The Dove and Rose - Chapter 5
On my devotion to St. Joan and St. Thérèse
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“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31) (Douay-Rheims)
July 17, 2006, will forever be indelibly branded on my soul. It is a day that goes through the outer domain of my soul to touch the very substance of my being. In other words, it was and remained a most important day.
There is only one other day in my life that is equivalent to this one in nature, meaning it was equally transforming spiritually and yielded equally illuminating effects mystically. “But call to mind the former days, wherein, being illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions” (Heb 10:32) (Douay-Rheims). That other day was October 1, 1984, the Feast Day of St. Thérèse. I was given by the Holy Spirit what St. Thomas might call the first grace or the grace of conversion to the Church. There can be no doubt that it was St. Thérèse who brought about my instant illumination in congruous participation with God.
These two days, spread almost twenty-two years apart and amidst much affliction, form a bi-modal framework between and around which my story is told. By this framework, my journey on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed is lifted on two legs and tilted in the sunlight of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, such that His rays reflect not on my own soul and my own person but on two of His bejeweled flowers in the landscape of the Kingdom of God. These priceless gems are named St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In summary, my story, indeed, the very purpose of my life, is not about me. It is about those two, the Kingdom, the Queen of the Kingdom, and the King, who desires to have it all proclaimed. Thus, my mission is to have anyone who might peer into my soul not see me, for I am nothing, but to see the Kingdom, the Queen, and the jewels sparkling in the light of Him by Whom “they shall not need the light of the lamp, nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall enlighten them, and they shall reign forever.” (Rev 22: 5) (Douay-Rheims).
On July 17, 2006, I stood before a statue of the Virgin Mary in the sanctuary of an old, disbanded seminary in the Pocono Mountains, which was then serving as a retreat house. I had traveled by car from the Chicago area through the entire night the day before to attend a six-day silent retreat by a Catholic priest. During the long trip from the Midwest to the rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania, I prayed fervently to the Mother of God for freedom from a terrible enslavement of body and soul by which I had suffered for at least twenty-five years. During those painful years, I attempted every manner of self-help and all of the recovery methods the scientific world has given us, yet to no avail. It seemed that if any help would be forthcoming, it could only be from God. This recourse, though, could not be to any god. It could only be to Jesus Christ. I did not have much more life left in me, literally speaking. I was dying. I, therefore, had no time for gods. I needed God.
After praying with the priest in the Sacrament of Confession, I walked meditatively into the sanctuary of the old chapel and stopped in front of the Virgin’s statue. As I did so, I was instantly restored to physical, mental, and spiritual health. My awful condition left me as if chains that had previously bound me fell from my hands and feet to the floor.