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Spencer Morgan Rice, Rector of Trinity Church, Boston, once told ("Watch, Therefore, for Ye Know Not When the Master Cometh," 2 December 1984) of how early in his ministry he was serving a small congregation in the Los Angeles basin. The sexton of the church took as much interest in those who came to pray and meditate as he did the upkeep of the church. 

One man in particular attracted his attention. This man dropped by the church briefly every day about 12:15. He would walk down the center aisle, stand at the chancel steps and stare at the altar for a moment. Then he would leave. 

After a few days, the sexton began to worry. The man was not well dressed. He was not the cleanest. He did not always walk steady. The sexton mentioned his concern to Rice, who suggested the sexton simply ask the man if there was anything the church could do for him. 

When the sexton asked, the man said, "No, thank you. I just come in every day and stand before the altar and say, ’Jesus, it’s Jim.’ It is not much of a prayer, I know, but I think God knows what I mean." 

Months slipped by. The sexton never again mentioned their daily visitor. Then, one morning Rice got a call from the Mother Superior of a home for aged men run by the Sisters of the Transfiguration. These women minister to men broken by life. 

Let’s let Rice tell the end of the story: the Mother Superior told me that Jim had been admitted, and I said I would be out to see him. She met me at the door and said, "You know, Father Rice, he has been here for two months. He went into the most cantankerous ward we have. Every nun here has tried her best to bring some sense of joy and calm to that ward. We failed. Jim went into that ward and the place is transformed. It is a new place. I went to him two days ago and I asked, ’Jim, how is it that you have been able to bring such joy and such a sense of peace to these men?’ And he said, ’Oh, sister, it is because of my visitor.’" And she said, "I know he didn’t have any visitors. That chair hadn’t been occupied the 60 days he has been here. So I said, ’Jim, what visitors? I’ve never seen a visitor.’ And he said, ’Sister, every day at 12:00, He comes and stands at the foot of my bed and says, "Jim, it’s Jesus!"’" 



Having a peace of mind is always knowing that Jesus is here. Do you remember when the disciples were on a stormy lake at night? In the distance they saw a figure approaching them on top of the water; they thought it was a ghost but when Jesus got within hearing distance He said, “Don’t be afraid, it is I.” Is it who? It is I. In other words, don’t worry; be at peace, it’s Jesus!


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