My mother (and her mother) always said that when someone comes to mind, especially out of the blue, you should pray for them. I have always believed that, especially in those middle of the night wake ups, when you aren't sure why, and it has always stuck with me.
When I was a teenager (more than 20 years ago!) we had a parish priest that was a very dear friend to the family. He came to our home for visits, meals, Mass and just a joy filled time. He was my spiritual director at the time, for as long as he was at All Saints. And when I got married Father Riley came and concelebrated at my wedding.
It has been years since I had seen Father, and he had been assigned to a parish in Colorado, so it wasn't too odd for him to come to mind. But what was odd was to come home after a workout and grocery store run and find a note on my front door in his handwriting! It was such a special surprise that I burst into tears. I didn't have any contact information for Father, and I was so grateful that a far away friend helped me so we could meet before he had to leave.
We met up at the new chapel at Seton with 4 kids, where we received a special blessing, and even a photo. Father was in his ever-present Notre Dame gear, and even without his shoes, sitting on the floor praying the rosary. So Father Riley! It was a quick visit, but a very special one nonetheless.
Something Father said really hit me. (Yes, I know, I'm really slow) His note said he hopes to see me once more "this side of Heaven." Those words make me cry.
Yes, that is our goal. Heaven is always the first goal. But sometimes I forget how it will be shared with so many special people that God has placed in our path. They are here to help us on this side of Heaven. We will all have eternity to enjoy the time together. Such a beautiful thought.