Part Two in the series, My Summer Vacation 2010.
As soon as I threw some clothes on, Juan Diego grabbed my hand and yanked me out of the house. It was around 4:30 am and being summer the sun had just come up, but very few people were up with it. Juan Diego opened my car door and said, “Jump in; we’re driving.”
He then directed me and my car out into the country, away from any of the three area airports I knew about. We passed through streets with strip centers, streets with schools, and streets with housing developments, and then one cornfield after another to increasingly unfamiliar territory. All the while he kept urging me to drive faster.
We finally approached a small worn sign by an open field that read, ‘Ends of the Earth Airport’. Soon after we passed that strange sign I was told to stop the car and get out. I saw no other cars and certainly no airplanes, but I was too sleepy to argue. As I opened my car door Juan Diego appeared right in front of me. I wondered how he had gotten there so fast. Before I could stand up he looked me right in the eyes and said, “How much do you love God?”
I replied, “With all my heart and mind!”
“Then you’re a liar, I see. We’ll have to fix that!” he responded with the force of a bullet through my heart. “There’s only one way I can get you into that plane, confess!”he roared.
“I thought we were in a hurry. Are you actually asking me to confess right here and now?”
“You must always be ready to confess. If you aren’t aware of your transgressions, of the times you disappoint the Lord, when you fail to reflect His image, then how can you ever rise and fly?” he replied with a tinge of compassion in his voice to my great relief. “Start with how you don’t love God with all your heart. If you did, you wouldn’t give Him so little time compared to the time you give your family and friends, your work, and yourself. When given a choice, you rarely choose God. Is that all your heart?”
He then grabbed my hand, which was at the same level as his head and yanked me down to the ground, “Sit!”
I tried to get comfortable as I also tried to remember the times I cringed at my own words or thoughts. Juan Diego was right, I often put God last, and I was aware of all I said and did that probably offended the Lord, I even offended myself with my own thoughts, but either I quickly forgot or didn’t know what to do with the ugliness, or I didn’t have time to fix myself depending, perhaps too much, on God’s tolerance.
“Why do I get so angry with other people Juan? I don’t want to. I see the faults of others and I want to scream at them, instead I back bite them, extending their sins with my own to pollute the world even more.”
“Yes, the humans wear their faults like signs on their backs. It’s so easy to see the corruption of others and nearly impossible to see their own. Perhaps inviting others who know you best to your confession would be a good idea. You could confess each other’s sins, and if you both are willing to repent, I’m sure we would see all us angels smiling.”
“Gosh, I feel so naked telling you all this.”
“Exactly!” Juan Diego looked thrilled. ”That’s what I told you! Remember, you must be naked on this vacation. Come on; keep undressing; only the godly ‘you’ can fly. The rest you must leave behind.”
After another fifteen minutes of my undressing myself from the clothing of self-centeredness, selfishness, lack of trust, judgmentalism and arrogance, I actually felt much lighter, even buoyant.
No sooner had I finished confessing than a priest with a long white beard walked toward me as out of the nearby cornfield. He held an icon of Christ in his hand and asked me to kneel. He then covered my head with his stole and prayed for absolution. Together we said the Lord’s Prayer. I cried uncontrollably. The priest hugged me so warmly that I felt as if it was my father’s hug. Oh, how I long for my father’s hug all these years without him.
The priest turned to Juan Diego who handed him the chalice of pre-sanctified Communion. As the priest was praying I saw a vision of the crucified Christ lying diagonally in front of the chalice! I was awe struck and amazed. I had always known intellectually that Communion was Christ’s blood, but never before had I perceived His slain body offered to me as I did at that moment.
I was ready to fly.