If you are old enough to remember the song "boys don't cry," by the Cure, you are too old to be on this site! Just kidding. This song often comes to mind when I am alone in the silence in adoration. For those who haven't heard it the Chorus goes "I try to laugh about it cover it all up with lies, I try to laugh about it hiding the tears from my eyes, boys don't cry, boys don't cry." But boys do cry and they can cry, if they are willing to step out of the wading pool and cast out into deep waters.
I am talking about returning to purity. For 11 years I was a police officer. I wanted nothing to do with the Catholic faith. I occassionally attended Church. But, in all honesty, it really wasn't that interesting to me. I didn't like the music, infrequently listened to the homilies, and frankly just didn't get the whole alter thing. I had a pretty tough outter shell. I dealt with guys who sold dope all day and I didn't have time for what I considered weakness. In fact, I can recall one of the first times, I went on a call on my own, a five year old boy had been run over by a car. The blazer was going about 35mph and never saw the boy dart into the street from between two cars. As the first to arrive on scene, I stood over the boy, I will spare you the graphic details. I had never seen anything like this in my life. Horrified, I could feel a lump in my throat and the tears welling up in my eyes. Yet, I fought them back and began to do my job. A nurse was on scene attending to the boy, but, I knew the minuete I saw him he was dead. It is because of the hardness of our hearts(Mt. 19: that we stuggle to will the good for others, to love them without condition. It is because of the hardness of our hearts that we are afraid to let ourselves embrace the goodness and the dignity of every human being.
My heart was hardened by the choices I made both at work and in my personal life. There wasn't much about my life that was pure. I had wandered away from the objective image and source of authentic love, when I was 14. I had wandered into the myths of the world, my ears were itching and I thought that every incoherent rambling from some self proclaimed teacher was the truth(2 Tim: 4). Yet, try as I might I could not find any peace. My life consisted of very little quiet time. I was usually running all day every day. The clubs, sports, work, video games, dating, whatever I could do to fill up my time.
One day I decided to start praying the Rosary. I had never prayed before and in all honesty I wasn't sure that I wanted to be Catholic, but somehow, my mom had convinced me to take it up. Like St. Monica, I guess, she had seen enough misery come from her son's quest for worldly glory(see St. Augustines "Confessions"). Shortly thereafter, I began bringing my bible with me to work at night, I worked midnights, so there was always some quiet time. I began to read something from one of the gospels every day.
One night, I recall reading John chapter 6. In that chapter Jesus says six times, in six verses, six different ways that his flesh is the flesh of eternal life. "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day(Jn 6: 54). As the chapter continues, the disciples are in dismay at this teaching, so much so that many of his disciples "drew back and no longer went about with him(Jn. 6: 66)." I had grown up knowing the Church's teaching on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but I had never really wrestled with it. I had always sort of dismissed it. I never thought for a moment, yeah sure that's true. For the first time in my life, I saw myself for what I really was, a guy not unlike the disciples, who had walked away from the foundation of everything in the Church without even giving it much consideration. I had turned my back on Christ!
The scales were beginning to fall from my eyes, I began to pray the Rosary more and more, I started trying to go to mass more, I started going to adoration when I could, and I really began to read more. I began to feed my mind with Catholic goodness, the first book I read was "the lamb's supper" by Dr. Scott Hahn. The mass changed immediately, I no longer needed music or a good homily(don't get me wrong they are nice), because for the first time in my life I recongized what was really happening on the alter. Jesus and I, one flesh, the marriage supper of the lamb? He wanted to give me his life(sanctifying grace), so, that I might be able to persevere in love. So that the wounds that I had accumulated over the years might be healed and I could come to know love His way. A freely given, total gift, that is always faithful, and gives new life to my soul.
It isn't a question of whether this is true or not it is simply a question of whether we believe. Whether we are ready to let Him love us. When we allow Jesus to breakthrough to who we are interiorly, we find true freedom, true joy, we learn to love in a way that is different than the rest of the world. Not because we are special the offer is for everyone, but, because we cooperate with it, we recieve it with faith. It conquers our wounds and hearts that were once hardened by impurity, pride, and fear are repaired, re-created in Christ's image. We find ourselves in Him and in finding ourselves, we become more fully who we were created to be. He gives us the strength to fully experience emotion, we no longer need to hide the tears from our eyes, in fact, sometimes, when I recieve Him or I am in the silent prayer of adoration, this boy does cry. That is something I was afraid of even incapable of 9 years ago.
This didn't happen overnight, I had done a lot of things to my soul over a long period of time. I was prideful and I really needed to be convinced intellectually that their was truth in this. But Christ's grace brought me to my knees. We hope that by offering you a chance to meet Jesus in the Eucharist and the silence of your soul, praying with your peers, and zealous apostolic teaching, you will find him too. We hope that He will heal your wounds, help you to experience true love both in your mind and in your soul and then in your relationships. Because, when we feed our souls with His grace, our minds become more open to His life giving truth.
Please join us on Thursday evenings, we look forward to sharing this amazing gift with you!