Yesterday I went to a divine mercy mass and adoration in Ealing and as soon as I got there I just started crying.

We all carry pain in our hearts and every now and then like a volcano it erupts in front of Jesus who desires to heal those memories and release the pain which often has it’s fair share of anger too!

I often remind myself of Lazarus who was brought back to life by loving Jesus except that my first reaction is

“I love you but why the bloody hell did you let that happen and where were you and what sort of a God does that?”.

If truth be told I think that we are all a bit like this. We have two sides to us, one is the grateful and mature adult side that understands and trusts Jesus and why he allows us to suffer and the other is the immature childlike side that can’t reconcile love and suffering.

Whatever about you but I’m very aware of the areas of my heart where I still find it hard to suffer and the struggles of evangelisation and bringing others to this God of the cross.

At times it’s not what anyone wants to hear. “Take up your cross”, “offer it up”, “unite your pain to Jesus”, “your suffering has meaning”.

How often do we just want God to wave His magic wand and take it all away?!

Abracadabra be healed and let’s all live happily ever after and never suffer again!!

Anyway, going back to yesterday after my hour of crying and after mass had ended one of the friendly polish priests asked me “are you ok, are you sick?”.

With all my sniffling and red eyes he thought that I had a cold. In times past people have thought I was perhaps stoned because of my bloodshot eyes!

And then the sweetest thing happened. There were two or three ladies there and they all looked at him and said “he’s not sick, he’s crying” and turning to me said “Jesus is healing you, we all have those days!”

I was 24 when I had my first breakdown. I was living in Paris and it was the most terrifying experience of my life. I saw no future, no hope and at the time I didn’t know anything about God and didn’t even know if Jesus and Mary were real.

I was putty in the hands of mental health system that didn’t understand me, didn’t understand God and couldn’t answer the most basic questions of all that plagued me.

“Who am I?

“What is the purpose of my life?”

“Why am I suffering?”

“Is it ok to be Gay?”

“Where and who is God?”

Looking back perhaps I was too smart for my own good. As an actuary I was trained to ask questions and to find answers and while that was all well and good when it came to computers and insurance, it was scary when it was applied to life because nobody seemed to be able to answer it and how can you get healing from people you don’t trust ?

Anyway when the priest realised that I had been crying rather than sick he was super nice and kind and I asked him for confession as I released more of my anger, hatred, fear, pain etc.

He was wonderful and he listened without judging and yet was able to be both encouraging and sensitive at the same time.

It was definitely Jesus who was working through him and he was in no hurry to get rid of me either!

Perhaps what hit me as I spoke to him was that Jesus came into my life when I wasn’t even looking for him!

You see I believed in God, not in Jesus so when Jesus showed up so to speak it was a case of eating a lot of humble pie.

My mum had plagued me about Jesus and I had laughed at her and thought straight was way over the top and now despite my university education and big car I had to face the scary reality that my mum was right and that I’d treated her very badly.

“Jesus is present through the priest” she’d tell me and “is present in the blessed sacrament and without God in your life your career is all a waste!”

Somewhere deep down I knew that she was right about the God part but could I just believe in Jesus because my mum said because to me that seemed silly and besides, nobody every told me anything about him or answered any of the 1000 questions my growing mind had accumulated.

And then my mums prayer got answered and it seems that she had to have a breakdown for me to have a breakthrough.

Seeing her in agony and listening to everybody mocking and laughing at her spiritual life filled me with a holy rage.

I may not have understood my mum or her faith but there is one thing I knew and that was that she wasn’t mad and that spirituality and miracles did exist.

The blindness and smugness of my entire family horrified me and it seemed like I was the only one who was in quest for the truth.

Of course in hindsight it was the truth that found me when Jesus and Mary reached out to me in a vision and pulled me away from hell.

I’ll always remember Jesus telling me “if you pray for your mother and offer your suffering she will not be put back into hospital and I will heal her”.

He kept his promise and despite mum going crazy with worry when she heard what had happened to me, bit by bit Jesus brought healing, peace and acceptance and I guess I saw some of suffering as well deserved as I knew that I hadn’t always treated her well and was at least some if not a lot of the reason behind her having a breakdown in the first place.

Looking back the reality is that my mum and I are very alike and although some the pain and trauma of the past is still healing I can see that Jesus blessed me with the most patient mother in the world I know that the only reason that I have always found it so easy to pray for Our Lady and to call her “mam” is because of all those early childhood and pre-breakdown memories of a most gently, loving, caring mother in the world who loved me, encouraged me and believed in me no matter what!

And so once again I thank God today for the gift of the divine mercy and for the gift of love and even though the pain has been excruciating at times, love somehow has the ability to get through the impossible and bring healing, peace and reconciliation.

What’s my message then today?

It’s to keep on going, to keep on trusting and to keep on believing and to continue to release the pains and traumas of the past and surrendering to God all the things in our lives that He has allowed to happen that go far beyond our understanding.

“Jesus, I trust in you, help my distrust”!

Michael