I knew Johns name because a priest had greeted him some days before. John just appeared out of nowhere one day. He attended daily Mass every day and would come half an hour before it like myself to spend time in prayer often accompanied by a rosary.
He was known to shout aloud his prayers with intermittent whispering here and there and bending back and forth in prayer as if at the wailing wall in Jerusalem. During the Liturgy, he almost always cried aloud the Our Father in the presence of everyone. Amused by his presence, I enjoyed his enthusiasm.
John Had Enemies
One day I sat in a cold unlit church half-hour before Divine Liturgy. I felt a warm breeze brush my neck as a man mumbling some words made his way up the aisle. He walked to the top and began at the first station of the Cross, “Jesus is condemned to death”.
As he made his way down the aisle, his prayers became louder as they reached my ears. I heard someone from behind shouting at me from another pew. It was an old lady who, in a scornful manner, said, ”Don’t mind him, he’s crazy, there’s something wrong with him.”.
I was shocked, and as she awaited a response from me, I just silently turned away from her while John likewise did the same. Sometimes silence is a much better punishment than a million words. Right in the presence of Christ, she said this; it made me wonder why anyone bothers going to Church at all with a mind like that.
It turned out she wasn’t the only one as I would learn the very next day. As I prayed before the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, John mysteriously appeared and knelt beside me. Praying in his usual fashion aloud, he said, “I pray for all my enemies, all those who make fun of me and call me mad, I pray for them. Lord have mercy on them, Mother Mary pray for them.”
Suddenly, my vision became blurry as my eyes welled up with the freshest of tears. It was at this point, I realized, John is not as mentally disabled as they assume him to be. He was revealing to me just how disabled that old Lady was, how wounded I was in my anger toward this bitter person while he prayed for her. He demonstrated just how disabled we are.
One day, John disappeared, just like that. Did he die? Where did he go? It’s what Jesus does. Jesus appears to us in many forms, and then he leaves again. His favourite way to come to humanity is through what humanity perceives to be weak and of little significance.
I do believe Christ came to us through John and uses people of this nature to teach us how unChristian we are. People didn’t like John because they felt his presence disturbed their prayer as he shouted so loud. Little did any of them realize that it was Christ Himself in their midst, and they cared more about their peace and prayer time than they did Christ himself. They failed to show him, love.
Oh Lord, give us eyes that we may see.
Did you like this post? Please consider subscribing to hear more from Vatican Mouse.