The recent changes that have come about in my life have compelled me to share about the power of prayer and the Holy Eucharist. Over the last three or four years, my relationship with my parents has been deteriorating to a point where I practically had nothing to talk to them about. This was partly due to my habit of lying all the time and not being able to confide in them. Even for the smallest things, I would drop a little white lie, just to run from the consequences of my actions. My most recent fiasco involved organising an overseas trip with my friends, without having first consulted with my parents. By the time I had brought it up with them, everything had already been booked. Even then my parents took the effort to come to an understanding with me and allowed me to go on the trip. I could feel the pain in their hearts, but I convinced myself that what I was doing was okay.
Three months later, my mom told me about a retreat in Brisbane called School of Evangelisation conducted by AFCM (Anointing Fire Catholic Ministries). She insisted that I attend it. At that point, I thought to myself, “I can do this. It’ll be a quick retreat – a four-day in-and-out mission. Once I get back,I can return to how I was living before.” And so I agreed to go on the retreat.
The first day of the retreat was smooth, just like all the other ones I had been to. The second day the power of the Holy Spirit really began to take shape. During the second day, we were encouraged to make a full confession. At that moment, I thought to myself, “Look, they’ve given us step by step instructions on how to do a full confession, so I might as well go through with it”. Making that confession has been one of the most relieving things I have ever done. I could almost physically feel the weight of sin being lifted off my shoulders. For the first time in my life, I enjoyed the beauty of a true confession. Now I felt free.
On the last day of the retreat, before the final goodbyes, we had Adoration. There I was, kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament. At this point, I was thinking “Yes, the final stretch. Just a little more time and I’m out.” Things were going smoothly when suddenly, I got a message in my head. The message said, “Maybe you should consider apologising to your parents.” I didn’t think this was such a big deal, but the Holy Spirit brought up a past memory to my mind. When I had returned from my overseas trip three months ago, my father had taken me to our prayer room. In front of the altar of Jesus and Mother Mary, my dad got down on his knees and held my feet. He said to me, “My dear son, if I have wronged you in any way, please forgive me.”
I finally understood the true meaning of what this action meant, and when this memory came into my mind, I couldn’t hold back my tears. I could feel the full force of all the prayers my parents had ever said for me over the last four years, as well as the prayers of those interceding for the retreat. During that time in front of the Holy Eucharist, the fog in my mind was cleared and I could see clearly what I needed to do. I heard a message in my head, “Your family is ready to receive you, they still love you.” At this point, I understood that this life of sin was not what I wanted. What I wanted was a true connection with Christ, as well as with my parents Throughout Jesus’ life on earth, He was very prayerful and maintained a strong connection with His Father in heaven. However, when He was crucified on the cross, He bore the weight of all the sins of the world on Himself. During that time, He cried out to His Father, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” (Matthew 27:46). Just as Jesus cried out to the Father, so do our souls cry when we lose our connection to Christ. No matter how much we have convinced ourselves that we are happy with this life of sin, there will always be a yearning from the bottom of our hearts to be closer to God. During Adoration, I was able to see clearly this yearning, and with the grace of God, I was able to pursue that connection.
Anyway, after the retreat, I went home and hugged my parents. I apologised for all the wrongs I had committed against them and begged for their pardon. My parents told me that they had been praying for this moment for a long time. God had now given their son a second chance to come back to them and share in their love. It felt so good for me to be back with my parents. There is so much grace in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. It is rare to get an opportunity to sit before the Eucharist and pray out loud, so take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way to be in the presence of the Lord.
By Emmanuel Joseph, Australia