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"Stories of Love"

From Jesus
11/9/1999

MY FRIEND LOVED ME

"I wonder how I can go on. Nothing seems to go right in my life. Everything I touch seems to fall apart. Everything I try to do fails!" said a dejected young man to his friend.

"I see everyone else doing okay; they have jobs, money, cars clothes, friends. What have I got? Nothing! You're my only friend: I don't know what I would do without you. Why is life so hard?"

His friend looked at him with big brown eyes and leaned over to lick his face.

"Good boy. You love me, don't you?" said the young man as he ruffled the hair of the dog. "And you never complain about me, do you boy?"

The dog wagged his tail contentedly, but feeling the sadness of his owner, licked him again and then leaned against the young man with almost his whole body weight.

"I wonder how it got so bad," said the man to his dog. "I used to have friends. I had a job. I had money. I had it all. Now it's all gone and all I have is you and my bad habit."

The dog let out a little whine, as he sat leaning on his owner.

"This habit…" said the young man, as he stretched out his right arm to look at the needle marks, "this habit has destroyed my life. It's taken everything away from me." The young man sat quietly and looked up at the stars in the night sky.

"Oh God," he called out loud, "how did I ever get this way?" He waited almost expecting an answer, but the night air was still. "I hope, my friend, someone will take care of you when I'm gone," he said to his dog. Again, sensing something was wrong, the dog whined and then once more licked the young man's face.

The man smiled at the dog, saying, "You will be all right, you will find your way home to Mom and Dad."

As he finished saying that, he thought of his parents and of the many arguments they have had since he started taking drugs. He remembered it was never like that before the drugs. He thought of the times he stole from strangers, and how recently he had sold his body to another man so he could get money for drugs. Tears welled in his eyes as he cried out loud, "Oh God, how did I fall so far? If You're out there God, I can't see any way out of this; it's only getting worse."

Now the you man was sobbing as he blurted out the words, "God, please forgive me, and forgive me for what I'm about to do, but I can't go on anymore."

Now the dog was whimpering as he saw in his owner's hand a large knife. The dog was almost pleading with the young man, for he sensed the danger.

"My friend, I won't hurt you, and I won't hurt anyone ever again. This is my only way out," said the young man in a nervous voice. Then he pushed the dog away as he raised the knife, preparing to plunge it into his heart. "God forgive me," he cried as he closed his eyes and brought the knife down towards his chest. He heard a whine as he felt the knife enter flesh but realized it wasn't his flesh. He opened his eyes to see his dog between him and the knife, with the knife embedded deep in the dog's stomach. "Oh no! Oh no!" he cried out loud as the dog's blood began to run onto his hand.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he sobbed, as he held his dog. The dying dog looked up at his master and struggled to turn his head, weakly lifting it to be able to lick his master's face one more time, then the dog's head fell sideways as he died. "What have I done?" cried the young man. Then at the top of his voice he shouted in a voice filled with the sorrow on his heart, "NO! NO!"

"What's wrong?" asked the priest who, with the nun he was accompanying from a Church meeting, had heard the young man's cries and had come to see what was wrong.

"I've killed my dog," sobbed the young man holding tightly onto the still warm body.

"How did it happen?" asked the nun, as she came and sat next to the man and put her arm around him.

"I killed him, and he was my only friend," sobbed the man. The priest leaned down and stroked the dead dog, asking, "Would you like me to bury him for you?"

"Huh…no, I will do it," answered the still sobbing man.

"There is a knife in him," stated the nun, as she noticed what was in the man's hand.

"How did it happen, Son?" inquired the priest.

"I was going to kill myself, and I closed my eyes as I built up the courage to stab myself, but my dog… my dog came between me and the knife," explained the young man with a voice full of emotion.

"Your dog must have loved you," said the priest.

"Yes, he did" replied the man.

"He loved you so much he gave his life to stop you killing yourself," said the nun, as she gently took the young man's hand off the knife.

There was silence for a moment, then the priest said, "You see, your dog knew that your life was precious, so he sacrificed his life for you. He obviously loved you."

"Yes, he was my only friend. I loved him and I've killed him," spluttered the young man, "I can't even do this right."

"Here, let me help you with the dog. We should take him and bury him. Where do you live?" asked the priest, as he gently lifted the dog from the man's lap.

"I live on the streets. I haven't got a home," replied the man.

"Well, where shall we bury him?" asked the priest. The young man just shrugged his shoulders saying, "I don't know."

"The convent is not far from here. Let's take the dog there. I am sure we can find a little space in the grounds for him," suggested the nun, as she held the arm of the still distraught young man.

As they stepped into the light, she saw the marks on his arm from the needles. "Why did you want to kill yourself?" asked the nun.

"I've got no future, nothing to look forward to, and when I look back, I only see pain," responded the young man. "There was… is nothing to live for. The only one who cared for me was my dog, and now he is gone."

"There is always Someone Who loves you, Who cares for you," said the nun.

"Who?" asked the man.

"God cares for you and loves you," replied the nun.

"God, I think, doesn't care for me anymore. I've done so many bad things, I doubt if He could ever forgive me," stated the man.

"God loves everyone, Son," said the priest. "And God is prepared to forgive any sin, if the person really wants forgiveness and tries to live a good life, once forgiven."

"How could God love me? I've hurt so many people. I've committed so many sins; I even disgust myself," replied the young man.

"Well, God showed His love of you tonight," suggested the priest.

"What do you mean?" asked the now confused man.

"Well, God created your dog in His love, and in God's love your dog loved you. When your dog saw that you were in danger, the love he had for you, the God-given love, made him want to save you, and so he sacrificed his life for you.

"In that sacrifice, your dog showed that God's love within him wanted to stop you from harming yourself. In this way, God is saying to you that your life is valuable, that you are loved and cared for, and that you should try again in life and not give up."

The young man looked at the priest and said, "I don't quite understand what you are saying, but I know it sounds right. Maybe God does love me. I know He created my friend." He stroked the body of the dog as he said this, "and my friend loved me."

"Don't you think you owe it to your dog to try to get your life together?" asked the nun, softly.

"Yes, I think I do," replied the man as he felt a strength inside him he had not known for a long while. "But how?" he asked.

"We will help you," suggested the nun.

"Will you really? I am a drug addict, but I do not want to be one anymore. Tonight, for the first time, I think I may be able to overcome my addiction," explained the young man.

"We know you are addicted to drugs and so does God, but that doesn't stop Him or us from loving you, and it doesn't stop us from wanting to help you," confirmed the priest.

"And if you are successful, your dog's sacrifice will not have been wasted," added the nun.

"No, it won't will it?" exclaimed the young man.

"Come on, the convent's not far," encouraged the priest. "And after we've buried your friend, you can come and stay with me tonight."

"Thank you, Father," smiled the young man with the first smile he had in months.

"What was your dog's name?" asked the nun.

"Francis," answered the man, as he took the dog from the priest and began to carry him in the direction of the convent.

"And what order do you belong to, Sister?" inquired the man.

"Both Father and myself are Franciscans," responded the nun, gently.

Then the three walked on with the faithful dog. Unknown and unseen there was an Italian man, in a brown habit and sandals who walked beside them praying in thanks to God that once more, through an animal, God's love had been seen.

 

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