Saturday, February 13, 2016

Something Worth Watching

It's not often that I'm really "wowed" by something on the Catholic internet, and when it happens I'm compelled to share. Here is Jay Sardino's absorbing conversion story from a recent episode of The Journey Home.

In some ways it's a familiar tale, and it's even my own story: a young man is raised in a lukewarm Catholic milieu, and is never offered the clear truth and beauty of Christ and his Church.  He embraces the club scene with its exhilarating music, easy women, booze/drugs, while he fashions his career and fitness into an idol.  Then the Lord takes it all away and he faces the ugly emptiness of his own life.

Yet Jay's witness is more compelling than usual.  Why is that?  For one thing, Jay speaks with conviction.  Like St. Paul, this is a serious man, yet he's also a man of depth and warmth.  For another, he exposes the "naked emperor" of contemporary christianity: suffering is not our real enemy, but is often an opportunity of grace.  In fact, it is sin that is our real foe.  Mother Theresa and all of the saints testify that "pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus--a sign that you have come so close to him that he can kiss you."  It is in welcoming this kiss that we become "another Christ, a little Christ".

Jay is also a witness to the truth that we are called to offer ourselves for sinners, just as Christ did.  Jay recognizes that sacrifice is the very heart, the real purpose of the Christian life.  He is captivated by the Divine Mercy and the story of St. Faustina Kowalska.  He hears the call of the Crucified One to Sr. Faustina: "immerse yourself with all the sinners you can, and bring them to me".  This is the perennial call of Jesus, and it is also the call of this street apostolate.  While we walk the streets to be of service to everyone, we especially wait for the sinner who straddles the edge between the abyss and conversion.  We especially need men like Jay, men who have straddled that edge, to go out and be a beacon for lost sinners.  May the Lord do great things through Jay!

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