Grace to you!
You may have heard the conversion story of Fr. Donald Calloway, born in Virginia, and eventually moved with his parents to Southern California when he was a teen. He was an atheist, so engrossed in drugs and violence, which landed him in jail and rehab, over and over again.
The child of a military family, Donald followed his parents to Japan during their assignment there. In Japan, he sought people of his kind; and despite his family noble background, he wouldn’t stop from making terrible choices, including joining a Japanese mafia and eventually becoming a drug runner for them.
Such a choice, of course, would put him on the blacklist of both the Japanese Government and the USA. Finally, he was arrested and sent back to the USA under the care of his parents. By then, the young man, now in his early twenties, had committed all sorts of unimaginable crimes. He had hit bottom.
His crave for drugs was to get high, higher, and higher each moment. He was searching for deeper satisfaction. It’s ingrained in our hearts, the deeper yearning for peace and happiness. Only that many, like Donald, look for satisfaction where it’s far-fetched. Prayers for all in similar situation are needed.
Drugs couldn’t help Donald; nor could his unrestrained immoral practices quench his thirst. As he was searching for a deeper or more enduring “high,” God was also searching for him. One day, when the thought of committing suicide became more intense, he chanced upon a book on Marian Apparitions. Providence at work! It’s like God was inviting him to read. He responded.
As he read the book, his soul began to melt in the love of God’s invitation of intimacy. He was feeling like he had never felt before. Remember, he was an atheist. His heart was melting in the Ocean of Mercy, God’s mercy. That Mercy – Jesus who died on the cross for us - led him to the Confessional.
Guess what? The shackles of guilt and unforgiveness were broken. The yoke of despair and the torments of suicide were overcome by the powerful grace of God’s mercy. He found the peace he was searching for, which drugs and pleasure couldn’t give him. He became a believer. Later, he entered the seminary and became a priest. Today, he is ministering all over the USA, testifying to the power of Divine Mercy.
Such a story is what comes to my mind as I read the conversion story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). I will share my thoughts about him and the nature of conversion tomorrow. Today’s reflection is a prelude to the Zacchaeus unique encounter with Jesus.
I pray that Divine Mercy, the Ocean of Love, Compassion and Grace may overflow within your heart and in your family, bringing wholeness to your loved ones in terrible situations. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.