Bear with me for a bit of a story…
My son’s head wrestling coach is an interesting fella. Tatooed to the extreme, piercings all over, different colored hair each month (or at least differnt colors within the same hairdo) - but a heart of gold from everything I’ve seen. Former drug addict that found Christ in a pretty miraculous way - his story is pretty incredible:
Something along the lines of he went into a church to ask for food when he was “on the streets” where God spoke to him and told him to quit using or he would die, he said if God helped relieve the withdrawl pains (heroin was the problem) that his life was his. It happened and he cleaned up, spent a little time in jail, and has since done a bunch of work with the underprivilaged with his wrestling program. He still takes a bunch of heat for looking the way he does - but he says it’s to better reach the kids (I think there’s a little rebellion still in him, a little bit that like the attention, but I know he’s a good guy at heart - no matter the extreme outward appearance). I might add that this fella isn’t Catholic, and has “his own church” group of sorts that meets at his house once a week - very very independant. I’m guessing he leans toward the Penticostal side of the fence, but I could be wrong.
Now we’ve known him for little more than two years now, been on his team (I help coach a little) for bout a year and a half. I have since come to know about his story and observe him (and come to realize that looks can be deceiving) - and he’s been able to observe me and my son and our Catholic faith.
Somehow, in the last few weeks, we finally had our first “theology” conversation - right in the middle of the state wrestling tournament and with everyone standing around us (trying not to pay attention to what we were saying perhaps:-)). The majority about this conversation was about confession. I brought up John 20 to him and we talked about it at some length…he seemed interested - but not convinced of course. We promised to get together one night and bring all our “stuff” and have a good ol’ theology talk. Week later, I gave him Fr. John Corapi’s and Scott Hahn’s conversion CDs. (I told him he may finid Corapi’s story especially interesting).
We still haven’t had our evening discussion yet - but an interesting thing happened this week. He called me and wanted to know when I was going to mass next - said he wanted to go with me. Soooooo - long story short, my friend is going to go with me to St. Francis de Sales Oratory for a Traditional Solemn High Mass - on Divine Mercy Sunday no less (Benediction and reciting of the chaplet before the Blessed Sacrament are scheduled immediately after mass).
Oh yeah, and one more thing…the Gospel reading for tomorrow is, you guessed it…John 20:19-31. Somehow, I don’t think it is entirely coincidental.
I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the end, but it’s definately going to be interesting tomorrow. Keep my friend especially in your prayers tomorrow! And pray also that the folks at mass don’t get to shocked by my tatooed friend and that Christian charity is shown.
That is all - Peace in Christ!