During one of his regular encounters with his father-confessor, when they would normally talk about God’s caring for our bodies and souls, a young man mentioned to the priest the sad state of a friend of his, who had strayed in the path of sin and who had become an alcoholic. The young man also recalled his own past and perceived how the grace of God had saved him through the repeated spiritual sessions that he had had with his father confessor. He remembered how he used to think that nothing could stop him from the ecstasies of sin and no happiness could be compared with the life of freedom. Thus doing what he willed with no feelings of guilt or remorse. He also remembered how he came to the realisation that no freedom beats that of being a son of God; no ecstasy is greater than the feeling of being with God and no power is compared to that of conquering evil and experiencing chastity.
The priest asked the young man to visit his sinful friend and to talk to him about the love of Christ and the fruit of repentance. The young man felt that he was unworthy of such an undertaking, having repented only recently. He apologised to the priest saying, “How can I speak to my brother of repentance, knowing my weaknesses and sins?”
But the priest reassured him of God’s support and encouraged him saying, “How can we stand idle while Satan is causing a soul to perish under the yoke of sin? If we have experienced God’s love for us, shouldn’t we help others to experience the same?”
The young man finally agreed, asked the priest to pray for him and made his way to his friend’s house, not knowing what to tell him or how to approach the subject. When he knocked on his door, a lady opened it and told him that his friend was not available. He walked away breathing a sigh of relief and saying, “I thank You Lord because You know that I’m not worthy of talking to others about You. You know my sins. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t find him but You know how to find him, how to enter his heart and how to talk to him.”
Upon his return home, his mother told him that the friend he had been seeking had in fact come looking for him. Since no message was left, the young man was worried because that friend never exchanged visits with him before. He went back quickly to his friend’s house and the two finally met.
The young man then started talking to his friend about how God’s love for us was manifested on the cross; how he himself had led a life of sin; how he thought that he was happier than most; and how his soul now cringes at a sinful life; that he then discovered communion with God.
The friend started weeping bitterly and upon our young man’s invitation, the priest went over and listened to the friend’s tearful confession. The priest comforted the friend and filled him with hope in Jesus Christ who forgives all sins and who saves all souls from corruption. After the friend had calmed down, the priest explained to him the tricks that Satan would play and told him that although the battle against evil would be strong, particularly in the first stage, victory would bring significant peace of mind. The friend also promised the priest that he would refrain from any alcohol, since it leads to many sins.
The friend’s tears of happiness with this new beginning were mixed with tears of repentance and feelings of remorse. At night, his longing for alcohol started increasing almost beyond control but he insisted in honouring the promise he had made to the priest and finally went to bed after a significant moral struggle. Suddenly the door to his room opened and he saw giant bottles of wine moving quickly towards him; a voice came from the bottle nearest his head saying, “Get up and drink!”
When he hesitated, the command was repeated. He then said that he had promised his father confessor not to drink. The bottle though repeated several times, “Get up and drink!”
When he insisted on not drinking, the bottle burst and a violently angry ghost emerged and again commanded him to drink. He was steadfast in his refusal and made the sign of the Cross saying, “With God’s grace, I won’t drink!”
Immediately, the ghost screamed and disappeared.
The friend then rose, and savoured the sweetness of triumph in Jesus Christ. He appreciated the power of God, which supports those who repent. He also could not resist contacting his father confessor right away to tell him what had happened. His father confessor encouraged him with God’s words of comfort and hope.
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