It was a day in November, in Chittoor retreat center. Under heavy sunshine I burned like a candle. People were participating in the services wholeheartedly. The voice of the priest is heard, ‘Fall on the feet of your spouse and ask pardon for all the sins committed in your life. And pray this kissing those feet.
Those who fell on the feet as well as others were crying louder… ‘Ask pardon from all those whom you caused pain in your life… from those whom you hate… write their names on a piece of paper. Mention the names of all those who caused you pain and write them too. Feel in your mind that you are in their feet… ask pardon from them…’ The strong voice of the priest is heard loud.
My God, this piece of paper would not be sufficient for me. Whom I have caused pain and those who caused me harm… Those who stripped some fruitful years from my life harshly… This life is a piece of paper marked with dots and strikes. Now the procedure is to burn this paper in the fire before the Altar. How beautifully symbolic an action? That heat and soaking of tears provide us with deep consolation unattainable through any confession.
‘There would not be anyone who has never thought of ending life at least once in life. Remember those moments you thought of committing suicide. The blood of Jesus pouring out from Calvary is cleansing you out of all sins…’ says the priest.
Yes, I too have thought of committing suicide once in my life. It was that night in November when I had lost everything. The angel of the Lord caught hold of my hands and made me walk from death to life.
A Friday in November, 2004. I thought of loosing all that I have earned in my life. Hard work of years… wealth… good name… nothing was safe except my life and those of others who live depending on me. All around the voice of calumny… murmur of the enemies… completely unacquainted city… I was all alone in the world.
“Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.” I found refuge in Psalms 22:11-12. These words were true in my life too.
What is life for… I just thought… a time when I find trouble in everything. I should get an answer today itself. If my God loves me, I should know it this day itself. The priest is filled with zeal on the Altar with the Blessed Sacrament. People pray like anything. Suddenly I felt something extra ordinary… a moment of unconsciousness… my eyes are filled with tears. It turned into a loud cry. I couldn’t see those who are around me looking fretfully at me.
I saw a vague figure on the Altar. Then slowly it became clearer… a man whom I knew very well; Jesus of Nazareth, with white dress and a red shawl. He is smiling at me. I have never seen such an innocent smile in my life to this day. He called me to His side. Now… a heart in his hands… a beating heart. He stretched it to me and told me to eat it. Suddenly I moved back. He stretched it again and smiled.
Swiftly I got into consciousness as it is just from a deep sleep. Now all around me was the sound of praises and calls of Hallelujah. Yes, my Lord. You love me; you have already touched me.
Jesus, from then on, I have never been unfaithful to you. I don’t claim that I have never sinned but I had never been far from you. To say, I love you, is not complete. My God, I enjoy you each moment… That day turned my life all upside down. We were in a new world coming back to UK. As we put our life into order with deep prayer, we could see solutions for all our troubles.
Slowly I started studying the Word of God. The Word led me from mere reading to deep insights. Prayer groups big and small started inviting me for reflections on the Word. Mini’s change was tremendous and it really surprised me. She had nothing other than her husband and children before. But renewal changed her life altogether. Now many sisters call her on telephone requesting prayers and advice.
“Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you.” (Is. 43:4-5).
– – – written by Santimon Jacob