Christ raising Lazarus, Caravaggio
IT was the end of a string of six concerts in several small towns on the Canadian prairies. The turnouts were poor, usually less than fifty people. By the sixth concert, I was beginning to feel sorry for myself. As I began to sing that night several years ago, I looked out at the audience. I could’ve sworn that everyone there was over ninety! I thought to myself, "They probably can’t even hear my music! Moreover, are these really the people you want me to evangelize, Lord? What about the youth? And how am I going to feed my family….?" And on and on the whining went, as all the while I kept playing and smiling at the quiet audience.
Afterward, I was supposed to stay the night in the empty rectory. But I was so upset that I packed everything up and started the five hour drive home through the night. I wasn’t two miles out of town when suddenly I felt the Lord’s presence in the seat beside me. I could "see" Him leaning over and looking squarely at me. He spoke with an intensity that to this very day shakes my soul.
Mark—Don’t underestimate the value of ONE soul.
The words were so powerful, so full of love, so intense that I burst into tears. Because suddenly I remembered… there was one younger lady who came up and spoke to me after the concert. She was visibly moved. I spoke with her and tried to answer her questions, but kept packing my gear, sulking, feeling sorry for myself instead of realizing that the one soul Jesus would have descended to earth to die for alone, was standing before me.
So that I would never forget what He said—what He died for—He repeated those words again, in a love which still leaves me in tears, even as I write this:
Don’t underestimate the value of ONE soul.
I repented, and from that day on began to realize that Jesus was no longer fishing with nets, but with hooks… looking now for one soul here, one soul there, before the coming of the Great Storm.
THE HANDS AND FEET OF CHRIST
After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He said to the people standing there:
Untie him and let him go. (John 11:44)
You see, through the Illumination which is coming, Jesus will raise many souls to life. Even now, He is doing so. But you will be needed to untie them and let them go. That is, they will need teaching, the Sacraments, and even deliverance to be totally free (see Exorcism of the Dragon). Whether you are a bishop, priest, religious or layman, Jesus wants you to be ready for the Harvest.
He will never abandon you in this Storm. But He asks you now, with a heart full of sorrow and love, will you help Him find that ONE soul? Will you give Him your Great Yes? Or will you hide your talents? Will you fall asleep in the Garden, or will you remain with Him to watch and pray?
Whether you realize it or not, or whether you believe it or not, the angels and all of Heaven hover above you now, awaiting your answer. For they see the soul whose eternal salvation hangs in the balance, awaiting your "yes"…
You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us. Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel… Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident… See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word. —St. Bernard, Vol. I, Liturgy of the Hours, pg. 345
May all my readers experience a blessed Christmas and the great love of Jesus for each you. For you too are that ONE soul… From the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone of you who has written, supported this apostolate, and sustained me through your prayer. You are always, always, in my heart and prayers.