Be for Me a Waterfall of Graces

Author: testimony

Hamilton, Canada, 
August 6, 1999. Feast of the Transfiguration. For several weeks I had been the guest of my maternal uncle, who had come to Canada in the 1950s.

As a child, he had experienced the hell of forced exile in Kazakhstan. He was sixteen years old when he decided to risk an escape from that “accursed land,” as those, who were forced to live there, called it. The boy made it to the Middle East on foot. There he joined General Anders’ Army and eventually landed in England, from where he emigrated to Canada. He had lived through a nightmare, which he did not care to talk about. His father had died at Katyń. His mother and sister remained in Kazakhstan after his escape. They had been too weak to strike out with him across the scorching steppeland. His older brother died of exhaustion in a Soviet gulag somewhere in Siberia. After the war, my uncle’s mother and sister were able to return to Poland, but he remained in Canada. 
As far as he was concerned, life had treated him abominably. He lost his faith: “I no longer believe in a God who looks on human suffering with such indifference. 
I have managed to get by on my own without Him, and I’ll continue to do so.”

I felt helpless; at the same time, I felt something between wonder and respect for this man who liked to go bowling and play tennis, who took a child’s delight in TV cartoons, and who basked in the beauties of nature, as if no tragedy had ever befallen him in his life.

On the Feast of the Transfiguration, my uncle promised to take me on a trip to Niagara. My stay in Canada was at an end, and this was to be the most beautiful experience yet. In the morning, I decided to go to Mass at the nearby church. Alone. For my uncle adamantly refused, saying he would never set foot in any church.

After Mass, there was an hour-long exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The time seemed to passed with unusual speed. The extraordinary splendor of Jesus throbbing within the frame of the modest-looking monstrance charmed me so completely that I could not tear my eyes away. Yet this was no supernatural vision. Jesus remained hidden from me, just as He did from others who were contemplating His face in that small church in the suburbs of Hamilton. Jesus remained hidden in the Host; and yet He seemed different somehow. 
I was struck both by His tenderness and majesty―a poverty and, at the same
time, a strength that prompted me to 
pray with a presumption bordering on impudence: Jesus, I am going to see Niagara. People call it one of the wonders of the world. But I want you to be my waterfall of graces. Jesus, be my Niagara. Fill me with your Living Water, for you know how much the depths of my poverty cry out for the depths of your grace.

That day Jesus touched me somewhere very, very deep inside. Never before had I experienced moments spent before the Blessed Sacrament so intensely. It was like an affirmation of what I had heard earlier during the Gospel reading about Mount Tabor. This was without doubt my Mount Tabor.

After a while, though in fact a whole hour had passed, the priest took Jesus away from my sight. I felt strange and yet quite well. Only I recalled I had meant to pray from my uncle and forgotten to do this. Managing only to say in my heart, “Remember him, Jesus,” 
I hurried out of the church, for I was supposed to return to my uncle right after Mass. He was waiting impatien-
tly for me.

One could not have hoped for better weather. All the way down, instead of admiring the scenery, I had before my mind’s eye Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Then, at last, I saw that incredible wonder of the world: a wall of water cascading in a great arc, a thunderous roar, foam, and people watching in silent rapture. We took a boat almost to the very bottom of the falls. A few hundred yards before us immense torrents of water were crashing down with a force that would smash to bits anyone who dared to draw nearer. Clouds of spray wreathed and wound over us. Soaked from head to toe, I looked up and began to cry. No one even noticed. Everyone’s face was covered with spray. My tears blended with the drops of that colossal waterfall, which gently touched my eyes and cheeks, as if it were not an element but a great tenderness.

I wept because it suddenly occurred to me that I had been allowed to see two wonders: a wonder of the world and the wonder of our hidden God. And 
I knew that from that day on no wonder of the world would delight me as much as Jesus. I wept because all around me stood people who were experiencing pleasure and fascination, while 
I was laboring under an incomprehensible pain of the heart, which cried out: “Jesus, what have you done to me? You have wounded me, and here I am standing helpless. I see now that if you really poured out on me your immense waterfall of graces, you would smash me to little bits. What have I done, Jesus, in asking you to be a waterfall for me? Why, it is sheer madness!”

The boat turned around. We moved away from the rocks upon which millions of tons of water had been crashing down since time out of mind. I wiped my face, but was unable to utter a word. Fortunately, no one would have heard 
anyway, as Niagara was still dominating the scene with its monotonous roar.

The following day, I was on the plane flying to Poland. I still could not find an argument that would answer the waterfall. I understood there was nothing more beautiful in the world than Jesus in the Eucharist. That white, thin and brittle wafer transformed into the Body of Christ was the world’s greatest wonder. Now I knew this for certain.

And so, God made use of my unbelieving uncle to lift for me the hem of the mystery of faith. Only how to tell my uncle of this?

 

Anna

 

 

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