I began flying into wild rages. I always had a bad temper, manic even, but it usually took some extreme provocation to arouse it. Now I lost it for the slightest reason. The smallest thing was enough to set me off. My anger never lasted for more than a few seconds, but I could wreck havoc in that time.
Along with denying the existence of God, I had denied the existence of Satan, but it was now becoming increasingly obvious to me that he was just as real.
And it was also becoming increasingly obvious that he was trying his best to stop me from going for a retreat in South India where I was headed in a couple of weeks, and the best way to do so was to frustrate me into giving up. This retreat center, popularly known as Potta, was reputedly an exceptionally blessed place where many wonderful things are said to happen and he must have known that his influence in my life would be further diminished if I went there so he did his best to stop me from going.
I did everything I could think of to curb these explosive outbursts, but it seemed like the more I tried, the less I succeeded. On one occasion when I felt my anger rise I dropped to my knees and said all three mysteries of the rosary back to back. The instant I got to my feet, the anger burst out of me like a starved animal set free from its cage, explosive and wild.
For someone who was trying so hard to make up to God for all that he had been up to, this was a nightmare and the only penance I could think of doing was fasting. I hoped that this would not only get God to forgive me, it would make him give me strength to control my temper, but this didn't seem to work. On the contrary, on one occasion, after I had fasted for three days consuming nothing but water, I lost my temper more heavily than I ever had before.
Utterly frustrated, I begged Jesus. "Why are you letting this happen? You can see how hard I am trying! Can't you please help me?"
That night as I lay in bed, I suddenly felt my head get heavy as a rock. Everything went dark and I felt a hand reach out and grip my brain. My first thought was it was the devil and he was out to get me for tossing him so unceremoniously out of my life and I freaked. But a voice I thought I recognized as Jesus's told me not to worry. That was easier said than done - this was my brain! I told my wife to get a rosary and a crucifix and clutching one in each hand, I told Jesus that if it indeed was him, to go ahead and do whatever he wanted. Agonizing pain followed, but despite it I dropped off to sleep at some point.
When I woke up the next morning I didn't feel any different and shrugged off the entire experience as the result of an increasingly overactive imagination. But a week later, when something occurred that normally would have made me blow my fuse and I didn't react at all did I realize that I had not lost my temper once since that night! (Note: Three months later, my temper was to resurface again, but that is another story.)
Next: Divine Retreat Center