What a powerful, life changing experience I had at mass this past Friday. It all started when the children from the Catholic School came and sat in front of me. I was deep in prayer when my husband tapped my arm. He said “that boy right there is being really mean to the boy sitting next to him”. He told him to not sit so close to him because he was disgusting and gross and was very aggressive about it. My heart broke and in that brokenness God’s truth became clear. I saw clearly the bullied boy’s brokenness. I saw into his hurt and pain at being shunned and made to think that he had no worth. I watched what was going on and I watched very closely throughout the entire mass. I noticed that the bully was being mean to several boys and it was happening throughout the entire mass. This boy would scan the church to make sure no one was watching him and then he would attack his victims. At first I was annoyed with the bully, even angry. I wanted to yell out in mass, “STOP IT, LEAVE THEM ALONE!!” I wanted to heal the brokenness and speak truth about who they were into their hearts. My anger quickly moved to compassion which allowed me to see the enemy with LOVE. My compassion opened my heart up and I embraced the bully and the bullied, the lion and the lamb. I saw just as clearly the bully’s brokenness and it was even greater than the brokenness of the bullied. You see those who are bullied often, but not always, find God and turn to Him in their pain and suffering but the bully does not turn to God as easily for if they did they would no longer be bullies. This little boy’s brokenness runs deep, right to the core of who he is. I checked with my daughter, who is in this boy’s class, and she told me that this boy is bullied really bad, worse than anyone else. And I’m not sure what this boy’s home life is like as this often plays a factor. However, what the Lord revealed to me that Friday morning went much deeper. This boy does not know who he is. He has no identity, no purpose, and as a result is lost and broken at the core of his being. At that moment it took everything in me not to go over to this boy in the middle of mass and start speaking truth over him. I wanted to pour truth over him like oil was poured over the head of David. I wanted to tell this boy that I see him, that I see what he does and that it is not done in secret. I wanted to tell him that I truly see his brokenness and that even through all his brokenness I can see who he truly is. That he is a beloved child of the Most High, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega, our Father, our Dad. I wanted him to know how much he is loved, how beautiful he is, and how much God wants to heal him and be in relationship with him. I wanted to tell him after I saw him receive communion that I could see Jesus in him and that through his Baptism and the Eucharist Jesus is already living within his soul. I wanted to tell him after I saw him singing and his eyes light up that the good he feels when he sings is Jesus’ goodness within him. I want him to hear these truths over and over again, every moment of his life from all the people in his life, and I want these truths to heal and transform him. This is the desire of God’s loving heart for this little boy and for all of us.
Throughout the entire mass I stared at this young boy. I did not glare or show any kind of disappointment or anger. No my stare was a stare of love and acceptance. A stare that longed to heal this boy’s pain and suffering. I wanted this boy to see me see him. I wanted him to sense that he was fully known and yet still fully accepted and loved, even with all his brokenness and sin. After a while of staring at this boy, he did notice me. I could tell at first he was uncomfortable. And so he should feel uncomfortable with what he was doing. The teachers weren’t doing anything to stop it!! The other children most certainly wouldn’t as they did not want to become his next victim. My husband told me to stop staring but I couldn’t. Someone had to stand up for truth and the Holy Spirit was giving me the knowledge, conviction, courage, and wisdom to do something about it. Several times we stared at each other for what seemed like a long time. As I looked deep into this boy’s soul, as I saw him through God’s eyes, I spoke truth and blessings over him. I offered up my mass, my fasting and my sufferings of the day for him, for I saw clearly that it was not in hating, revenge, or consequences that this boy would be changed but in truth, love, and sacrifice. It is in loving our enemies that they are changed and find Jesus. For we become Jesus to them. When this boy’s eyes met mine I did not look away in my own embarrassment and shame. No I looked deep into his eyes and soul because I recognized my own brokenness in him and I saw Jesus there also. And it is in this combination that greatness is born, where saints are made. It is when our brokenness comes into contact with the Divine that we are healed. I hope and pray that on Friday this little boy’s brokenness came into contact with the Divine and that he will forever be changed by it. If this happens then me standing up for truth that day changed the course of this boy’s future. It will be only one among many events in this boy’s life but without all the ones there cannot be the many. There can be no healing, no purpose, no identity, and no transformation.
I could tell at times something was stirring inside this boy. He knew he had never been seen the way I saw him. We stared at each other for a good 30 seconds or so as he was leaving the church. I poured more blessings over him and asked the Lord to heal his brokenness and to reveal to him who he is and his worth as His child. I sent a couple of smiles his way as he walked by me and back to school. I hope and pray that what happened that Friday morning in mass sticks with this boy. That is pierces his heart and a seed is planted. That it sticks into his heart like a thorn and becomes enfleshed there. I hope what he experienced today will forever change him for the good.
Once all the children left the church I sat praying before the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Spirit told me to write about this in my blog and to send a copy to the boy’s teacher and the principal of the school. It is not enough that I saw through God’s eyes I now have to do something about it. We all do don’t we? This boy needs truth spoken to him!! It makes me so angry that we stay silent. That we are all too afraid and timid to stare at sin and bring it out of the darkness and into the light. If every single person in the church turned and stared at this boy and their look told this boy the truth about who he is (not a look that tells him he is bad and a bully) then he would no longer bully. And his identity would go from broken, bully, bad, sinner, and evil, to beloved child, friend, healed, redeemed, and good. In essence the bully in this boy would die so that something else could be born within him. All bullies within must be crucified so that Jesus can be resurrected in our souls. And it all starts with a look and not a look that is timid, fearful, and unsure but a look that is full of truth, confidence, and boldness. These are the looks that are going to change the world and heal the broken hearted. Is not the mission of Catholic Schools to evangelize? To bring Jesus to the children? If this was happening the way that God wants it to happen there would no longer be bullies or the bullied. Evangelization of Catholic School children needs to be the #1 goal always and this is why it is so very important that the teachers and principals have this vision and are they themselves becoming Jesus. If they are not becoming Jesus themselves they will not be able to give Jesus to these children or speak truth into their lives.
And if you really think about it we are all this little boy aren’t we? Broken, hurting, blind, and lost. We all deal with it in our own unique ways but it’s still there. This is why the worst of sinners and the greatest of saints are really not much different. The only difference is the sinner is still broken and lost and the saint has been put back together with and by LOVE. By JESUS!! It is this LOVE that shines through the Saints and becomes a light and a source of healing for others. So our calling is simple isn’t it? We all need to become saints and be truth and love for our children. We need to become Jesus so that Jesus can love his children through us and heal their brokenness.
What do you do in the face of bullying? In the face of sin?
Do you look at bullies with fear, anger or resentment or do you look at them with mercy, compassion, and love?
Do you recognize your own brokenness in others? Do you recognize Jesus in others?
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