Love One Another! 9/2008 → a testimony
Only God has the power and the grace to free us from alcoholism, drug dependence, narcotics addiction, and every other form of demonic enslavement. He accomplishes this through the Holy Sacraments, which he makes available to us in His holy and universal Church.
thirty-five years, without knowing God or what it was to have faith,
I went through life, lying, stealing, and slowly killing myself
with alcohol, pills, and narcotics. I sowed and reaped evil and
was so dishonest with myself that I did not see my sins, faults,
and all the rottenness within me. […] Finally, my wicked
deeds landed me in prison. Paradoxically, those were days of relative
peace, but even there I drank and did drugs. When at last I was
set free, I traded a bottle of vodka in return for the address of
Brother Albert’s Shelter for the Homeless in the neighboring
town. There I discovered a different world — kindness, understanding,
and prayer. Everyone there was like me, but different somehow — richer
in something I did not have, richer in faith.
I was afraid to enter the house chapel, where the inmates were praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy. Considering myself worse than the others, I went into the town, broke into a house and brought back a supply of alcohol. I thought I had done well and saw this as repayment for the hospitality I was receiving at the shelter. Just how badly I was mistaken I learned a few days later, when they came to arrest me. In the police cell I made an examination of conscience, but ended it by attempting to kill myself. I was saved in the nick of time and taken back to shelter for the homeless. There I cursed everyone and myself as well: “You cannot live and you cannot even do yourself in,” I told myself. “What kind of a swine are you, anyway?” A few days later the founder of Brother Albert’s Shelter asked me if I would like to go and see Jesus. I said “yes!” We went to Lichen [site of a famous Marian Shrine in central Poland — ed.]. I had never been there before. While making the Stations of the Cross at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lichen, I heard Jesus talking to me from the tomb: “Believe! I exist and I love you.” At that moment everything I had built my life upon came crashing down around me. I felt empty, dirty, and utterly unwanted. For a long time I sobbed uncontrollably beside Christ’s tomb. I did not want to leave the place, but I had to return to my hometown, for this was just a pilgrimage.
I went on drinking and did many wicked things. Once again I landed in prison as a dangerous reoffender. I received a long, consecutive sentence, but the seed of faith sown in Lichen began to germinate within me. While sitting in my cell, I kept repeating the words I had heard earlier: “Jesus, I trust in you!” At that time there appeared in the press a series of articles in the local press vilifying street people and shelters for the homeless. These homes were presented as a breeding ground for evil and my own example was cited to support this thesis. I understood then that I had done evil and, for the first time in my life, I felt deep sorrow for my deeds. I realized the harm my conduct had done and this prompted me to write a letter. In it, I begged all the homeless people and the founder of Brother Albert’s Shelter to forgive me. The superior did not write to me. Instead he came to see me in prison and brought gifts with him: the Gospels, religious books, and prayer. He agreed to my returning to the shelter, saying: “My son, when they release you from prison, come back to the house. We shall be waiting for you!” My joy knew no bounds, for I had received personal forgiveness from a man whom I had offended.
For health reasons, my prison sentence was shortened and I was set free. The prison gates closed behind me and the first thing I did was to go to the nearest bar, and all my resolve to return to the shelter was reduced to ashes. Again I drank myself into oblivion, for alcoholism is not a disease but a form of enslavement by demonic spirits — legions of demons attacking the person from within in order to bring him to total ruin. Finally, in a dead drunk, I returned to the shelter. I woke up in the corridor next to the chapel. That was when I really wanted to put an end to my life, but my fellow inmates stopped me and took me to the superior. He wanted to see me in the state I was in. When I told him that any help would be wasted on me, he merely greeted me, saying: “My son, welcome to the shelter! What have you done to yourself? What a sight you are!” He embraced me, gave me new set of clothes and some money, and told me to return to the house.
went back sobbing and shouting at the top of my voice: “Why
do I always choose to be bad? Why am I such a swine?” Suddenly
I felt as if Someone had come up and placed his hand on my shoulder.
I heard an inner voice saying: “My brother, why then did I
let you out of prison? Put your soul in order, for if you had no
love within you, you would not be alive now.” I thought I
would go mad with joy. When that joy and sweetness passed, I saw
all my sins, all the baseness and villainy I had committed since
my childhood. An instant later everything flowed into the body of
Jesus Christ — Him whom I had beaten with my sins. He told me
that He loved me and that I would have to change my life.
For two weeks I could neither eat nor sleep. I kept hearing the whispers of evil urging me to drink again, to steal, lie, and distrust Jesus, because He had no use for people like me. “You’ll see, they’ll throw you out of the house. You belong to us — to evil. You haven’t had any of the sacraments!!!” I experienced sudden changes of temperature, suffocation under the weight of my sins, attacks by demonic spirits who did everything in their power to prevent me from changing my life. After two weeks of intense inner struggle, I entered the house chapel and fell on my knees before the image of the Merciful Jesus. “Lord,” I cried, “save me! Be my Lord. I no longer want to drink, to do drugs, steal, or commit evil. I want to be a normal person. Let it always be according to your will, Lord Jesus Christ, never again mine.” After these words I felt a sense of peace and indescribable joy. I felt like shouting out, “Jesus lives!” In this state of euphoria I ran first to the church and then to the superior’s office. I told him everything: what kind of person I had been, and what I had done. All the masks I had cultivated fell to the ground. I told him that I had received none of the sacraments. We wept for joy. In this palpable encounter with God I came to know the boundless depth of His love for us — His people.
After receiving the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion I
felt like a new man. It was then that I understood what it means
to be born again and become a new creation in the Spirit, and not
in the flesh. It was then — during Holy Mass after the intercessory
prayers — that I received the word: thanksgiving for the grace
of conversion as found in The
First Letter of Paul to Timothy (1
Tim 1:12-17). The Lord healed me completely of alcoholism, drug
dependence, narcotics addiction, and every other evil working within
me. He awoke my conscience and gave me a new life.
I threw myself wholeheartedly into work with the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, the sick, and the poor. I began to take part in prayer meetings and pilgrimages, in Charismatic and Living Rosary groups. Above all, I entrusted everything to Divine Mercy. For many years I have been a different person, for Jesus gave my life new meaning. I have made peace with my family and all those whom I had hurt in my life. I live for Jesus and speak about Him at meetings and retreats. It appears I have a gift as a religious painter and I also write my own prayers in verse. I give glory and thanksgiving to God for the wealth of graces and gifts He bestows upon us simply because we exist.
My brothers and sisters, He is also waiting for you! He wants to give you a new life — a life filled with joy. For me he waited thirty-five years. Now I know where to go for help and support in difficult times. The Holy Mass, the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, the Eucharist, prayer (my favorites are the chaplet of Divine Mercy and the rosary) — all these lead to freedom and healing by the grace of the love present in all the tabernacles and altars of the world, the love of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ for us — His people.