Rod Dreher

Here is a riveting account by the great Matt Labash of Father Rick Frechette, a Catholic priest from Connecticut, and his ministry among the people of Haiti, a country that is the closest thing to hell on Earth. He really is light in a very, very dark place. For example, there’s this story of what happened after Father Rick was going to see some nuns in a convent, and saw a teenage boy lying in the street, burning to death, with the gang that had set him afire standing by watching. The boy was already dead when the priest got there, but he still fetched buckets of water to douse the flames, and, with the thugs looking on, gave the dead boy the dignity of prayers. Labash continues:

Later, the mother superior called Frechette telling him a trembling, crying woman came to the sisters and asked for her. When she came outside, the woman fell to her knees and kissed her hands. The mother superior didn’t understand. It was the mother of the boy who’d been burned. Someone had run to tell her, “They’re killing your son and setting him on fire.” She raced out of her shack, and when she was within view of her son, was so horrified, that her legs froze. She couldn’t move them, neither to run toward him, nor to run away. “She was frozen in hell,” Frechette puts it.
She told the mother superior that she saw a truck go by, and then slow down, and then keep going. Then she saw it come back. And the people in it got out, and “put out my son like I was wishing I could put out the fire on my son’s body.” Then they picked him up until he was clean. Then they prayed for him. “Everything she tried to do was done in front of her, by absolute strangers who didn’t know her or her kid.”
Of all the emotions the woman was entitled to, he wouldn’t guess gratitude would be high on the list. And yet there she was. “It made her able to live with it,” Frechette thinks. “It’s like God sent someone to help her, like it restored her faith in humanity again. .??.??. I call it the countersign. The terrible thing that’s in front of you, you hurry, and offset it right away. Before what happens is too taxing and too poisonous. .??.??. Sometimes with horrible things, you really feel there is nothing you can do. Nothing. You’re just useless. But over time, you start seeing that to do the right thing no matter what has tremendous power.”

Read the whole thing. Trust me, you want to do this. It is hard to imagine the kind of love that keeps a man like Father Rick there, when all he has to do is get on a plane and fly away. But if he leaves, that’s one less soul to give the countersign.

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