REJOICE for he RETURNS to the FOLD
Being thrice dipped in the water of baptism is our earliest mortification; coming out of it is a forecast of the ease with which the pure shall rise in a blessed resurrection: The whole process is an imitation of Christ. - Saint Gregory of Nyssa
I received the greatest news yesterday.
A friend of mine, 25 yrs in the program of AA, sober as a judge and as anti-Catholic as you can be, requested to speak to a priest. He wants to go to Confession and receive the Eucharist for the first time in (are you ready?) SIXTY YEARS.
I met this man in a meeting of AA about 10 years ago. He is a lovely person but bitter and angry about stuff he had been taught by his immigrant mother and father regarding The Faith. Now, being the intelligent and together alcoholic that he is it never dawned on him to find out if anything they said was really true. Instead, upon their deaths when he was 18, he walked away from The Church, joined the Army and went and fought in WWII. So, couple losing an ill-formed Faith with the horrors of combat and liberating concentration camps, add a dose of alcoholism and two failed marriages and kids who hate your guts because of your drinking, immorality and Italian temper and TA-DAH! You get a pile of resentments that last 20 years into sobriety.
Ten years ago he met me and hated me....why? I never knew why. I always treated him with respect, listened to him, never contradicted him at group level even when he spouted nonsense....he is well loved and respected in his fellowship here in Mo-Town and I figured he was the group's 'Fast Eddie' (that was the nickname of the old curmudgeon who helped me get and stay sober in Concord). He was always rude, outright mean, would wait until I had shared to make a scathing remark about idiots who are Catholics and how stupid and corrupt the Church is - and then he would say something historically innacurate like "The Vatican put over one million women to death for being witches" or "Galileo was tortured by the Pope for being right"....I mean NONSENSE.
I never said a word.
Turned out he hated me because I hang a Rosary from my rearview mirrors (like those damn Mexicans), have a Catholic Radio bumper sticker on my car (non-gunking - they are really cool) and am a Catholic Out Loud without apology.
Well, guess what - Mr. "I-Know-Everything" struck up a friendship with one of my sponsees - a woman in her 70's who is also a Catholic Out Loud. They are very close in age. Over the past year, because he has become her friend and she is his contemporary (not some young idiot, like me) he has:
1) make direct amends to ME
2) started attending Mass with HER
3) asked us to help him make an appointment with a priest - he wants to receive the Eucharist at Easter.
Now, I told him: "You realize this means Mass every week, if you are well enough to attend, right?" (he has health problems). He fixed me with a steely gaze and said, "YES ...don't you think I can HANDLE IT?"
of course you can.
THANK YOU, JESUS! Another lost lamb found and returned home....love is in the air....LOVE is in the air...and I am so happy.....
now, about a cure for the common cold.....
and the lotto numbers.....
St. Therese - thank you for this ultimate ROSE.