I had my own radio show, Hearts for Humanity, in South Florida in 2004 and 2005. I interviewed Catholic Christians around the world for an hour who were putting their faith into action in service to the poor.
When the horrific tsunami hit the Indian Ocean the day after Christmas in 2004 that killed 230,000 people, I was able to do a live broadcast a week later with the dedicated workers at Caritas in Banda Aceh in Sumatra.
An early guest on my show was Jim Cavnar, co-founder of Cross International which serves the poorest of the poor around the world. Jim arrived at the studio at the last minute. Someone had stolen his car off his driveway during the night and he had to rent a car to get to the broadcast. I call that dedication to the cause!
After the show I asked Jim where he grew up. His response is a story I will never forget. He said he grew up all over the world, since his father, Bobbie Cavnar, was in the Air Force, flying with the Strategic Air Command. Jim shared with me that in 1962 at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, his father took off on a mission from Norway, loaded with a nuclear weapon. His target was the Kremlin in Moscow. But as he was about to enter Soviet air space, the Pentagon and President Kennedy ordered him to go back to his home base. Bobbie Cavnar always felt that it was the Holy Spirit that sent him that return order that avoided World War III.
Bobbie Cavnar retired from the Air Force two years later, to become at the age of 40 the CEO of a highly successful Texas oil company.
A year later at the wedding of his daughter in Michigan, Bobbie said that as he was kneeling in church praying the Holy Spirit touched his heart. When he returned to Dallas, he started and led a prayer group. He kept on responding to the Spirit and started prayer groups around the country. A life-long Catholic, the Vatican recognized him for all the wonderful work he did with forming prayer groups over the next 20 years.
While watching a TV documentary in 1979 about World War II, Bobbie Cavnar said the Holy Spirit gave him the inspiration to get involved with television. So for the next 20 years he hosted and produced evangelical outreach shows, such as “The Glory of God” and “The Way Home”.
Bobbie Cavnar never looked back. He proceeded to set up TV and Radio networks all over the world. In 1989 when the Iron Curtain fell, Bobbie Cavnar went to Russia and set up a non-profit foundation for Catholic and Orthodox TV and Radio stations. These spread throughout all of Russia.
As he was nearing the end of his term as President of Russia in the late 1990’s, Boris Yeltsin invited Bobbie Cavnar to Moscow and to the Kremlin. There in the Kremlin Yeltsin bestowed on Bobbie Cavnar the highest honor Russia could bestow on a foreigner. He recognized Bobbie Cavnar for having brought Jesus Christ back to Russia after the Iron Curtain fell.
In his acceptance speech, Cavnar highlighted the work of the Holy Spirit in his own life and in the life of the world. There was total silence when Bobbie Cavnar explained how 37 years before he was on a mission from Denmark to drop a nuclear warhead on the Kremlin. He was now standing in the Kremlin accepting the highest award Russia could give because the Holy Spirit had led him to bring Jesus back to Russia. Bobbie Cavnar died in 2002 at the age of 77.
Many people that I listen to tell me how what is transpiring with our President and Vice-President and with our 435 House of Representative members and our 100 Senators is beyond redemption. The Bobbie Cavnar story flashes through my mind again and again when I hear all that.
I keep asking myself and them, “Why are you looking to 537 men and women in Washington, D.C. to solve our problems? Have you given up on the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit is able to do in YOUR LIFE and in the minds, hearts, attitudes and behavior of those around you?”
I listen to people and I sense that they are completely off the road and stuck in a blizzard of their “gossip groups” and their adherence to whatever the “know-it-all talking heads” on TV are saying. I wonder when was the last time that a sizable number of the 297 million adults in our country ever sought out and listened, really listened, to what the Holy Spirit was saying to them personally?
Maybe they need to join or to start a prayer group like Bobbie Cavnar did to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to them. I am totally convinced that the Holy Spirit has not abandoned America. IT IS WE WHO ARE NOT LISTENING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
I’d welcome a call whenever you would like to share with me how the Holy Spirit is alive and active in your life. I’d love to hear how you have moved beyond politics and the pandemic in your life and how you are making the presence of the Holy Spirit felt in others’ lives. I’d be most happy to share my own experiences with the Holy Spirit with you….
Fr. Med Laz
YOU WEREN’T PUT ON EARTH TO BE REMEMBERED. YOU WERE PUT ON EARTH TO BE RE – MEMBERED IN HEAVEN!