! No! No!”
Immediately, I got permission from my unit to return to Thessaloniki. I got home late in the evening and I rang the doorbell. My mother opened the door.
“Are you ok?” I said.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Aren’t you ill?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
“Never mind. We can talk in the morning.”
In the morning, the phone woke me. It was my sister, asking if our mother sent the grandchildren to school. I responded, “I don’t know. Let me check.” And when I entered in her room, the first rays of the sun were already embracing the dead body of my mother.”