Today is Good Friday.
”We adore Thee, O Christ and we bless Thee. Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world!”
Part of the opening words of Plinio Correa de Oliveira’s, A Way of the Cross. Plinio is the founder of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property. If you have an opportunity to do so, click on the link and listen, meditate, and experience Plinio’s “Way of the Cross.” It is approximately 47 minutes in length. What is that in terms of sacrifice when one considers all that our Lord experienced during His passion and crucifixion?
If you had said to me this time last year, that I would walk away from a lifestyle of sin and find my way back to Jesus through our Lady and the Church, I would have said, “That is not going to happen!”
Not because I did not want it to happen. The truth of the matter is, the reason I said what I said above is because of the belief that I was beyond the mercy of Jesus — something we seem to see more of in today’s culture or society.
I knew in my heart of hearts that wasn’t true — that I was actually beyond the mercy of Jesus. If Jesus can forgive the thief on the cross who merely asked, ”Remember me when you come into Your kingdom” and the prostitute whom He told to ”…sin no more!”, then my Savior could forgive me as well, as long as I was truly repentant of my sins and receptive to His message of going forth and sinning nor more.
Like so many lapsed and marginalized Catholics sitting on the fence looking in, I couldn’t help thinking that there was no room for a sinner like me at the Lord’s table. One would think with my knowledge and experience with the Catholic Church I should have known better.
That is the power of Satan in today’s world. He either succeeds in getting us to believe that God is no longer relevant or that we are beyond God’s mercy.
I bought into the lie that as long as there is love and I am not hurting anyone and I still believe in God, I could live my life as I was with no repercussion.
A sin is a sin and a wrong is wrong.
Fornication outside of the sacrament of marriage, which means marriage between a man and a woman, contrary to what the other side would have us believe, with a divorced individual (male or female) is adultery. And according to Jesus and scripture, adultery is a sin, among others; a mortal sin. I was guilty of a great number of sins, including adultery since the demise of marriage in 1996.
Then Holy Week 2017 happened. It was then that I heard a voice interiorly say to me, “Enough! It is time for you to embrace chastity, turn from sin and return to me through my Mother and the Church.” I immediately responded “Yes” to Jesus’ invitation to live chastely and to change my ways.
First, the invitation to stop sinning and live chastely. This meant changing the relationship I was in; a same-sex relationship. To go from living as partners to brothers or leaving the relationship altogether. How I would proceed would be determined by his reaction and the counsel I received from the Church. After a few days of reflection and prayer, I informed my former partner that we can no longer live as we have been and if we want to continue this arrangement we will have to live as brothers.
Second, I was instructed by that same interior voice to teach His children about love and prayer with an emphasis on prayer. This is when I experienced the vision or dream about the football field.
Third, I was instructed to find a local Catholic Church, speak to a priest, go to confession, register, and return to a life of prayer. I did exactly that. Since that time my faith has grown exponentially. I am part of two parish communities, Saint Patrick in Sand Springs, Oklahoma and Christ The King in Tulsa. You might as well throw in St. Thomas More, which is located down the street from my home which I attend occasionally on Saturday and Wednesday mornings.
My prayer life has grown to include a daily Rosary and Chaplet of Mercy in the morning as well as Stations of the Cross and Chaplet of Mercy at the 3:00 hour. I am happy to note that I have completed my First Five Saturday Devotion as requested by Our Lady of Fatima and will for the first time, beginning today, participate in the Novena to the Divine Mercy leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday on April 8th.
I attend confession regularly, and Mass weekly including Holy Days of Obligation. When I can I visit the Blessed Sacrament and have replaced certain images of my former lifestyle with sacred images such as the image of The Divine Mercy, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Rosary and Crucifix.
Because I have been unemployed and devoid of any substantial income since 2016 which means I am unable to tithe into the collection basket on Sunday’s, I donate my time maintaining the St. Patrick Church Website in addition to blogging and podcasting. My prayer is that I will eventually obtain contract work through Carlos Michael Communications which will include speaking at parish missions and retreats on coming home to the Catholic Church, prayer, the message of Our Lady of Fatima and The Divine Mercy.
Who says you cannot come home or that we are beyond Christ’s mercy? Anyone who says different is not being truthful. That for me is the essence of our Lord’s passion today, so a sinner like me can come home (like the prodigal son) and find redemption, forgiveness, and love.
Thank you, Jesus!