For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12
I am a prayer warrior, descended from a long line of Polish prayer warriors. Poland was conquered by 3 different armies. Polish soldiers fought back from devastating defeats by the Mongols in the 13th century, the Ottomans in the 14th century and Nazis and Communists in World War II.
As a devout, Catholic nation, they triumphed over their enemies through the miraculous power of the Holy Rosary, the Blessed Eucharist and spiritually inspired acts of amazing courage. All the men in my family were powerful prayer warriors. They prayed the rosary and attended Mass as often as possible. My grandfather fought in World War I. My dad and two uncles fought in World War II.
Uncle Jerry, prayed the rosary daily and attended Mass when possible. He was awarded the Bronze Star with 3 battle clusters. His battalion, the 42nd Rainbow Division, received the Presidential Unit Citation during the Battle of the Bulge in Hatten France.
532 men and officers were killed, wounded or captured out of 805 men. It was 52 hours of brutal hand-to-hand fighting against impossible odds.
Uncle Jerry was forced to take command because he was the only officer still standing. He killed Nazis without mercy. He courageously led the survivors to safety. His motto was, “Duty, honor and country!”
My dad was a bombardier in a B26 bomber, encased in a bubble of Plexiglas in the nose of the plane. After a bombing mission over Germany, his plane crashed in France. The last thing he saw before impact was the earth rushing up to meet him. Death was imminent. His life flashed before his eyes, then lights out.
It was a miracle he survived the horrific crash. French farmers discovered his unconscious body 500 yards away, tangled in some bushes with a shattered pelvis and leg. I believe his guardian angel carried him to safety.
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up. Psalm 91:11-12
My mom was an Air Force nurse, a true healer in a kaki skirt. She injected, stitched up, bandaged and consoled the US soldiers. Without prejudice, she treated the injured German soldiers and civilians. She had a real heart for ministering to the sick, injured and dying. My dad fell in love with her because she was a beautiful southern bell who was compassionate and dearly loved children.
My parents met and were married at the Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas in 1946. As credo Catholics, both were virgins. To them, sex was truly a sacrament. They both came from big families. They wanted to start a family immediately. My mom loved babies. They wasted no time. My older sister arrived in 1947.
I was born 2 years later in 1949, 3 months premature. It was a miracle I survived, weighing only 3 lbs and 8 ounces.
God had a special plan for me, to serve Him all the days of my life. Premature expulsion from the womb kick-started my brain into hyperactivity. There was no respite from extreme stimulus. Trapped like a new chick in a hot, glass enclosed incubator, the fluorescent lights burned my retinas, 24-7, making sleep impossible.
My mental activity was incessant. Brain cell connections increased rapidly. My mental capacity expanded at a startling, exponential rate.
Eventually, I made my escape from the hospital with a little help from my friends. Mom had to breast feed me every 4 hours. She sacrificed months of sleep just to keep me alive. It was tough on her with only my grandma to help. My dad was still overseas on active duty.
Premature babies face unique challenges. I really suffered as a child. During her pregnancy, mom was under severe stress. She needed extra stress hormones to function daily. While in the womb, my adrenals increased to an abnormal size to provide these hormones. When I was born, over-sized adrenal glands resulted in extreme hyperactivity and a severely compromised immune system. I was sick all the time.
My mom was a sugar addict, a true sugar-aholic. I was addicted to sugar from the womb. As I grew, I consumed vast quantities of candy, virtually every waking moment. Hypoglycemia caused wild fluctuations in my blood sugar. My brain experienced astounding, abnormal activity.
Around 5 years old, my parents noticed frightening paranormal abilities. Some would say it was due to the severe hypoglycemia, but I remember Angels and demons waging a war for my soul in my bedroom at night.
Poltergeist activity ripped the fabric of our family reality. My parents were terrified, frantic to find a cure for these constant demonic attacks.
My screams of terror increased as closet doors open and closed spontaneously. Demonic red eyes glowed in the dark. Strange voices demanded my obedience, my subservience. Monsters haunted my dreams. Supernatural tremors rattled my bed.
As a sleep walker, I witnessed visions of massive destruction, ripped and torn bodies, strange and frightening worlds. Horrific nightmares filled with grotesque creatures plagued my dreams.
My parents led tortured lives. Everyone in house feared the night, the onslaught of the terrible darkness. Who or what could stop the demonic attacks on their only son?
Finally, one desperate night I screamed out, “God save me!” The demonic attacks ended instantly.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13
God intervened and saved my soul. Jesus paid the price for my salvation. He miraculously delivered me from the forces of evil. Total service and dedication to Jesus and the Blessed Mother was my mission, but I was ignorant.
I attended Sacred Heart Elementary School in Ocean Beach, the Land Of OB, similar to the Land of OZ without the wizard behind the curtain.
Hypoglycemia sabotaged my ability to study. ADD plagued my footsteps. I was a poor student, embarrassed by my substandard report card filled with Cs, Ds and Fs. My dad took my poor performance personally. He was a genius. How could his son be such a rank failure.
The financial pressures of supporting a family, working full time and attending college at night, along with the residual pain from his war injuries increased his frustration with his only son.
Excessive amounts of alcohol, just to relax so he could sleep, transformed indifference into anger. Soon, drunken stupors resulted in harsh words and horrific indictments for the slightest infraction.
Dad berated and belittled me at every opportunity. My self-image and confidence plummeted. I hated who I was and how I looked. My self-hatred reflected back on my dad. He began to subconsciously hate me even more.
I was subconsciously devastated. I wanted to trust in my dad, feel optimistic and be loyal to him but his actions caused me to fear rejection and hate the emotional outbursts.
I desperately wanted to live in a safe, secure environment where I experienced unconditional love and acceptance, but that was not my reality.
I denied the abuse, repressed my emotions of anger and projected levels of irrational optimism. I took unnecessary risks that frightened my few friends and terrified my parents. I prayed for death or at the very least that I could run away from home and never return.
To escape the emotional abuse, I had a strong fantasy life, filled with imaginary friends no one else could see. Only ME!
I loved reading comic books, fantasizing I was a Super Hero with big muscles who saved humanity at every opportunity. Soon I was reading books from cover to cover. I had a voracious appetite for knowledge.
Books were my passion. The library became my hiding place, my secret domain. My library card was the golden ticket to the knowledge of the ages. My memory was uncanny.
I loved stories about Heroes and underdogs who emerged from impossible situations victorious over the forces of evil. Fictional characters were my only true friends.
School was boring. Few kids could relate to a social retard. I was the antithesis of the handsome, great athlete society admired and honored. I was woefully uncoordinated. With a weak immune system I was sick most of the time, catching every cold and flu that invaded our school or family. Life was miserable.
I rarely escaped the abusive attacks of the class bullies. I hated life and the other mean kids. I felt like a victim, abandoned, betrayed, and disillusioned. I had lost my faith in others and my feelings of unbridled optimism. I felt the emotional pain deeply.
Around the age 12, the hormones kicked in and all the other kids began to grow in size and stature. I remained a small weakling.
Thank God there was a midget in my class. Without his presence, I would have been the smallest kid. His unfortunate fate in life was the butt of all jokes and unwilling victim of childish pranks.
The most cruel kids were repulsed by my very appearance. They told me in no uncertain terms that I was the model for Alfred Newman in Mad Comics and the spitting image of Mister Potato Head.
I had few friends. Most considered me frighteningly ODD. Class bullies said all manner of hurtful things. I was Polish, subject to endless Pollock jokes.
To escape the persecution, I secretly escaped from the playground at lunch. I wandered the deserted, pristine, sun-baked beaches and cliffs of Ocean Beach. The powerful waves, radiant blue sky, soaring sea gulls and warm sand, comforted my troubled spirit.
Thankfully, my parents realized the importance of a Catholic education. They paid my tuition at Sacred Heart Elementary School. We were required to go to Mass every morning to receive Holy Communion.
Praying the rosary and consuming the Holy Eucharist, the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, gave me the courage to carry on. I loved Jesus with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.
Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27
Unfortunately, I was plagued by thoughts of suicide. Self-loathing and feelings of inferiority tortured my reality. The radical fluctuations in my blood sugar created wild extremes, feelings of elation, exhilaration and dark, bone-numbing depression.
My dad was a mechanical engineering genius. I inherited his love for cameras, gadgets and watches. One Christmas a Timex watch appeared under the tree with my name on it.
This was a big deal. We were poor. Awesome Christmas gifts were few and far between.
At school lunch break the next day, my classmates went to the beach to play the game “Beat the slow poke with a belt”.
A former professional San Diego Charger football player was our Coach. He commanded us to form a circle. He gave his black belt to a boy. Then he tapped a child on the shoulder. “Run,” he yelled. “If you don’t make it back to your position before the beater catches you, he can whip you until you return to your spot.”
Of course the Coach was immediately fired when the nuns discovered this perverse form of exercise.
When it was my turn, I ran like the hounds of hell were on my heels. I wanted to avoid the extreme physical pain of a belt whipping. As I raced around the circle, my precious watch fell out of my pocket into the deep sand. Luckily, I arrived home, one step ahead of the belt.
Upon reaching safety, I checked my pocket. My watch was missing in action. With utter horror I realized my precious Christmas gift was buried in the endless grains of sand. I was devastated at my loss. I cried bitter tears.
On the way home I stopped by the Church. I walked up to the Communion rail, knelt down and prayed fervently to God. “Dear God, if You allow me to find my watch, I will dedicate my life to serving You.”
I believed God would not fail me. I raced home, grabbed my rake and ran back to the beach. After fifteen minutes of raking sand, my beloved watch suddenly appeared caught in the tines.
I was overjoyed. “Thank You God. I knew you would not forsake me. I am Your servant forever.”
Life was good. I loved my watch. God and I were best buds.
Everything was going great, until another kid told me about masturbation. After his description of the act and the pleasurable consequences I was astounded. Wow, really,” I said in stark surprise.
“Yeah,” he said. “Here is how you do it!”
“Great balls of fire”, I said, anticipating putting his instructions to the test. That night I drew a hot bath. I followed his explicit instructions to a T.
The orgasm was beyond my expectations. I was amazed, astounded at the pleasurable sensations. My parents wondered about my new, daily passion for cleanliness.
However, I did feel a little guilty. I was not sure how big a sin masturbation was. While I was at confession I asked the priest.
In no uncertain terms he told me it was a mortal sin. Unfortunately, despite his warnings and admonition, I quickly became addicted to this secret form of self-gratification.
No matter how often I confessed this sin, I just could not stop myself. The pleasure was too great and so addicting. Taking a shower or bath was filled with this guilty pleasure but perpetuated a moral dread.
I knew full well I lacked the self-control to truly repent and turn away from this sin of masturbation. I felt God’s heavy hand of imminent judgment was hanging by a thread above my head like the Sword of Damocles.
Even though I feared God’s judgment, masturbation was too enjoyable. Often, I checked my palms hair growth, a sure public sign of my sinfulness.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28
Needless to say, my guilt caused me to renege on my promise to serve God. I was dead in my sins, trapped by self-love and sexual gratification. The joy of attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion faded. My guilt increased exponentially.
My only option was to embrace sin and reject God. It was time to take my sinfulness to the next level.
One fine day, an acquaintance bragged about his virility and his numerous conquests of the opposite sex. I was a gullible, barely teenager. In retrospect, I now realize he was a convincing liar. How could a 14 year old, pimply-faced juvenile actually be a real Don Juan?
He said, “Ralph, masturbation is lame compared to sex with a beautiful woman. If you want to be a real man you can’t be a virgin. You need to get your cherry popped.”
Wow, sex sounded like a good idea to me. The magazine “Playboy” was becoming widely accepted at this time. My parents saw nothing wrong with reading the magazine. In the confessional, the priest told me it was fine as long as I did not fantasize about having sex with naked women or masturbate.
What’s wrong with this picture? What a joke. No matter how artistic the photos of nude women, they fueled my sexual fantasies and voracious appetite for masturbation and the desire for real sex.
I secretly bought and consumed every book I could find on how to become a certified sexual aficionado, an expert, a real gal-darned, world-class lover.
At the ripe old age of 14, this was harder to accomplish than you can imagine. The difficult part was to find even one girl, let alone a woman interested in engaging in sex with a hyperactive teenager with raging testosterone levels.
Of course, I was an abject failure. Girls were not in the least interested in a 99 lb weakling with a big nose, floppy ears, skinny body and black, horn-rimmed nerd glasses.
As you can imagine, I was impotent in my efforts to get laid. So, my only alternative was to indulge my strong fantasy life. I devoured even more comic books at an accelerated rate.
I fantasized about becoming a Warrior, a real-life Hero with massive muscles. I wanted to win the hand and love of a fair maiden in distress. I envisioned beating some of the local bullies who tormented me daily, into bloody pulps of macerated, bleeding meat sacks.
One day, I noticed an ad for Joe Weider’s protein in the back of one of my cherished comic books. Joe promised a Heroic body if you worked out with weights and drank gallons of his protein powder.
I knew instantly this was the answer to all my problems, the magic bullet for my miserable life. Without delay, I ordered the protein immediately, sending the money earned mowing lawns and washing cars.
I begged my dad to buy me a weight set. He immediately agreed, hoping this new-found focus would turn his son from a total embarrassment into something less embarrassing.
After getting the weights home, I eagerly put the smallest weights on the 25 lb bar. I tried to lift it but failed miserable. My dad was disgusted. I could see the disappointment in his eyes. He just walked away shoulders slumped forward, embarrassed.
I was angry at him, furious at his rejection but I would not be denied or deterred. Fueled by fury, I started exercising with the just 25lb bar. I gulped protein drinks like a fanatic. Soon, I became stronger. Muscles appeared like magic. It was a miracle.
I heard vitamins were helpful so I started gulping down handfuls of pills. Protein and vitamin pills became my newest obsession. My hypoglycemia disappeared when I stopped gorging myself on candy, chugging colas and pounding down donuts.
My hormones balanced. As the testosterone levels increased, bodily hair stared to grow in very important areas. I no longer looked like an albino, hairless, clinical rat.
Over 6 months of daily increasingly strenuous workouts, the transformation was complete. A teenage Hulk emerged from the shriveled cocoon of a wimpy body. I was proud, overjoyed at my new-found strength, size and confidence.
My joy was temporary. I thought a heroic body with big muscles would force people, especially damsels in distress, to respect and like me. I was sadly mistaken.
A nerd with horn-rimmed glasses, big nose, floppy ears and rippling muscles was an anomaly in the normal human universe. The few people who tolerated my eccentricities and bizarre behavior felt very uneasy, threatened by the metamorphosis.
Now I did not fit in anywhere. I was rejected by the other 99 lb weaklings, nerds and jocks. Muscles and brains did nothing to resolve my social skills retardation. “Oh well”, I thought, “Back to the drawing board!”
All the protein, vitamins and working out created an amazing side-effect. My brain developed at an accelerated rate. Suddenly my mental powers expanded exponentially.
I went from and C, D and F student to an A student overnight, from a Dufus to a pointy-headed Poindexter. This only happened in comics, not real life.
Wow, everyone was astounded. My parents were amazed and delighted when I was awarded a scholarship to University High Catholic School for being the most improved student.
I even scored in the extremely gifted range on the scholastic entrance tests, a gal-darned genius. It was another miracle!
Unfortunately, Uni High School was all boys. Access to women with loose morals, willing to have sex with a virgin teenager with raging testosterone levels was not an option or even a remote possibility.
Occasionally, we had quarterly, equal opportunities for mega embarrassment. Scheduled dances with Catholic girls schools turned into instant nightmares. The boys hugged the walls on one side. The girls followed suit.
Few had the self-confidence to cross the vast, void of public humiliation. Boys refused to take the dreaded Heroes journey across the wide expanse of polished wood. We all wanted to take the first step but refrained because of the abject fear of rejection and unceasing ridicule by our peers.
Both sexes wanted to dance, find a boyfriend or girlfriend, experience that tentative first kiss and perhaps play a little sexual baseball. It seemed the girls were willing to give up first and second base for the profession of love.
Some girls even accepted a slide into third base, but few guys ever accomplished a home run, despite their claims of victory. Morals still prevailed. Sex outside marriage was a very big No NO.
Oh well, what could you expect. It was the Catholic way in the 60’s. Morality still maintained a tenuous grip on society. We knew there were serious consequences for promiscuity, a shotgun wedding or pregnancy.
So, to work off the excess sexual energy I started surfing and playing tennis. There was no surfing team or competition so I focused on tennis, a new emerging sport.
Amazingly, we won back to back league Tennis Championships in 1966-1967. I was awarded the trophy for the Most Outstanding Player in 1966.
Muscles and brains gave me a real advantage in sports. I was ruthless, obsessed with winning. I crushed my competition, brutalized my opponents. Massive brain power, mega muscles and extreme warrior skills and mentality alienated just about everyone.
By this time, religious studies and daily Mass were onerous. I was flooded with guilt because of my lack of repentance. I lived in a world of spiritual death. Thoughts of suicide soon began to haunt my existence.
The demons in my head from early childhood returned with glee, rapture and vengeance. Satan whispered, then shouted, “You are mine!” The demonic forces constantly demanded, “Kill yourself. Join us in Hell. You deserve to live your life for yourself. God doesn’t love you.”
I had no defense. God was dead to me. Satan was now my master, his demons my bosom companions and compatriots in sin.
After I graduated with honors in 1967, I was accepted by one of the top science and pre-med colleges in the world. UCSD promised ample numbers of potential sexual partners. It was coed but very new.
My final act of rebellion against God and my Catholic heritage arrived. I decided to stop going to Mass on Sundays. I voted for surfing and sleeping in.
As I sat on my surfboard one Sunday, waiting for the next set to arrive, suddenly a terrible fear gripped my soul. Because of my rebellion against God, would a large white shark, the ultimate aquatic predator, rise out of the murky depths and swallow me whole? I was experiencing flashbacks from having just seen the movie “Jaws”.
Would I experience the same fate as Jonah? He too had rejected God’s calling and was swallowed by a great fish.
Thankfully, nothing happened. No great white or tiger sharks, sperm or killer whales appeared to rip my body apart. It was a providential sign.
God was truly dead. Perhaps He never even existed, just another fairy tale to create guilt for the benefit of the churches and religious leaders. Maybe the atheists were right. Was God just a fake bogey man in the sky?
Aw Yes, Freedom! Now I could do whatever I wanted. I declared myself god in my own universe. I would have no false gods before or after me. I was omnipotent, captain of my own ship, master of my own fate.
Well, as you can imagine, the next step in my spiritual decline was to become an atheist. After all, I was angry at God. How dare a supreme being forbid from doing something that felt so good. How could a loving God even consider chastising me for just following the natural lusts of a raging hormone-driven teenager.
Actually, I had some help in my transformation into an avowed atheist. A dear friend who was a brilliant atheist. His arguments against the existence of God were very persuasive.
He told me exactly what I wanted to hear so I could enjoy masturbation, sex, drugs and rebellion without guilt. I was so thrilled with my new found freedom.
The first day of college, the fall of 1967, was a nightmare. There were no good looking girls. With one campus and no graduating class the female pickings were slim to none.
Yikes, its nerd central. The girls were over-weight. Pasty white skin and horned rimmed glasses proved they were only interested in maxing out their GPAs.
The notches on my sexual belt would remain non-existent. I grieved for the loss of my sexual fantasies becoming reality.
With much media hype, the sexual revolution was launched with Woodstock and other raucous concerts. The flower people were ready, willing and able to taste the forbidden fruits and violate every social taboo.
Thanks to Playboy, birth control pills, drugs, rock and roll, the sexual revolution was in full swing. Promiscuity, mind expanding drugs, rock and roll and rebellion against parents, society and religion were exalted, fervently promoted by the liberal faculty and media.
The big questions facing me down were, “Where’s the free sex? Where are the legions of beautiful, promiscuous red hot babes promised by the media?”
For muscled, nerds, the outcasts of society, free sex was fiction not fact. Sadly, all that was left for me was drugs, rebellion and rock and roll. Out of desperation I became a leader in the “New Age Movement: and the “Flower Power Revolution” that literally started on our campus in 1970. I assumed incorrectly that there would be many opportunities to hook up with female partners ravenous for sex.
College was a difficult time. None of the liberal education classes were worth a damn. Economics, math and science classes made no sense. Perhaps smoking too much pot and consuming psychedelics was distorting my view of the value of a liberal education.
Why even go to classes when the professors gave us As without even showing up. The teachers were sticking it to the established educational system by destroying the grade curve.
I invested most of my time learning martial arts, surfing, playing beach volleyball, working out, taking psychedelic drugs, smoking pot and attending rock concerts. After 4 years I considered my college education a huge worthless waste of time. I did not even go to my graduation, but I do have to admit I had one hell-of-a good time partying non-stop.
I even had the opportunity to escape the onus of virginity on my 21st birthday with a beautiful beach bunny who I taught surfing and volleyball. An overnight trip to San Francisco ended in an unsatisfying one night stand. I began to wonder, “What is the big deal about sex anyway.”
My next opportunity arrived shortly thereafter. Through a weird chain of events, one of my roommates and his girlfriend ingested too much LSD. He had a very bad trip, dumped his girlfriend who immediately jumped into my arms and bed.
Rose was the girl of my dreams, my first love. As you can imagine, catching a girl on the rebound has many potential adverse consequences, although unlimited amounts of sex was an awesome side benefit.
She introduced me to supernatural evil through weegie boards and tarot cards. I did not realize at the time that they were a pathway to demonic oppression. I discovered the truth years later when one of my girlfriends, who was a true witch, set me straight. She wanted me to enter deeper into the faith but I was happy being a white warlock.
I did not realize the supernatural battle was so intense. I discovered atheism and satanism are a perfect match. Sin is glorified and there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest.
Unlimited amounts of sex and drugs ended badly when she rejected me for my roommate who soon realized his error. On Christmas eve he stole my girlfriend back with one phone call.
I was heart-broken by his treachery and her betrayal. I immediately experienced the pain of sexual withdrawal.
But all was not lost. Opportunity was knocking at my door.
After graduation, I worked full time at May Company and was promoted to manage. With power comes privileges. I asked out one of the girls under me. We drank too much and yes, we had sex. What a letdown. Sin was losing its savor.
Long story short, over the next 10 years a focus on pot and sex created a jaded reality. Unhappiness and dissatisfaction reigned. My finances and relationships self-destructed.
Broke, emotionally, spiritually and financially, I moved into my car to save money on rent. My business and personal failures haunted my every step.
“Sin is sweet in the beginning, but bitter in the end.” The Talmud
The demonic voices returned. “Kill yourself. Then you will have peace.”
My death wish was great but I was a coward, unwilling to shoot myself in the head. What would my parents say. I wanted to spare them the humiliation.
As an alternative, I decided to kill myself through extreme sports. I indulged in surfing big waves, skateboarding, motorcycles and martial arts. By the grace of God I almost drowned in gigantic surf three times.
One day after climbing down a cliff to access the secret surfing spot, I lost my footing on the way back up. Just as I tilted backward over the 50 foot void, ending in death on the sharp rocks below, a mysterious force suddenly pushed me back against the rock face. I was able to safely climb to the top and even saved my board.
I firmly believe my guardian angel intervened and saved my life. God was not yet done with me. I still had a commitment to fulfill.
In 1976 I became general manager for Rolls Royce Skateboard Warehouse. It was on the verge of bankruptcy.
I restructured the company and increased their sales dramatically. After that success, I became General Manager of Sidewalk Skateboard Parks in Fountain Valley. I tested the safety equipment and course. One day while ripping a bowl, I lost my balance and crashed 10 feet to the concrete below, breaking my foot.
Living out of your car while your foot is in a cast, is not an enjoyable experience. When the opportunity arose, I jumped at the opportunity to become the Director of the Pepsi Cola Skateboard Safety Program. Now I was one of the most powerful people in the skateboard industry.
What a wild time. Pot, cocaine and sex were available in abundance. My roommate had deep connections to the Colombian Mafia. They suddenly appeared at our door with kilos of cocaine and frightening tales of murder, debauchery, deceit and betrayal.
In no time at all the money flooded in. We spent weekends counting hundreds of thousands of dollars in hundred dollar bills to be shipped back to Miami. Cocaine and free basing parties were the entertainment of the day. Al Pacino staring in the movie Scarface had nothing on us.
It was only matter of time before everyone got busted by the narcs or murdered by the Mafia. One night when I was alone, I escaped sure death with only the shirt on my back.
I moved back into my car and changed my location every day, never contacting anyone I knew out of fear of massive reprisals. The Mafia even put a contract out on my life.
I stayed in hiding until they were busted for drug possession and money laundering. Then I returned to society, humbled by the evil and terror perpetuated by the cocaine cartels.
About a year later, I became Technical Director for Family Fitness. Sex and drugs was abundant. The sleazy stories you hear about debauchery in the health industry are true. I indulged. The demons returned.
“Kill yourself. You are mine and we are yours” they said.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
This time all hope was lost. It was time to really kill myself. But, by the grace of God He saved me.
At night, instead of nightmares populated by hideous creatures, I spontaneously started saying the Our Father and Hail Mary, the only prayers I could remember.
My parents and grandma’s countless rosaries had produced the grace necessary to pull me back from the brink of suicide, eternal damnation in the pit of Hell.
A few days later a miracle occurred. My cocaine dealer roommate reappeared, now a born again Christian. I was amazed he was still alive. I thought he would have been murdered, buried at the bottom of an unmarked grave in the remote desert bordering San Diego.
He shared his harrowing tale of deceit, betrayal and death. Against all odds, he survived. God had a plan for him also.
His amazing testimonial of God’s mercy convicted me of my sinful life. I fell to my knees and begged God’s forgiveness. Tears streamed down my cheeks.
My new-found brother in Christ told me, “Ralph, if God can forgive your sins you need to forgive your dad for all the emotional abuse during your life. Unrepentant hatred will only destroy your soul.”
By the grace of God, I instantly forgave my dad. I raced to his house to share the good news. He was astounded. He was ignorant of how much I hated him for all the emotional abuse caused by his chronic alcoholism. I believe most people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol don’t even know or remember how much they hurt their family members.
Dad confessed he tried to be the best father he could be. We hugged. I suddenly had an epiphany. Forgiveness heals the victim’s heart regardless of the impact on the perpetrator.
Love was born again, a father and son reunited. The prodigal son had returned.
A new joy filled my heart. The crushing weight of my grievous sins lifted. God gave me the grace to instantly stop taking drugs, become celibate and fulfill my childhood promise to serve Him.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6
I joined a local fellowship with bible studies on Wednesdays. I devoured God’s word, studying every aspect of Christianity.
I became a religious fanatic for Jesus.
Over 20 years of study I my faith matured. I went from a baby Christian to a reformed Calvinist, then a Protestant and finally, joyfully back to the Catholic Church.
While traveling the world as a research scientist in alternative medicine for 20 years, the only churches in foreign lands with Holy Communion were Catholic or Greek Orthodox.
Every time I received Holy Communion, I noticed a huge influx of grace and mercy in my life. My love for Jesus and the Body of Christ grew at an exponential rate.
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17
In 2004, both my mom and dad experienced life threatening illnesses within 3 months of each other. Suffering from congestive heart failure, my mom was a huge burden on my dad. He tried to take care of her alone.
In June of 2004, he suffered a massive stroke that paralyzed his right side and swallowing mechanism. Death was imminent but he survived and was released after 6 months in the hospital.
As any loving son would do, I sacrificed my life to take care of them 24-7. It was the greatest challenge of my life.
Changing adult diapers and caring for their needs on a daily basis was very humbling, but extremely taxing. Trips at all hours of the day and night to the Emergency Room was a never ending nightmare.
By the grace of God, I cared for them until their deaths. They died in their own home. I held their hand as they took their last breath on their journey to Heaven.
I have fought a good fight, run the good race, finished my course, and persevered to the end, that I would be saved. 2 Timothy 4:8
My dad survived exactly one more year to the day after my mom died. They were married over 50 years and could not remain apart for long.
I miss my mom and dad a lot. One of my greatest joys was attending Mass with them on Sundays. I was privileged to serve them the Holy Eucharist at home as final day approached. They loved receiving the Body and Blood of their Blessed Savior as often as possible.
Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given up for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” Luke 22:19-20
After my parents died, I moved to Bedford in August of 2004. I attended daily Mass at Saint Michael Catholic Church. Every time I received the Holy Eucharist, my faith increased by leaps and bounds.
One day, a friend at daily mass asked if I would go with her to Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral before praying at the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Fort Worth. I joyfully committed to going with her once a week.
After a year of daily receiving Holy Communion and praying at the abortion mill weekly, God revealed He wanted me to pray at the clinic twice a week. I said, “Okay God, I am your humble servant.”
Shortly after this revelation, another parishioner asked me to become a Eucharist minister. I immediately joyfully agreed.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for you and many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:25-28
Again my spiritual life was transformed. Serving the Body and Blood of Christ to parishioners was an ecstatic experience. God provided greater grace so I could serve Him more.
One day, after daily Mass at St. Michael’s, Mike invited me to come pray the rosary and study apologetics on Saturday mornings at Good Shepherd Catholic Church with other men filled with the Holy Spirit.
I was overjoyed. Perhaps a few of the mighty men of faith would pray the holy rosary with me at the abortion clinic. I desperately needed new allies to battle the forces of evil in our lives, families, communities, churches.
Joining the Mighty Men Of the Rosary at Good Shepherd was a divinely appointed miracle. I discovered Holy Prayer Warriors who love the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Rosary. They understood the incredible power of receiving the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic adoration. Their prayers and fellowship enhanced my life beyond imagination.
One day during Eucharistic Adoration, God again revealed my next mission. “I want you to start a spiritual militia called the Catholic Prayer Warriors. I want you to pray the rosary six days a week in front of the local Planned Parenthood during morning rush hour.”
“You will be my witnesses for the power of the Holy Rosary and the importance of praying for our families, troops, community, churches, cities, states, nation and the world. Through the power of my Holy Eucharist you will join the efforts of the Blessed Mother and all the legions of angels and saints who are the true intercessors for my mercy on this sinful world.”
The rest is history. I prayed 6 days a week in front of the Planned Parenthood at Central and Harwood for two years religiously. Then the Holy Spirit allowed me to get really sick. I think I had walking pneumonia.
Pride had entered into my soul. I believed others were coming to pray because I was out on the front lines every day.
It was time to repent, give up being “The Prayer Warrior” and become just a prayer warrior and fellow servant of God and the Blessed Mother. They wanted me to realize the reason other Prayer Warriors came out to pray was because the Holy Spirit was working wonders in their souls. It was not all about me.
For the last year, we have been praying three times a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. A dear Prayer Warrior named Rick made me promise to not pray outside if the temperature dropped below 40 degrees.
The amazing support of the Prayer Warriors at Good Shepherd has increased my belief in a bright future. Now, we usually have between 3-8 Prayer Warriors praying for everyone that drives by, our families, friends, clergy, other Christians, our military, politicians and first-responders…basically every person who could benefit from a little prayer support.
We are working as a spiritual team, fueled by the Holy Eucharist, praying the Holy Rosary with the Blessed Mother and all the saints and angels to defeat evil and to create Heaven on earth. It is incredible what God can do with you if you are willing to serve him with all you heart, mind, soul and strength.
I desire to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master’s house.” Matthew 25:23
My favorite scripture that has encouraged me through all my difficulties is:
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’ sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever. Psalm 23