Hail, Holy Queen: What an AWESOME testimony!


#1

The first time I read this story I felt blown away. It’s so utterly AWESOME and inspiring. It really gave me chills, wondrous chills. Check it out dear brothers and sisters in the Lord! It’s one of the final chapters in Scott Hahn’s “Hail, Holy Queen.”

"I had long since begun to feel at home in the Catholic Church, and I was elated by how enthusiastically Catholics were recieving my conversion testimony wherever I went. Fundamentalists and evangelicals would sometimes attend my lectures to challenge me, but I was eager to take them on. I knew the arguments before they even opened their mouths–I had once espoused them myself–and I knew exactly the right biblical response. I even began to look forward to these challenges, as a marksman looks forward to the next clay pigeon challenge. I was feeling very much the macho apologist.

Flush with so much successes, I found myself one weekend in the neighborhood of my old Protestant seminary, Gordon-Conwell. I decided to go back and spend some time with the professor I’d served as a teaching assistant. He seemed eager to see me and even invited me to stay at his home while I was in town. He had heard, of course, about my entering the Catholic Church, and he was, to put it mildly, dissapointed. He said he was looking forward to discussing the matter at greater length.

I knew that he wanted to challenge me, and I was eager to be challenged.

I arrived, and we greeted each other warmly; but my initial hunch was right. It wasn’t long before my host and wife began to pepper me with all kinds of questions about the Pope, Purgatory, the Eucharist, the Priesthood, Confession . . . All of which was fine by me, because, through a whole day and into the night, I was like an all-star slugger at batting practice, slamming one slow pitch after another into the bleachers.

Then, around midnight, just as I was beginning to look forward to some well-earned shut-eye, my friend said to me: “What about the Assumption?”

I knew what he was implying–that ther eis no scriptural evidence for the Assumption. I was tired, and annoyed the he was bringing up the Assumption at that late hour of the night. But I was also unprepared. I replied, “Well, you can look at Revelation 12 and see that there she was, body and soul in Heaven.”

“That’s nice Scott,” he said. “But give me evidence that anyone in the Church believed that before the sixth century.”

I responded that, in all its history, the Church had never honored a tomb as the final resting place of Mary’s bones.

He pointed out, rightly, that the argument from silence was about as weak an argument as one could offer.

I acknowledged that he was right, but countered that times of persecution rarely yield evidence of doctrine or devotion. Survival and perseverance are the Church’s top priorities.

My hosts were not impressed.

And the macho apologist was beginning to feel the effects of a day’s worth of sporting arguments–and a year’s worth of intellectual pride.

I scrambled to point out, yes, it’s not untill the sixth century that the Assumption makes its debut in our documentary history–but by then, we encounter it as established and developed, with its own feast days, hymns, and literature. When the emperor declared it a universal feast, there was not even a hint of resistance or controversy.

My hosts smiled. “That’s all well and good, Scott. But the fact in that you don’t have anything to account for five centuries of silence, do you?”

Up to this point, our discussion had been amiable. But now I felt it turn somewhat pointed, almost adversarial.

But I had to respond, “No, I can’t think of anything.”

“Can you recommend a boo? Anything at all that I might read?”

I shook my head.

“You don’t have answers from the first five centuries. You don’t have a book I can read–you, who have a book for everything, don’t have a book on the Assumption!” He was savoring the moment, relishing this victory.

I said, “No.”

“Let me remind you, Scott, that this is a dogma, infallibly defined. And you can’t explain to me why there was silence for five centuries?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

It was the closing moment of a dramatic exchange that had gone on for hours, and all my previous triumphs seemed reduced to nothing. I kind of limped up the steps to my guest room bed, feeling like I’d let my mother down.

I sat on the bed, then dropped to my knees and prayed an apology to Jesus. I felt I’d let Him down by letting His mother down. I felt as if I’d run with the ball to the one-yard line, only to fumble short of the goal. I said, “I’m sorry, Lord, for my weakness and failure.” I prayed a Hail Mary. Then I fell, exhausted, to sleep."

continued…


#2

continued…

"They let me sleep in. I woke up at nine, and a plate of scrambled eggs awaited me in the kitchen.

As I sat down and began eating, I noticed that the calendar said Monday, December 8. Something about that day set off an alarm in my memory. Was it a Holy Day? Then I remmebered it was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, my first as a Catholic—and I had almost missed it, staying, as I was, in Protestant territory.

I sheepishly said to my hostess, “Um, today is a Holy Day of obligation. Is there any way I can get to, uh, Mass somewhere close by?”

She said, “Oh, you’re in luck. Saint Paul’s is in our backyard.” She even called to find out their Mass times—but they had just finished their last Mass for the day. So she proceeded to call around ten nearby churches, without finding a single one that could accommodate me before my flight out of tow. Finally she discovered a listing for a Carmelite chapel at Peabody shopping mall, around fifteen miles away.

One more call and she found at that, indeed, the chapel had a noon Mass. There would be just enough time for me to get there, get back to the house, and have my hosts drive me to the airport.

So I got ready for my departure and left for the mall, arriving just a little before noon. I asked directions to the chapel and soon found myself in a crowd of Christmas shoppers making their way down a narrow staircase to the basement. At bottom, I found myself amid a standing room-only congregation, and I took my place in the back.

A bell rang, and an old priest sauntered out. He must have been in his seventies. And I thought, Oh no, this is gonna be a long Mass.

Through the first parts of the Mass, I found myself glancing around frequently at my watch, thinking anxiouslyabout my flight.

**When it came to the homily, though, everything changed. That ancient man stepped up to the pulpit and looked out at us. Surely everyone could see there was a gleam in his eye. He seemed to be speaking directly to me when he said, "We’re celebrating our mother today!"

From there he took off, preaching a firestorm. Billy Graham had nothing on this guy. “If anybody should ask you,” he thundered, " ‘Why do you believe that Mary was concieved without sin?’ what are you gonna tell him?" He paused.

“What are you gonna tell him?” He paused again.

**Then, with a twinkle, he said, "Tell them this: If you could have created your mother and preserved her from original sin, would you? Would you? . . . Of course you would! But could you? No, you couldn’t! But Jesus could and so Jesus did!"

Afterward, I had a hard time concentrating on the Mass, but I surely wasn’tthinking about my flight out of town. I wanted to talk with this priest.

When Mass had ended, the crowd returned to its shopping, and I mad emy way back to the chapel’s small sacristy. “Father, do you have a minute?” I asked.

“No,” he replied without looking up.

I said, “Do you have half a minute?”

Finally, he looked up at me, “What do you want?”

I said, “I’m a grad of Gordon-Conwell, top of my class, but I just converted earlier this year.”

He smiled at me and said, “Gordon-Conwell, up in South Hamilton—I used to teach there. I taught theology.”

I said, “No, I don’t think you understand. It’s an evangelical Protestant seminary.”

He raised an eyebrow. “No, young man, I don’t think you understand. It used to be a Carmelite seminary, and I taught there for decades. . . . When did you graduate?”

“Eighty-two,” I replied. “Top of my class, a stalwart Calvinist. I converted. Now I’m back t ovisit, and it’s really humbling.”

“Ha!” he said. “We give them our seminary; they give us their graduates. Seems like a fair exchange.”

Then he remembered how our conversation had started. “So what’s your question?”

I told him the whole story of the previous day, culminating in the humiliation at midnight. “You were so good in your homily, I was wondering whether you might know a book I can recommend.”

“There’s a good reason why you can’t think of any titles,” he said. “There aren’t any titles in print. There was one, and it went out of print last week.”

I was astonished. “You really know your Marian bibliography, Father.”

He said, “In this case, I should. I wrote the book.”

My jaw dropped. I felt as if I’d entered the Twilight Zone.

“Yes, I wrote it. It’s called “The Assumption of Mary,” and I was just notified last week that it was going out of print . . . But I have two copies.” He reached into a cabinet. “What is this professor’s name?”

I told him.

“And you, you’re married, what’s your wife’s name?”

“Kimberly.”

And he inscribed the books with his name—Father Kilian Healy, O. Carm.—for my wife and for my friends.

Then he left abruptly and left me astonished. I drove back to my friend’s house, marveling at God’s mercy."

continued…


#3

final…

"I pulled up with just enough time to load the car and get to Logan Airport. My former professor couldn’t ride along because he was teaching that afternoon. So we were standing in the driveway saying good-bye.

I said to him, “One last thing. You asked about a book about the assumption of Mary.” I reached into my pocket for Father Healy’s book as, in, thirty seconds, I summarized the episode at the chapel. Breathlessly I explained that this was the only book available, and it had just gone out of print, and I just happened to run into the author at the mall that afternoon.

He was speechless. His wife just laughed as she drove me off to the airport.

As I got on the plane, I felt like a little boy. I pictured Mary patting me on the head and saying, “Don’t worry so much about defending me. Just love me and love my Son, and where you fall short, we’ll make up for what you lack.”

Was that not . . . mind blowing?! :slight_smile:


#4

pretty cool!

I love that story.


#5

Thank you for sharing that.

That may be the best part of the whole book, in my opinion.

(Though, I wonder how Hahn would defend the Assumption these days, given that he’s had more than enough time to plunge into the research concerning the Assumption?)


#6

Pretty cool :slight_smile:


#7

Providence, or what? :smiley:

I thought it was strange that he’d missed the last Mass on a HDoO. Apparently there was a reason.

I’ll have to pick up that book. Is the rest of it as good?


#8

oh the book blew me away, immesnely :smiley: it made me fall into a deep love with our Blessed Mother and Queen. Read it brother (or sister), it is a rich blessing!!!


#9

This is the last chapter in the book, but prior to it he talks of the Assumption. His point for this story, besides inspirational, was to not be so bent on spiritual pride.

It also led him to writing the book :slight_smile:


#10

That is absolutely amazing! Talk about God working in our lives! :smiley: I love our Catholic Faith!!!


#11

Priceless story! Very impressive, how God can just blow His way through our lives whenever He wants to.


#12

amazing!! :smiley:


#13

lol, hey, what’s up Lief :slight_smile:


#14

“…Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!
O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff,
let me see you, let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”
(Song of Songs 2:13-14)

This is the passage I use, when praying the Mystery of the Assumption (Rosary); it has always seemed appropriate “evidence” to the Dogma of the Assumption of Our Lady.

[This is probably in Father Healy’s book, that Dr. Hahn gave to his friend].


#15

One that particularly grabbed me when I was looking into this (I don’t remember if I was a Protestant just entering Catholicism then, or a very new Catholic) was, “Arise, oh Lord, to your resting place, you and the ark of your covenant.” This suggested to risings, one, Christ’s Ascension, and second, that of His Ark! Then I also saw that directly before “the woman” of Rev. 12 is introduced, the verse immediately before chapter 12 says Heaven was opened and the ark revealed. That woman is the ark! Scripture is quite open about that. And she rose to her resting place, this ark, she who “brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.” When one connects the passage in Psalms with all the Marian parallelism in the Ark of the Covenant, the passage calling for the Ark to rise into Heaven with the Lord rather than as the Lord is really fascinating. To me, it quite strongly indicated the Assumption. Which I believe anyway because of Sacred Tradition and of course the dogmas :).


#16

if you get the chance, check out the book, oh man it is really good. :slight_smile: Lots of well made points and evidences.


#17

I think I will. I want to read it sometime.


#18

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