Saint John Chrysostom, pray for us!

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The testimony I gave today at a memorial for the unborn…

Thank you…I know some of you have heard my conversion story before, but it best relates my relationship with my aborted daughter, so I will try and read it as close to what I wrote here as possible, so I don’t miss anything…

My conversion story is probably not like many conversion stories that you hear, because I converted while I was in college. You see, I was a virgin in high school, and at the time I thought that I was weird.   I only had one serious girlfriend in high school, and she had just had a baby and had given it up for adoption, so I was not quite in the same league as her ex-boyfriends, and I didn’t have a chance to play the confidence game on her that I was somewhat familiar with from movies and stories from my buddies that were so much more “accomplished” sexually than I was.   After graduation, I went off to college in New York.  After being sheltered in my life in a little town of Shelton, Washington, it is hard for me to believe that I boarded that plane to fly to New York at age 17.  Once I got there, I did what I always did, blended right in and made some fast friends.  Providentially, I was given a card on my first day of plebe summer, or what we called “Indoctrination”, and I had to declare what religion I was.  Since I had enough military background, both Mom and Dad were in the Air Force, and I was in a Naval Junior ROTC program in high school, I knew better than to check that I had no religion, because I would miss out on the break that Sunday Service could afford you from the constant badgering of the drill instructors during our first two weeks.  I checked the Roman Catholic box because one of the guys that I most looked up to in high school, as much as an atheist could look up to someone who has faith,  was attending the Military Academy at West Point, and he was Catholic.  I was elected as the freshman class president after our indoctrination period ended, and my name wasn’t even on the ballot.  It was at this point of my achievement of success in the world, that I started my journey to understand who God is and how my faith in him related to my life.  I was never comfortable with the person I was inside, but it seemed that everyone else thought I was something special.  Before beginning my journey to initiation in the Sacramental life of the church, I had completely accepted the lie that we are all broken sexually and there is no hope for us.  So, as far as saving myself for marriage, I had a break between my freshman and sophomore year in college.  The pressures of being freshman class president and over 20 credits a quarter, as well as all the extra-curricular activities that I couldn’t miss out on.  It all had severely affected my ability to keep my grades at an acceptable level, and the academic punishment was to set me back a year.  On returning home to Shelton, I thought I couldn’t continue as a virgin, because I had been in New York and it seemed ridiculous that I was not a “man of the world”.  So, I hooked up with an old friend’s ex-girlfriend that lived in my neighborhood, that I knew had always wanted to hook up with me.  I moved in with an old friend from school that was willing to help me find a job and he was impressed that I was this new “man of the world”, and that I was no longer a virgin and fresh from some amazing experiences from New York.  I finished my year of punishment, or regression, I like to call it becoming more and more broken, and had finally hooked up with a girl who had been living on her own since she was 16,and we made plans to start a life together when I finished school.  (I was not attending church during this time)  My first call home after returning to school, found her back dating a bunch of guys that she had put on hold while we were together, and killed the childish dream that I had, that we would ever get back together.  As for me, back at school, I struggled mightily to get my sex drive back in the bag, only to fail miserably in almost every relationship I had.  Mostly because, I did not understand the true meaning of my sexuality and temptation was just too strong for me to handle alone.

As I began my study of the Catechism and the History of the Catholic Church, with my Chaplain and Pastor, Father Leone, at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, I started to realize, by the grace of God, that there was nothing but truth emanating from the faith that was being proposed to me by the Church.  However, no matter how I may have begun to commit mentally to the truth, my physical commitment was going to take some time for me.  After I had gone on a 6 month deployment on a couple of ships out of Tacoma, Washington, I returned home to Florida this time to visit family, and I met an amazing young woman.   I was invited to escort her, as my girlfriend, to her Senior Prom.  I was working weekends to pay for my miscellaneous expenses and still got some support from Mom, who had moved to Cocoa Beach, so I agreed to make the trip down to escort her to the prom.  Once I got there, she told me that she had made arrangements to make sure her Dad was going to make himself scarce that weekend, so we could have some time alone.  In retrospect, I guess I could have been more vocal about what I was hoping for, but I was around 19 or 20 years old, and my mental commitment to the truth was still not guiding my decisions, and I think we all struggle with that even now, at least I know I do.

It was about a month or so after the prom; I got a call from her, telling me that she was pregnant.  Personally, my emotions were all over the place, and I honestly did not know what I was supposed to think or say, because this was supposed to happen after we were married.  She told me that she was scared and her neighbor had told her that she would take her to the clinic the next day to talk to someone about it.  My thoughts were centered on the fact that my career in the military was probably over, but it didn’t concern me too much, because I did have a sense that God was going to work all things together for good. Now I know from Romans 8:28, We know that all things work for good for those who love God,* who are called according to his purpose.   I discussed the proper next move for me with my sponsor in the church, Mike Dalton.  Who, by the way, is now the only friend I am still in contact with from college, and he said that I need to make sure she knows that I am willing to be there to support her and the baby.  I assured him that she knew that I felt that way, but I was afraid of the decision that she might be convinced to make, by this neighbor friend.  I am pretty sure he took me to the chapel and we prayed, but I remember he took me to the chapel to pray a lot, so I don’t necessarily remember this particular time in prayer specifically.  So, I received a call the next day, or the following week, the timeline is blurry because I spent a lot of time trying to block the memory out of my head.   She said the neighbor had convinced her that she would not have a life if she kept the baby and she needed to just have an abortion and be done with it.  I tried to console her over the phone and tell her that I knew that it was a hard decision for her to make.  She became immediately distant, as if to say, she was trying to put distance between me and her, so that she wouldn’t have to remember what happened.  We lost contact over the next few months as I finished my sophomore year of studies, with passing grades…At least enough to keep me out of more trouble, academically.  I visited her, on Summer Break that year, because I just wanted to see if there was anything that I could do to salvage our relationship, of course.  However, she met with me for the sole purpose of telling me that the abortion experience was a severe darkness that she was sure that she would be dealing with for the rest of her life.  I heard some time later, from my sister, that she did end up getting married and having children and I hope and pray that she does not still struggle with this darkness overshadowing her life.  As for me, I started out praying for the baby that we lost to the abortion and ended up years later, getting some consolation in knowing that the baby has probably been praying for me.  I have been given the baby’s name, but it was only for the purposes of praying with her one time, and the name has not come back.  Even early this morning as I thought about giving this testimony, I could only think of my girlfriend’s name, and it was as if my daughter was telling me to pray for her.  Oh yeah, I was given the consolation of knowing that she is a girl.  Thanks be to God and His infinite mercy, I was able to see His love in the acceptance of the church, even with the knowledge of the tragedy that my personal life had become, the church got me started on the road to complete my healing, from the beginning of my life in denial of God, and sexual brokenness, to a growing wholeness when I rest in Him.

Since we live in a broken world, I hope that my healing and the healing of all of us continues today and for the rest of our lives here on earth, through the power of God, until we are called home to spend eternity with all of God’s children…Especially those that never got to see the world in this life.  You see, I hope to see my baby again and with the grace of God, she will recognize me for the man that the prayers of all the communion of saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary have created me to be in heaven…(This is where I stopped my testimony this afternoon at the memorial!)

Thank you and God bless you!

During our Memorial celebration at Saint Mary Catholic Church today, I cut off my testimony in the middle and added this from Saint John Chrysostom…

Do you not hear the Lord saying: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!

Saint John Chrysostom, pray for us!

He continues here , under the tab Office of Readings, but I heard the Holy Spirit telling me that it was enough, so I stopped there.  Please feel free to leave any comment here.  In addition, I have put the rest of my testimony under the title, “Should we cut out our eyes?” and you can find it there…

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2 thoughts on “Saint John Chrysostom, pray for us!

  1. abey

    Many a Christians & Catholics are no exempt will fall away when tested, especially by deception cause of the lack of revelations . for even when authentic revelations are placed before them they shun it , So why blame God when He says “My people fall ’cause of the lack of knowledge.” Moreover confuse not western Philosophy with Faith.

    • Thanks for adding your comments to my blog…The truth is that we live in a mostly ignorant society that like to put its head in the sand and pretend the evil that exists in the world just doesn’t exist…It is our job to bring the evil into the light and wake people up to the job that we have in front of us…God bless you!

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