Thursday, March 25, 2010

Prodigal Son

Today, I follow the example of the readings from two Sundays ago in Lent. Mainly the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). I have been around the block and back again in the past few months as you can tell by my lack of posts. But our good and gracious Lord has worked so stupendous miracles in my life. The transformation began at our Diocesan Youth Conference. I take pride that my diocese is neither liberal or conservative but just plain old Catholic! We take the Church's teaching at face value and apply it to our lives and our liturgy. On the Saturday night of this conference, we had a reconciliation service where I was choosen to read the Parable of the Lost Sheep which proceeds the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:1-7. As I read this before thousands of teens of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, I felt the Lord begin to work in my heart, and for the first time in a long time, I let him. After I finished reading, I was privilaged to go to confession with our very wise and holy Bishop Munech. His words in the confessional gave me comfort and peace in knowing the will of the Lord. That night, I picked up the Rosary for the first time in months as well. The Blessed Mother was slowly but surely reintroducing her Son into my life. The next morning, I was in the Sunday Morning prayer. I portrayed a firefighter who at the end of the "skit" carried a crucifix up the center aisle of the auditorium. I began to cry halfway up the aisle because I felt the Lord reminding me in a rather harsh, but loving way, my call to the priesthood. A holy seminarian commented later that Jesus was "slapping you in the face to wake you up!" He was right.
In the ensuing week I took a real hard look at my life, not only in the past few months, but the whole of my life in Christ that began in sixth grade. I am now a highschool freshman. I saw how I have matured over the past years. I went from my original fire and love to doing things for attention. Many people saw my cry for attention as a bad thing, but now I see it as the loving work of Christ in my life. In this period from 7-8th grade, I became very knowladgeable about our faith and why we did certain things as Catholics. This has equipped me to defend my faith. Now with this knowladge, I proceed forward in faith! I do things with love now. I pray my Rosary attentively instead of rattling off the prayers just to get it over with. This has been in large part due to St. Louis de Montfort and his two great books, "True Devotion to Mary" and "The Secret of the Rosary". Everyday at 3 o'clock, I stop and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Instead of letting the CD pray for me, I know contemplate on Christ's passion and the love that he put forth in it. This has also brought me deeper in knowladge than any books that I have read.
But back to that week. I began dropping programs on television, the radio, and the internet that I saw as harmful to my faith. In the afternoons when I got home from school, I would watch EWTN or just nothing at all instead of "Scrubs" or "Grey's Anatonmy". These shows are not bad shows in themselves, but I recognized at the time that my faith was not strong enough to handle these programs. I also cut down my internet time. In addition to that, I created a new Facebook account for myself, only adding friends that I knew only post positive messages, and nothing hurtful or contrary to my morals. I made it a point to ask to change the radio station to our local K-Love or EWTN radio station when I was in the car. I am a musical person and take the messages put forth in songs deep into my heart and I found that certain stations were harming my faith.
The weekend after our Youth Conference was the annual "Abbey Youth Festival" in St. Benedict, LA at St. Joseph's Benedictine Abbey. This was the weeked that the story of the Prodigal Son was read for mass. That night at Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I began crying in my heart. Not physically through my eyes, but in my heart. I realized that that "conversion moment" that I always hoped and prayed for doesn't happen. God works silently and gradually in our lives inviting us back to his loving embrace at a pace that our faith can handle. Since that weekend, I have been attending daily mass as often as I can and recieveing communion. This has been my true strength. I have also been wearing our Mother's Holy Rosary at my side. All fifteen decades of it! This was inspired by St. Louis de Montfort's story of a pious king who wanted everyone in his kingdom to pray the Holy Rosary. In order to this, the king wore a large and beautiful Rosary on his belt. This encouraged many of his subjects to pray the Holy Rosary devoutly and with humility, but sadly, the king never actually prayed it himself. One day, the king found himself deathly ill. His wife called upon the Royal Court to pray the Holy Rosary for him. In a dream, he saw himself before the judgement seat of God. There were demons all around him accusing him of all the sins he had ever committed. Just as the just Lord was about the sentance him to enternity in the fires of hell, the Blessed Mother appeared. She called for a set of scales, and upon recieveing them, she placed the kings sins on one side, and his large Rosary, those that were prayed because of his influence, and all the souls he had saved. Upon this, the side with the Rosaries greatly outweighed the side of his sins. The Blessed Mother looked at the king and told him when he got back to Earth to preach her Rosary and pray in devoutly everyday. When he woke from his coma, he preached the Rosary and spread devotion far beyond his own kingdom. He also prayed all fifteen mysteries everyday for the rest of his life.
This story made me say, "Wow! If I can save souls by just wearing a Rosary, imagine what I could do wearing it and praying it!" This began my journey with our Blessed Mother.
I am now returning to my blogging hobby becase I find great support from members of the Catholic Blogging Community and prayful support from them as well. Please continue your prayers for this sinful and lowly servant of the Lord, and I will continue mine for you.

Pax Christi!
Jude Graham

2 comments:

Teresa said...

This is so good. I'll pray for you!

The Young Catholic said...

We missed you !