The boy is lost. Its been 4 years since he left home hastily at 16. He has spent most of those years breaking himself down on the inside while puffing himself up on the outside. He is drowning in the accumulation of his consequences. Too dazed to ask for help, he storms out of his makeshift rental unit and tells his girlfriend, he’s going to kill himself.
The girl, a fragile soul herself, saves his life. She calls the only people she knows that love him enough to drop everything in that moment. She sends a message to his parents. Immediately, the Dad drives to where they live and searches for him. Periodically he connects with his son through a text message but the lost soul is unable to decipher the loving words. To him, its all lies and manipulation. His life has become so destructive, it would be best to end it. In fact, he has concluded that it would be best if he was not born at all.
The Dad has one final strategy. He parks the car. Puts down his phone. Closes his eyes and calls on the powers of the Blessed Mother and Saint Michael to cast out the demons in his son. A fervent string of powerful words blasts out of the father’s mouth. Among his words of prayer, he intermittently grasps for air to sustain the sobbing cries.
Suddenly, he gets a new text message from his son. The boy has decided to direct his self-loathing disgust and anger towards his father, mother and girlfriend. He furiously explodes with an endless attack of violent and profane words that would sadden any parent. But the Dad is not saddened. He is overjoyed. He understands that the evil one is losing. Satan has lost his grip momentarily. Rather than harming himself, the boy tries to harm others. Since the evil one can no longer tempt the boy to destroy himself, he gets him to attack others. Thank you Blessed Mother!
The boy survives this night. A few days pass and the boy still won’t talk with his parents. They can’t reach him or convince him to move back home. They can’t get him to acknowledge that he is loved. The boy continues in despair and the inevitable self-destructive behaviour is bound to re-emerge.
The Dad has no choice but to get the law involved. He gets a court order for the police to arrest the boy and take him to a psychiatric hospital for assessment. The father knows this act will only feed into his son’s evil delusions about his parents, but what choice does he have? He fears the next message from the girlfriend will be, “your son is dead”.
Before handing the court order to the police, the Dad tries one last attempt. He contacts the boy’s grandfather. The elderly man is noticeably weak and can barely walk. He struggles to get his words painfully out of his mouth. Sometimes his speech is inarticulate among the grunts of pain form his mild Parkinson’s and worn out knees. The father picks up the grandfather and heads down the highway.
The Dad drives to the boy’s rental unit and rings the doorbell. The boy answers with a self-righteous smug look that still can’t hide the depths of pain inside. He shakes his head “no”. He is not coming. The grandfather hands over his cane and feebly steps into the house. He holds out his arms. Seconds, more like minutes tick by with no one saying a word. Then it happened. The power of weakness!
The boy raises his bruised arms and hugs his grandfather. In that moment, the weakness of his grandfather passed into his grandson. The boy’s pride drained out of his body and humility filled every cell. The boy lets go of the embrace, takes one step back and shakes his head “yes”. He agrees to leave his world of despair and enter a world of joy and hope.
Christianity is a contradiction. From the reverse logic of the Beatitudes to the unfathomable “love thy enemy”. The contradiction that continues to convert souls everyday is the mysterious truth that “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Just as the glorious resurrection of Christ is made manifest by His pathetic crucifixion, Our Lord teaches us that it is not the powerful warrior that rules but rather the suffering servant.
The father could have given the court order to the police and the powers of the land could have forced his son into treatment. Instead, his weapon of choice was the weakest he could find. An old man with an unconditional love for his grandson. He didn’t rely on human power to control the situation. He had faith in the infinite power of God. He called on the Heavenly Father to soften his son’s heart thereby allowing the boy to choose, on his own, to enter the sheepfold.
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