Wednesday, March 31, 2010

THE CROSS, THE CRUCIFIXION, THE RESURRECTION! OUR LADY OF HOPE!


It is sweet victory, watching your child come home-to God. It is a mind blowing, soul lifting experience that is almost surreal. I experienced that victory this weekend, in the most profound way.

During an outdoor Palm Sunday Mass, I watched the religious procession turn the corner into full view...Two priests and a Bishop...and then my eldest son-next to the Bishop, his arm carefully guiding him...up the steps of the altar over to his seat. As the Mass progressed, the Bishop and Johnny stood together to read the Passion of Christ...Johnny's deep voice, clearly articulating the New Testament story of the arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. My son and the Bishop together, sharing the shocking details, of the most profound story ever told.

As I watched the two of them, my heart smiled...knowing the poignant power of that moment and its victory over death. My friend Judy, a Catholic Theologian, who is as brilliant as she is beautiful, whispered, "Things have come full circle." Indeed they have. For twenty years I too stood next to a Bishop, in a Christian Television ministry that roamed the world. This vision of my son was poetic justice wrapped in divine deja vu.

Johnny is in recovery from addiction, but mainly from the wounds that triggered his fall into one of the darkest, most destructive evils in our world today. Ten months ago he entered "Our Lady of Hope," in St. Augustine Florida where the power of God's Love is miraculously transforming his life. I can see it in his face, hear it in his voice, feel it in his demeanor...Something powerful has changed, something peaceful has come over him...Something spiritually sensational has helped him soar to a place that the rest of us can only hope to go.

As we talked later about his internal transformation, he paused choosing his words carefully, wanting to express the truth, while assuring his brothers that he was not becoming a brain washed, religious fanatic. Johnny said the power of the Eucharist is transformative-changing how he feels and what he feels-matters most. He said when the Eucharist is absent from his life, he can feel that something inside is missing, because there is an emptiness that is palpable. I completely understood.

As much as we Catholics have taken it for granted, for as long as we have denied its restorative power...The Holy Eucharist is the ultimate source of strength. It is the one gift of the God of my understanding, that out performs, out lasts every other personal prayer, penance or private revelation. It is the gift of life that keeps on giving from here to eternity and it is available 24/7 at daily Mass or during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Eucharist feeds our soul with the Love of God, who became man, so he could die for our sins in order that we might inherit eternal life. The Eucharist is invested with the fullness of Christ's complete and perfect Love, the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist defines Catholics...and our devotion to it, defines our relationship with God.

My son Johnny, and the other young men I encountered this weekend exemplify the spiritual and physical manifestation of this divine mystery...and they are becoming living signs of its healing power, which is available to each and every one of us, every single day. I am so grateful for the gift of Our Lady of Hope and for the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon an Italian nun, Mother Elvira, who established this worldwide fortress of Love, which is bringing young people back to life, while inspiring life giving hope in the hearts of families everywhere.

The Cross, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection...There is nothing more beautiful!
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