When one tells their story it’s like snap shots of key moments in life, our blog is about the beauty of Catholicism so I suppose I shall tell some of my moments that shattered my God comfort zone. I’m a dreamer; they started at thirty years of age, not dreaming but what I’d call God dreams. Obviously it took more than visions of the night to bring me into the Church yet they made a deep impact on me.
A story of love misunderstood
When I was in my early twenties as a new Christian I was in deep pain from living such a compromised, immoral life in my teens. Shame and despair overtook me. I was from Portland, Oregon, land of the weird and amoral, and I embraced it in my prodigal years. On my return home I was gripped with how little I loved and honored my Lord; it broke my heart. I self-loathed, to the point of physical illness that lasted a couple years, and yes the demonic was definitely involved, but I had no wisdom in dealing with these things being raised in a nominally evangelical Christian home. And then it happened.
I was lying in bed and God was going to speak, audibly or interiorly I couldn’t say, what I can tell you is I couldn’t stand it. The weight of His voice was like the sound of many rushing waters, yet I couldn’t even hear it. I saw without seeing an angel’s wing and I couldn’t bear it’s glory. It was like God knew what I was saying without speech. I said in my heart, “No, I can’t stand it!” Then it happened.
I heard a woman weeping over my entire body, the deepest wailing, as if her agony for me went into my bones. I saw an image of an ivory Madonna while this was taking place in the vision. I was set free after this encounter, and the power of doubt, despair, and self-hatred was broken. Over the next few years God drew me into a deep intimacy with Him that set the precedence for the next 20 years. I have so much to be thankful for, our God is a mighty deliverer. I had no frame work to understand the woman; I knew the encounter was God but was incapable at the time of understanding the woman, and the ivory Madonna, I simply rationalized it away ascribing it to the mystery of God.
Fast Forward over a decade
My sister has lost her mind. She has done the unthinkable. She has become Catholic. To make things worse she has gone bananas for Mary and she’s going tell me all about it. At the height of our impassioned argument I say,” Jenny what is she, the stone the builders rejected?,” she responds,” Yes, and shes a rock that makes them fall.” I’m so flustered at this point I head for bed; it was one of those late night conversations. My family had been staying at her house. I go down the stairs to bed where my wife Lily is and say,” She’s lost it she has gone Mary crazy!”
No sooner do I fall asleep than I hear the voice of the ivory Madonna calling and this is what I heard,” It was I who wept over your body.” On waking the Holy Spirit was washing all over my body as tears ran down my face, waking my wife to share what had just happened. “It was Mary, it was Mary who wept over me!” While my heart rejoiced, my intellect was baffled.