This event happened in 2012, and the following post was published privately on 10/9/2013.
Moments when someone shares a personal story of faith that includes elements is connected to your walk with Christ, are special moments with Christ. Just that happened to me at St. Joseph’s, a Catholic church in Orlando, FL.
Conversion is a lifelong process and after being asked to teach a First Holy Communion class I told Jesus that I couldn’t teach what I don’t practice. So, I decided to try to follow Him more closely through the sacraments. I decided to start an in-town weekly personal spiritual journey. To begin, I decided to go to Mass more often.
One weekday morning I dropped my son off at school. Usually, I return home, but I had been feeling distracted, unable to even pray effectively. That morning I just drove thinking that I needed to find Mass schedules to start my journey. As I drove near St. Joseph’s, I noticed cars pulling into the parking lot. Turning in I discovered 9 a.m. Mass was getting ready to start!
I learned that Mass entrance during the week is through the side entrance of the church. As I walked, I noticed a beautiful pink bougainvillea overhanging the side door, and I wanted a photo to place in my journal to remember the experience. Inside the church, a set of double doors bearing a painting of St. Peter’s in Rome welcomes you inside the church. Mass was in Latin. Which is fine, but I couldn’t follow, so I decided to talk to Jesus. “Jesus, you know I love you.”
Immediately my heart vibrating (that happens to me a lot.) I heard, “Come to Me.” (This happened to me once before. Following deliverance prayers. I fell in love with Christ, and at some point I found myself floating (in spirit, not body) before the crucifix at Sts. Peter and Paul, years ago. Then, I pulled out the nails. All around me all I could see was sin; everything had a layered, deep meaning. Scripture spoke to me. I saw through the eyes of Faith.) I lifted my spirit to before Him on the crucifix. I couldn’t hold the feeling. Again, my heart heard, “Come to Me.” I went and in spirit took out the nails. Anything for my Father, but I was resigned this time. Afraid of the hurt that would follow. My spirit wasn’t in exact harmony. Still, I took out the nails. Love and obedience overshadows fear. I trust in Jesus.
After Mass, I decided to go home to pick up my camera. (I still wanted a picture of the bougainvillea.) Back again at St. Joesph’s I grabbed my camera and headed for the side door. An Asian lady, a little thing, was arranging the flowers by the statue of Our Lady holding Jesus who is holding the globe in his hand. She was rearranging poinsettias while maneuvering a huge cart. Here was a little lady maneuvering a huge cart on wheels, so I offered to help.
“No, I”m okay,”
I followed anyway holding the back of the cart. “I’ll help you,” I said, and I commented on how beautiful the flowers and the bougainvillaea were. I explained that I went home to get my camera to take a picture. I must have shared more, but I can’t remember the conversation. “Have you seen the Stations Garden and Padre Pio’s statue?” she asked. My “no” prompted her to say “follow me.” We went pushing this huge cart with flowers falling off from the bumps in our path to an outdoor Stations of the Cross garden. One that isn’t easily seen from the car. It looks like extra parking from a distance.
Emotion overflowed when I saw Padre standing there. I wanted to run to him. After watching his life story and remembering how much his story helped explain what was happening to me and what path to take, I couldn’t help it. His words, his example led down a path I had already walked partway. Suffering for Christ. That was alien to me; Christ did it for me after I took the nails out at Sts. Peter and Paul. I just loved Jesus; that was all I knew. I didn’t know that others knew to lift up suffering before Padre Pio and St. Therese’s stories. I’m sure I heard it somewhere along the way, but it didn’t click.
I stopped to see Padre’s statue; then I made a round of the Stations. At the Station where Jesus dies on the Cross, my new friend was there working on the flowers. She said, “I have a story to tell you. For fifteen years I suffered from an illness. I couldn’t even converse with others. I wouldn’t have been able to talk to you like this.
“I came to Mass here at noon one day. Father Benedict says noon Mass during the week. Just before Eucharist, I saw a vision of Jesus with Fr. Benedict. Jesus looked just like we see him in pictures, but Fr. Benedict was young.”
I had never met Fr. Benedict so I didn’t know his age.
“And Jesus didn’t have a beard. In the vision, Jesus said to me twice, ‘My faithful servant.'” She said that Fr. Benedict forgot to put the Eucharist back in place, something was amiss in the Mass, but I can’t remember exactly what it was. “I was healed,” she finished. “Since that day, I have been completely fine.”
Not an hour before Jesus had said to me, “Come to Me,” twice during Mass.
A handmade Rosary was in the car. I got it out before I left; I gave it to her and said thank you.