A young man walked into my office the other day, clearly under the influence of something, which he validated a bit later in our conversation as methamphetamine. He had been homeless for a while and was seeking a new beginning at the college I work at to get a degree. As he talked, the underlying desire for a new start was very much apparent in his words and life plans, but his mind was inhibiting him from thinking realistically about any of these plans. In addition to sharing these plans, he was also speaking a mile a minute about his views on life, God, his understanding of himself, his understanding of others, his mission, etc.. It was incredibly hard to follow the rapid, fragmented train of thought that he was conveying. He kept coming back to some themes, though, of Egypt, the freemasons, reincarnation and astral bodies, "sunfire", and the Navy. He kept referring to a ring that he said he had received from the freemasons, and it was a sign of his "confirmation" as a templar. He was also seeking shelter for the night, but as we continued to talk, he shared that he was afraid of 1. the "people" out there and 2. going right back to using meth the next day, because he wanted to quit. After consenting to being admitted to the hospital in hopes that he would then be admitted into inpatient rehab, we drove to the emergency room, as it was the only place open that could route him to immediate psychiatric help. As we sat in the emergency room together, his thoughts and words kept coming rapid fire in a jumble that eventually, hard as I tried, I could not follow. As he spoke, I did find some opportunities to ask him questions that he was able to slow down and respond to. Although we couldn't stay on a topic long before he went back into his own world, I found out where he came from and some childhood memories of his. I found out that he was Baptized Catholic, and part of how he ended up where he was. I found out that he never received First Communion, though the reasons behind why were unclear. God and Jesus were in the mix of his jumble of thoughts as I listened, so I kept asking him questions in that vein, trying to understand more about who he in his present state took Jesus to be and his opinion of the Catholic faith. He was speaking about women in his life and disappointments related to them and I spoke briefly with him about Mary and her vital role in my life. I then handed him the Bible I had been carrying for him. He opened it and flipped quickly through it. He looked at me and said, "Wow. This is the first time I've opened a Bible and not felt my soul burn." I told him that seemed like a very good sign. He saw the Rosary on my wrist at that point and I asked him if he wanted it, to which he gladly accepted. When he took it, he suddenly grew quiet. He held it up in front of his face and draped it over his hand and examined it for a while. He then said, "this is perfect," as he kept holding it at different angles, examining it. He examined the Crucifix for a while. While he held it and looked at it, he looked like a little child, full of a kind of giddy excitement as if he had just found buried treasure. In the midst of his silent examination, however, he also would randomly interject some words in a language I didn't know in a rather sharp and menancing tone as he looked at the Rosary and the Crucifix. Whatever in him was cursing the Rosary, it wasn't strong enough to make him let go of it. He then said to me, "they use Mary in exorcisms!" I acknowledged that and I asked him if he would like to learn how to pray it, and the child-like excitement came back and he said "yes, tell me about it. I'm listening." And he put his hands in prayer position. As I prayed the Apostle's Creed, the Our Father, and the first decade of the Rosary, he closed his eyes and listened, head bowed. The parts of the prayers that he remembered from childhood he joined in on. But for that decade, a switch seemed to flip in his demeanor. His body relaxed, his eyes stayed closed, and he didn't interrupt once, which he had been doing with anything else I had tried to say to him that lasted longer than one sentence. There were a few words that he whispered as I prayed, again with a tone of child-like wonder.. among them were, "strength!", and a while later he said, "wisdom!" and "good!" Throughout the rest of our hours together, we prayed two other decades of the Rosary. Eventually, he stopped talking and began to silently flip through the Bible I had given him and point out what words and sentences were standing out to him. He drew a square around some verses in 2 Timothy and then handed me the Bible, pointed to it and said, "I am seeing your mind." This was the passage: "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (2 Timothy 4: 2-5). After I had read aloud, I said to him, "it's interesting this stands out to you. It seems to me like God is speaking also directly to you in this passage." He responded not to me, but to God, as he looked back at the words we had just read. He said, "It's not myths.. It's music..." Indicating that he knew exactly what the Lord was saying to him. Though one could be disheartened at his response, I found it encouraging. I had just witnessed him having true dialogue with the living God, who, as He does, broke through right into the midst of the chaotic sea of this man's mind and soul. Though he didn't accept the words being spoken to him in that moment, he heard them. Furthermore, his argument against the passage and his tone of voice seemed to me to be comparable to a child attempting to argue with his parent why he should get another piece of dessert, knowing full well the answer won't change but still feeling a need to give some kind of feeble pushback. I was further encouraged when he closed the Bible, and hugged it close to his chest, putting his cheek against it. I had written in the cover "the words from here are all you need." He told me as he hugged the Bible, "You're right. This is all I need. I'm going to read this the whole time I'm here." Clearly, he wasn't completely hostile to the truth being presented to him. there was, at some level, an acknowledgment and acceptance that his thoughts and ideas weren't true. After that, a priest from a nearby parish happened to show up at the emergency room. He had decided to stop at the house of some friends of mine, they told him where I was and who I was with, and he decided to come down. We switched spots, as the emergency room allowed only one visitor at a time, and he and the man spoke for a while. After the conversation, he anointed the man and encouraged him in pursuing the truth. Though this man I had met wasn't completely free from the sickness and the war happening in his soul, I am convinced that, through Mary's intercession, Jesus opened a door for him to a path that he can now clearly see. I have a feeling this won't be the last I see of him. Please offer some of your Rosaries for the intention of this man's complete healing and conversion. All praise to Jesus Christ!
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God is Lord of the mind, the heart, the body and the soul, and overcomes all.
I will definitely offer my Rosary this evening for this young man. 🙏❤️
All praise to Jesus Christ! Amen!