Healing The Father Wound • by JONATHAN WAKEFIELD

I HAD THIS DEEP FEELING RISING WITHIN ME as I attended the weekend at Woldingham Park in July 2002, a feeling that said 'something good is going to happen, the Holy Spirit is going to do something great for me' this weekend.

Father Ernest Sievers, a missionary priest based in Uganda
I was not to be disappointed, although it was not what I expected. Father Ernest Sievers, a wonderful man who is presently a missionary priest in Uganda, spoke in such a way that allowed the Holy Spirit to give me the understanding that I had longed for.

You see, I had severe trouble in forming relationships of any kind. All of a sudden I would get stressed when someone tried to get close, which caused depression.

At Primary School, I was bullied psychologically by girls, and by other boys in my early years at my Secondary School. I was from a small country town and was sent to a Catholic Secondary School in a large town. I was made to feel different and was called 'gay' and other names most days in the early years while there. This name-calling penetrated my subconscious, wreaking havoc in my twenties and up to the weekend.

I had severe trouble in forming relationships of any kind
Father Ernest talked about the fact that men all around the world were suffering from an emptiness inside and that this emptiness could come from the fact that as children we did not hear the affirmation from our fathers: "son, I love you". We were trying to fill the emptiness with sex, drugs, drink, work, etc. The list is endless.

Suddenly, ‘bang!’ – it hit me in the chest. Everything became clear now. My low esteem and frequent depression was because I thought my own father did not love me and I was trying to fill the void with something that was not of God. The main block in my life was revealed and now I could act. What also enabled me to understand was something else that Father Ernest said, and that was that God loved me. God was saying to each of us, "you are my beloved son", and to me personally, “Jonathan, you are my beloved son, you are tops”.

I sat with my group during the evening meal and we chatted about the talk. Nothing spiritual had happened, not that I expected it to at that point. However, as soon as I walked outside into the sun I sensed the Holy Spirit saying, "Jonathan, get your mobile phone and call home". Initially, I went the other way then felt pulled back in the direction to do as I had been instructed.

Jesus went into the hills alone to pray and be close to His Father. This in effect was what I did. I went up a hill next to the school, as it was the only place you could get a signal, and from here I phoned home. Now I was nervous and when dad answered I went into a couple of minutes of ‘tiptoe around the edges’ talk and dad as usual went into ‘talk to your mother’ mode. I don’t make a habit of phoning him during a weekend away and asking him how he was and I think that threw him slightly.

Mother and I chatted about whether dad loved me, how I had never heard him say that, how I needed to hear that and how I needed to tell him that I loved him. Mother assured me that he did and then passed me back to dad.

We had a conversation that we had never had before. I told him that we had not had a good relationship for many years and that I wanted to put that right and that I loved him. He responded by telling me that he loved me too. I spoke to mum again and told her that I loved her too, crying as I did so. We then said our goodbyes.

a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders…
As soon as I hit that little red button to end the call there was a feeling that a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and the veil in my temple between the Lord and myself had been torn in two. The Holy Spirit seemed to have fully entered my life.

I was filled with such joy that I ran down the hill back to the school and spent several minutes running round trying to find my group to tell them. They got to know eventually. I was thirsty for the Holy Spirit, and so I asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit during the opportunity for prayer ministry after the second talk by Father Ernest.

Before we left on the Sunday, I had to draw a line under the old life. So I had my confession heard in the best possible location, under the statue of the Sacred Heart.

There has been a complete transformation at home. Both mum and dad look about ten years younger and mum said dad has been walking around every day with a big smile on his face. There is now a great sense of peace in this house.

Of myself, I am told that I too look younger. I am at peace, more relaxed and feeling good about myself. I had never been able to tell my mum or dad that I loved them or been able to accept their love. Now that I have told them, I can accept their love whereas before I did not know how to handle it.

I am sure that, as a result of this first step, where friendships have been difficult or non-existent in the past they will become numerous and fruitful in the future.