Did you get the 411 on my bro Fr. Donald? I am not sure if you can house all this but this dude is friggin epic. So if your Jones'n for some more Fr. Donald Calloway, stay tuned. Henna?
Embracing Your Greatness on www.RadioMariaChicago.com is gonna be a joller show today so if you can't tune in at 5pm central time online, then check out either Ustream.tv under "Embracing Your Greatness" or my Youtube channel "ChristinaShawn" where I will be archiving the interview.
Alright enough of the surfer dude lingo. Let's get down to business. If you have not heard of Fr. Donald Calloway, then you are in for a treat. Fr. Donald Calloway grew up in a dysfunctional home, has a history of sex, drugs, delinquency and crime.
His conversion story is one of mercy (all through Mary, Mother of Mercy) is very inspiring. Some of this is so shocking, that it's hard to believe he made it through alive. Born in 1972 to what he calls "hillbilly" parents. Simple people, good people, but young, inexperienced, neither of them Christian.
From the beginning he was shown drinking and womanizing as the way to be a "man". His mother joined the military and so he was dragged from place to place growing up. His third step-father, from whom he get's his last name "Calloway" adopted him. Perhaps the better gift to Fr. Donald than his last name was the gift of baptism, which occurred at an Episcopalian Church. He was ten years old.
He moved with his parents to Southern California, lived in San Diego and San Pedro (I have spoken there! Beautiful cliffs there) and began surfing and smoking weed. He became rebellious, rejected his parents and became "bad". Wine, women and song were his life until his step-father made the announcement that they were moving to Japan.
His rebellion picked up as a retaliation against his parents for moving him away from where he was happy. He resented them for taking away his right to have a permanent place to live and any kind of normalcy. In Japan, the alcohol flowed and he consumed it in volume. He was exposed to heroin and ran away with a friend to a remote part of Japan. He turned to a life of crime to fund his addictions and to keep from starving on the streets. Yet still, it gets worse.
He got involved with the Japanese Mafia and just short of his initiation, which would have also included the severing of part of his finger, he got arrested. He had no way to know that during this time, his mother had experienced a conversion and was talking to a Catholic priest.
Her mother was told she needed to leave Japan and make a place ready for her son. She had to leave her 15 year old son in Japan, not knowing where he was or if he was living or dead. I can imagine, that it was such a consultation to at least have the hope that your efforts would be rewarded. Meanwhile her son, who was arrested and in a Japanese jail, had the opportunity to escape prosecution if he would leave Japan (they basically stamped his passport with orders to never return). So, he agreed thinking "Sweet!".
Upon first seeing his mother and being told the conditions of his release was to undergo rehab, he told his mother he hated her was resolved to get back to his fun in the sun as quickly as possible. His next leg of the journey including snorting and drinking whatever drugs he could get his hands on. He was gone man. He followed the Grateful Dead and his life was about being wasted.
His mother, who was now becoming a Catholic, starting exhibiting changes in her very person that he could not help but notice, although he thought she was joining a cult. The materials she gave him, he says had no effect on him. He tried rehab again, but felt it was an experience that felt more like telling war stories as they tried to out do each others stories.
When he got out, he continued with his life of drugs, crime and glorification of the trinity of "me, myself and I". In fact, he had lost hope and no longer cared whether he lived or died.
Then one day, out of boredom, he picked up a magazine that featured the Apparitions of the Blessed Mother Mary in Medjugorje. He decided to look through the magazine because the stories seemed to be so "out there" and "weird" that he had to just keep reading to see what the heck cult his family was into now. I find it interesting how the Holy Spirit always finds a language we can receive. God used his curiosity and fascination of some "weird" story as well as the intrinsic truths written before him and he was hooked. He consumed the entire book, of course he did, his soul was STARVING to know he mattered, that his life had meaning and purpose.
"That woman, the Virgin Mary, had taken my heart". He says in his cd No turning back from Lighthouse Catholic Media. He asked his mom to talk to a Catholic Priest. She sent him to the chapel on the military base. As he approached the chapel, he was amused to see the name was "Our Lady of Victory". He walked in, long hair and crazy looking and poured out everything to the priest. The priest invited him to stay for Mass. This new convert was shocked to be listened to and welcomed much less invited to pray the next decade of the rosary by a Filipino woman seated in the chapel. She gave him a "necklace" and began praying with these women. He watched the priest come out dressed in his vestments, which to this man looked like "hippie" garb and was blown away but the words, the reverence and the immediate gift of faith that was bestowed upon him.
He was given a Crucifix, a picture of Blessed John Paul II and a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I am not shocked as the crucifix would have dispelled the devil, the sacred heart of Jesus is a healing salve upon our disordered hearts and the image of Blessed Pope John Paul II is simply the confirmation to my mind that Blessed JP2 is one of the greatest intercessors for priests. His pontiff was a huge planting of seeds that we are still seeing a harvest from and will continue to see for quite some time, if not until the end of time. One of the most important things I would like my readers to consider, is that Fr. Donald Calloway still surfs. You do not have to give up being the person you are just because you embrace your faith or become a priest. Grace perfects our nature, it does not re-define our entire being.
It is my contention that Mercy is the predominant characteristic of the love that God has for you and I. That regardless of what we have done or how we allow our actions to define us, we are all loved by God so intimately, that if we just open ourselves a tiny bit, God will speak to us in a language we can receive, in our own way, because each of us are unique, unrepeatable human being. Each of us must recognize that that individuality is part of the dignity of our person and God honors that by coming to each of us in a very individual way as unique and resplendent as only God can be and each one of us are worthy.
Not only does God desire an intimate relationship with you and His mother, Mary, desires nothing more than to bring her son to the world and to invite us to meet Jesus Christ. For those who have mother wounds, Mary is a tender mother who nursed Jesus at her breast and demonstrated how each of us are to live. We are all called to give our yes to God. To receive Him within us, conceive Him in our hearts and bare Him forth into the world through our own hands and feet as we live out our own fiat as she did. Jesus allows us to share His mother's milk, His mother's womb, we are invited to partake in the protection, conversion and healing He desires to give us and Our Lady of Guadlupe's image reveals this truth.
In Veritas Slendor, we learn that Truth is attractive. We do not need to convince a person of truth for it is indestructible, we just need to live it out and to demonstrate it. Do not be afraid to declare the truth, it might just be the most glorious words to ever fall upon a persons ears.
Thank you Mary for your continued intercession. Blessed Pope John Paul II continue to fortify us and make us ready for the huge catch that your nets have wielded. Our Lady of Guadalupe, heal our hearts, protect us and hide us from the enemy within you and form us to be more like your son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.