I was afraid of God the Father and of Jesus.
And although I had a relationship with the "Blessed Mother", I still turned away from
I turned away from God to evil when I started noticing that girls were soft and
cuddly. I left God partly because I felt "Our Heavenly Father" and Jesus were
unapproachable. I didn't know (then)how to ask Mary "Our Blessed Mother" to help
me control my sexual urges and overcome temptation. It seems strange now, but I
remember, that is how I felt!
So, in not asking God for help my situation worsened. I became angry at God for
what was happening to me.
I felt that God couldn't be very loving or caring if He would put into me such an
overwhelming desire to be with women in an intimate way and then tell me, through
His Church and the Commandments, that I couldn't fulfill my desires. I was angry and
I started to rebel. I sinned often, went to church seldom, and confession, not at all!
Then one Sunday morning, after sleeping all night in the garage, (Which was one of
the hangouts for the neighborhood), I woke up and brushed myself off with my
hands and went to church. One of the ushers stopped me at the door and told me
that I couldn't go in.
I was looking for any excuse to stop going to church and that was it! I was 17 years
old at the time, for the next 18 years I stopped going to church except for weddings
I sank slowly into the depths of sin. I used every drug available, I abused myself and
others through violence. I had sex in any situation that felt good. I stole and became
engrossed with pornography. I lived with women that I wasn't married to. At one
time, I was spending a thousand dollars a month on Cocaine!
When I was 31 years old I was injured at work. This had an immediate effect on my
lifestyle, I couldn't do my job anymore! I had a decision to make, either work in pain
or leave. For 3 years I tried to work, finally I left my job. In March of 1985, I put in for
I didn't know it at the time, because I wasn't under the care of a physician, but I
wasn't only physically disabled, I was having a nervous breakdown!
First, I turned to the people I knew for help.
I gave up my apartment and ended up living with a childhood friend named Douglas.
Doug allowed me in his apartment only at night when he was home. He was Gay and
a heavy marijuana smoker.
Douglas was paranoid and compulsive. He made it clear to me that if I became his
lover he would make things easier for me.
I was cutting my wrists and arms! I would buy a knife and cut my wrist until it bled,
then sit there and smoke a cigarette until the blood flow stopped.
People tell me God doesn't interfere when we try to kill ourselves, but I know
I once bought a carpet knife, the kind with 3 settings; short, medium, and long. I
used all 3 settings once in an attempt to kill myself, but each time the bleeding
stopped! Finally, I gave up and took a cab to "Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center",
emergency room to be sewn up!
Another time I was in an alley next to where I was staying. I was sitting on a stairway
strewn with broken bottles. This particular day I was very depressed. The thought
came to me that if I was to cut into my flesh deep enough the pain would take my
mind off the depression.
The whole thing seems ridiculous now, but then the feelings and emotions were
I sat there with a jagged, dirty, broken piece of a beer bottle and I scrapped the skin
on my left arm, over and over again!
And as I did this there was a war going on for my soul. Unseen forces were trying to
get me to stop. [EPHESIANS 6:12]
I felt as though I was in one of those old cartoons where the "angel", is on one
shoulder and the "devil" is on the other. There was a spiritual tug-of-war going on!
There was a part of me telling me to stop and there was the voice that told me to cut
myself, would make me feel so much better.
Each pass with the jagged piece of glass cut further into my arm.
I was lost in the fascination of butchering my own body. The smell of blood was
When I heard a scream I looked up to see a woman I knew standing in front of me,
terrified by what she saw. That is when I stopped, only then did I realize that what I
was doing was bad and not good!
As a result of my sickness, I started seeing a counselor at Our Lady of Mercy
Medical Center who put me on a medication that helped to keep me from hurting
myself. I was very sick!
A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN SEEMS TO MEAN MANY THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
I suffered a loss of bladder control. I stuttered when I spoke. I couldn't sleep more
than an hour at a time. I had no desire to eat and I couldn't think clearly; in fact, my
thought process was so slow that I couldn't dial a phone without the dial tone
coming back on.
I could not walk without a cane because I had lost my equilibrium.
I was having blackouts (periods when I couldn't remember what happened). And of
course I was hurting myself!
One hot, muggy, August afternoon, I was truly losing my grip on reality. I went out for
a walk. It was aimless. I was 'blacking out' and every now and then I would realize
where I was!
At one point I (came to), on the steps of Holy Rosary Catholic Church. I used to
attend Mass in the old wooden church. This building was new and made of brick.
I went inside. The church was cool and shadowy. The main part of the church was
closed. But off to the side was a small chapel with a Tabernacle. I walked in, looked
up at the ceiling light and asked God to help me. It had been so long since I had
been in a church that I forgot what the Tabernacle was!
"The most important part of this parable is this; While he was still a long way off, his
father saw him coming and was moved with compassion."
"The boy was just a dot on the road! And the father saw him and recognized him!
Can you imagine how intently the old man was watching and waiting and hoping and
praying. From the day his boy left home.
There might have been a hundred people on that road, but the father recognized
his son instantly . . . NO TIME FOR ANGER. . . . NO
TIME FOR PUNISHMENT!
HE RAN TO THE BOY AND THREW HIS ARMS AROUND HIM TENDERLY!
His son begins the apology he's rehearsed all the way home -
BUT THE FATHER DOESN'T EVEN LISTEN!
HE SENDS FOR A ROBE AND A RING ! ! !
That was me, I came to God after all those years of sinning, and ignoring Him. I didn't
ask for Forgiveness, I asked for Help, and received His love & mercy in abundance!
I sat for awhile in the cool shadows of the chapel. When I left and started going to
Doug's place, I had this idea to write a letter to my girlfriend, Patti, to tell her what
was happening to me.
Not one block from the church Satan tempted me, and the Grace was that for the
first time in years I understood that I was being tempted to sin.
A very attractive young woman was walking towards me wearing a skimpy outfit, but
as she came nearer, I chose to look away from her rather than to lust after her in my
mind or in action!
When I returned to Douglas's apartment I went into the bathroom to be alone. I sat
in the tub and wrote the letter to Patti. Several hours later I finished.
When I tried to reread the letter, I found that the first few pages (to my amazement);
were nothing more than chicken scratch! But by the middle of the letter,I started
making sense and by the end of the letter my thoughts were much more lucid and
my writing was understandable. (The next Grace); was when I realized that the
writing of the letter was part of God's healing for me!
On that day I began a habit of praying and asking God what I should do and then
acting on it.
(This process goes through ongoing changes.)
[LUKE 11:9-13] "The answers to prayers; ASK AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU..."
The next day I returned to the Chapel to just sit. I felt safe and secure there. Within
a few days I knew that I had to go back to Mass, but I was afraid. I was afraid for
many reasons. I hadn't been to church except for weddings and funerals for 18
years! My clothes were ragged. I couldn't think clearly enough even to say one "Our
There was a park across the street from the church. I sat there one morning and
watched people going up the steps to the church that I longed to enter, but was
afraid. Just then I saw this old lady coming. She was bent over as she walked,
almost doubled! She used a cane. She looked like a shopping bag lady. She went
right up those steps and into the church!
Then God's Grace came to me! I knew that if she could go into that church then so
could I! And so I did. When I walked into the church I saw that there was no priest by
the altar. It took me several minutes to realize that they were reciting the Rosary.
After the Mass I made a Confession. I spent about one hour with the priest, after all;
I had been sinning non-stop for 17 years!
When I left his office, I felt renewed! The next day, I started going to daily Mass and
receiving Holy Communion.
Then God gave me a tremendous gift by revealing part of His Love for me!
A few days later, during prayer time, before Mass; I was looking at all the knife scars
on my left wrist.
I visualized a hole in the palm of my hand. As I stared at the hole the thought came
to me..."Lord, this looks like your hand, but the wrist is mine...He spoke to my heart;
"Philip, every time you cut your wrist, you cut Mine."
God loved me; was so intimately a part of me, that whenever I hurt myself I was
So God the Father not only was waiting for me to return, but when I did, He
showered me with 'Special Graces & Insights'!
God has given me an additional insight; that being; when He loved me so much that
when I hurt myself, I was still in sin...I hadn't yet repented! I didn't have to be 'good'
first in order for God to love me, He loved me even in my sin! Romans 5:8 "But God
proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us."
Now everything didn't suddenly go right for me! But, with prayer, many things
became bearable, such as life!
Things started going my way. Of course, life still had temptations and hardships, but
I was able, with God's Grace to keep them in perspective.
When I see someone wandering aimlessly through the streets and through life, I
can truly say, "There but for the Grace of God go I."
THE PRODIGAL SON
11 Then he said; "A man had two sons, 12 and the younger son said to the father,
'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.' So the father
divided the property between them. 13 After a few days, the younger son collected
all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his
inheritance on a life of dissipation. 14 When he had freely spent everything, a
severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. 15 So he
hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the
swine. 16 And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but
nobody gave him any. 17 Coming to his senses he thought, 'How many of my
father's hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying
from hunger. 18 I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I
have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called
your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."' 20 So he got up
and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught
sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and
kissed him. 21 His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and
against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.' 22 But his father ordered
his servants, 'Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his
finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let
us celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead, and has come to
life again; he was lost, and has been found.' Then the celebration began.