Padre Jozo began by speaking to us of the hand of God that created each of us. He spoke of faith, and the story of the woman who reached out to just touch the hem of Jesus' robe, knowing that touch could heal her. How after she touched His hem, and was cured, He turned to ask, "Who has touched my robe?" She came forward and admitted to Him it was she. And He responded, "Woman, it was your faith that healed you."
Padre said how greater is the hand of God to us today, than it was for her. That since that time, Jesus has died and risen for our salvation. He said the hand of God is present on the altar where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass takes place. The open hand of God is waiting on the altar for us to lay down all our burdens, all our brokeness, to give it to His only begotten Son, Jesus, who sacrificed Himself for each one of us and who gave us the Mass in remembrance of Him. "Do this in memory of Me."
Padre said he wanted each of us to approach the altar, to place our hands on it, and give all of our past, present and future to God. To empty ourselves to God. To pour out on the altar our very selves, knowing the hand of our Creator was there to ease our burden, and bring each of us closer to Him.Then he instructed us to kiss the altar, just as the priest does at the beginning of each Mass. Not with the kiss of Judas, but a kiss of love, fidelity and faithfulness. Kiss the hand of our God, with reverence and respect.
It was a moment!!! As I tearfully approached the altar, and laid my hands on it, I placed all my sins on it and knelt down. I prayed for God's mercy and love. The tears were abundant. I emptied myself into the hands of my God. As I kissed the altar, I felt like a new bride, as if I were given a new soul, a fresh start with God. It was then that I felt as if my soul was as fresh as new fallen snow, and as pure as a star. What a gift from our God! It seemed that as we emptied ourselves to God, He immediatly filled us with the gift of His Holy Spirit.
After this incredible moment in each of our souls, the Mass began. At communion Padre Jozo asked us to take the Lord in our hands, to meditate on holding in our hands the Savior who had created us in His palm. He who had formed each of us, was tenderly caressed in our own palm. Padre went to each person and gently placed the host in our palm. Tearfully I contemplated the God I tenderly held, and thanked Him for all good gifts in my life. Padre then said, "Kiss your God, and consume Him into your very being." And we did. What a powerful moment, what a profound communion with our God!
I was so in awe to be there. So very grateful to have this experience. So glad I responded to Our Lady's call in my heart, for it was because of her that I was there. She brought me to be closer to her beloved Son. I realized this was a once in a lifetime moment. The time for my soul was now. This was a tremendously emotional Mass that is sealed in my heart for eternity. I hope you can see how profound it was for me.
After Mass, we went to dinner and then to the conference room for lecture. Padre Jozo asked each of us,"How did this day affect you?" We each had to respond individually. I told him how hard I prayed the rosary at noon, praying from the deepest part of my soul with tears streaming down my face. I told him how intense the bunker was. I cried as I spoke to him. My emotions ran so very deep. I had my eyes closed when I cried and shared my feelings and was shocked when afterward someone told me I really moved Padre Jozo, that it appeared he was crying as I spoke! To learn I had touched his heart so deeply to bring tears to him, humbled me greatly. What a holy man he is.
He said to me that the entire group would be going to the bunker on Wednesday. And we would all have the opportunity to go to confession also. That this was a good way to begin Lent, as Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. He also said he would share with our group the story of the priests who were martyred there and that he would pray for the strength of the martyrs for me! That humbled me so very much. What a great prayer for my soul, that he would pray for me such strength! Can you beleive it? That totally touched the very deepest part of my soul. Such a gift I never imagined! To tell you all this makes me feel so humble.
Again it took two hours to have each of us respond. Then we were dismissed, and he said that tomorrow we would go one step deeper. I wondered, how we could go any deeper and what does tomorrow hold? And I thanked God for each experience that brought me closer to Him this day....
(End of Part 9)