Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act (Ps 37:4).
It was February of 2017 and I was in the midst of the most difficult spiritual and emotional trial I had ever experienced in my life. There was an event that occurred in previous months that had exacerbated the deep pain I was experiencing — something that opened the can of worms, so to speak. I was a bit uneasy in my job trying to balance home and work, and this event added to my emotional stress. I don’t want to go into the details of these days except to give the underlying cause of it: I didn’t have a father. The above psalm verse spoke to me deep in my heart at this time, so much so that I put it on my computer desktop so that I would read it everyday. It gave me hope that there was peace and healing at the end of this emotional pain I was experiencing.
It may seem strange to say that I didn’t have a father. Everyone has a father, don’t they? And indeed I do too, but there were some very difficult circumstances regarding our relationship. To make a long story short, my father abandoned me. I met him when I was 16. We had 10 years of seeing each other a few times a year, and then, after I had my first child, we had a falling out and he wouldn’t talk to me anymore. By the time I placed this psalm quote on my desktop it had been twenty years since we had spoken. I had sent him many cards throughout the years, and even tried to speak to him on the phone one Christmas. Nothing. I was, however, in contact with my aunt, his only sibling.
For this next section of the story I would like to give a different quote from Sacred Scripture, because it provides the purpose of this testimony:
Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Pt 3:15).
Fast forward to Tuesday of Holy Week of 2017. The date was April 11. I was up early to say my morning prayers. Since it was Holy Week I was trying to pray the Office of Readings every morning. The Letter to the Hebrews spoke of how fathers discipline their children (cf. Heb 12:1-13). The passage from Hebrews quotes the book of Proverbs:
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights (Prov 3:11-12).
I was surely feeling like I was being punished or disciplined, yet I didn’t know why or by whom.
“In whom he delights…” I thought.
“Show me that you delight in me, Lord!” I cried out. This idea of “delight” was intriguing to read, because my spiritual director kept telling me this — that God delights in me — but I didn’t believe it. (nota bene —This is an example of spiritual darkness that can happen to anyone).
My thoughts immediately went to St. Joseph. I thought of how he must have loved Jesus so much, and how he took such good care of Him. I looked for a picture on Google of Joseph with Jesus. I found the one above, and put it on the background for my phone, so that every time I looked at my phone I would see an image of a father’s love for his child. I said a little prayer to St. Joseph: “Please be with me. Pray for me to know that God delights in me.”
I finished my morning preparation, got the kids off to school, and went to work. I began my work day with Mass, still offering this intention and asking St. Joseph to intercede for me. I worked at my computer that morning preparing binders for the Sacred Triduum Masses. At 10:22 a.m., about 4 hours after I had cried out to God, I received an email from my aunt, with subject line, “Your Dad.”
The most important information in the email was, “Your dad would definitely like to speak with you. If you could find it in your heart to call him, I know it would help him very much to hear from you.”
I was stunned. Find it in my heart? I looked at the picture on my phone. “You really came through, St. Joseph! I don’t know what exactly this means, but you really came through!”
Twenty years had passed since I last spoke to my dad, and now he wanted me to call. Amazing… and it happened right after I had cried out to God…during Holy Week. It was truly a miracle.
This miracle was the beginning of a lot of healing that God has done in my heart for the last three years. I was able to see my dad again, and he was able to meet my children. Nevertheless, he was never a father to me, nor a grandfather to my children. But he and I are two souls to whom God wanted to bring His healing grace. God brought my dad a necessary reconciliation towards the end of his life, and He brought me a better and increasing knowledge of Himself as my Heavenly Father who created me, loves me, and delights in me.
He has truly given me the desires of my heart.
My dad died September 9, 2018. Every Holy Week from now on is not only a beautiful reminder of what God has done for all of us, but what He has done personally for me. God is truly a Good, Good Father.