March 5, 2014

A Greater Love for Charlie

The following is a seemingly simple story. It does not contain any astonishing supernatural event, and can be discounted as something due entirely to the personal capabilities of the storyteller herself. Yet she thought otherwise. She knew the level of hostility in her heart and the depth of the change she experienced. She says:

“When I went forward to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, the Lord gave me a greater love for Charlie … Jesus had worked a great healing in me and I wanted to tell someone. How I wished I could go home and tell Charlie!

As soon as we got home I phoned Charlie at his motel. When he answered I said: ‘Honey I want you to know that I love you just the way you are and that it doesn’t matter to me where you go or how long you stay or who you go with. I’ll be waiting for you.’ Then I hung up.

Charlie says that he just stood there in the motel room not knowing what to do. When he heard my voice on the phone, he had expected me to tell him he was a sorry excuse for a man and that three lawyers would be waiting for him when he returned. He would have known how to handle that. But he didn’t know how to handle love or how to respond to it.

That was November 14, 1976. The following February 8, Charlie Osburn, the ‘wild man of Warrington,’ the man who could never change, the man who I ‘had to teach a lesson to,’ went down on his knees with Father Jim Smith … and asked for the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit.” (Jeanne Osburn)

(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from The Charlie Osburn Story by Charlie Osburn, with Fred Lily.)


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