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  • Sarah Raad

Whisky

“Bosco, give up the whiskey. Show me you are strong. Give me something that is under your control.” (Bosco Gutierrez).

The Sacrifice (Jen Norton)

My father loves whisky. My husband loves whisky. My best friend loves whisky. None of them are very big drinkers, but all of them love the taste of a nice strong whisky. And now, during these last few days of lent, I have been reflecting on those things that we all love and that whisky as I saw my prayers.


You see, I recently read an article about the kidnapping and captivity of the Mexican architect Bosco Gutierrez, who, in August 1990 when he was only 33 years old, was kidnapped for ransom and held naked and alone for 9 months inside a tiny filthy cell.


During the period of his captivity, Gutierrez did not hear a single human voice or see a single human face. Instead, his captors communicated with him by writing messages on papers and remained covered in white sheets while they were in his presence. The only sounds he heard were from a radio that played music and advertisements – day and night…


Gutierrez explains that in the first few days of his captivity his captors compelled him to reveal details about his family so that they could be monitored, and they threatened to abduct one of his brothers or kill his father if he failed to comply. The necessity of revealing information about his wife and seven children made Bosco feel like “nothing” and he quickly became so depressed that his captors feared he would die. And so – to elevate his spirits – they offered him his favourite drink – whisky…


Gutierrez held that glass of whisky against his dirty and unshaven cheek. He looked at it and He smelled it. He even imagined the taste. But – just before he drank it – Gutierrez felt a prompting, inside his mind, telling him, “Bosco, give up the whiskey. Show me you are strong. Give me something that is under your control.”

And that was the beginning of his victory. It was in that moment – pouring the whisky away – that Gutierrez realised that he could hope…

You see – he came to realise during his captivity – that God had allowed all of this to happen and having allowed it, that God would bring GOOD from it. He also realised – knowing that his family were praying for his release – that whether he lived or died, God was doing good through those prayers, and so this terrible experience of captivity became instead a wonderful experience of faith…


And that realisation was it…


Gutierrez began a campaign of prayer for his CAPTORS! During those months in captivity, Gutierrez prayed the rosary daily and read his Bible. At Christmas, he told his captors that he would be praying for them at a certain time on Christmas Eve and he demanded that they attend. He did not know what to expect, but sure enough, there they were – silent and covered – on Christmas Eve, listening to him reading from the Bible and praying the rosary. Afterwards, he told his captors that he would speak to them each Saturday about God and that Our Lady would direct him on what to say. Every single Saturday, his captors attended – silent and covered – and listened to him speak.


And I have been reflecting on this remarkable story as I enter these last few days of Lent, because it occurs to me that there is always something that I can give – even when it seems that I am already giving everything in my power.


Because I look at Bosco Gutierrez pouring that whisky away, and I realise that there is whisky to be poured in my own life – I just need to decide that that is what I am going to do…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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