The following is a true story. Much as I like to write, I don’t think I can invent a tale like this. The names of the characters have been changed. The purpose of sharing this story is to make you realize that God never lets go of us. You may run, hide, or turn away — it does not matter. The Good Shepherd will always be looking out for you.
Mrs. Abrenica lived in an upscale subdivision. She stayed with her husband while her only child, a daughter, lived in the US, with her own family.
At Mrs. Abrenica’s parish, Mr. Beltran another parishioner, found her daily missal in one of the chapel pews. On the day that Mr. Beltran, found it, Mr. and Mrs. Castro were also around. The couple offered to drop off the missal at Mrs. Abrenica’s house, after mass, as they knew where she lived and it was on the way.
Upon arrival in the Abrenica residence, Mrs. Castro got out of the car (with the missal) and waited for Mrs. Abrenica to appear. This is how the conversation went, more or less:
Mrs. Castro: Dina, ito yung missal mo, o. (Dina, here is your missal.)
Mrs. Abrenica: Ha? Wala akong missal. (I do not have a missal.)
Mrs. Castro: E eto, nandito yung pangalan mo. Dina Abrenica. (It’s yours. It has your name on it.)
At this point, Mrs. Abrenica opens up and requests Mrs. Castro to pray for her. She then relates the story that her only daughter had recently passed away. Mrs. Abrenica had felt bad about the demise of her only child, that she questioned God about what the purpose of all this was. She related that since her daughter had passed away, she stopped going to mass and had stopped praying.
Mrs. Castro lent a sympathetic ear and assured Mrs. Abrenica that she would include her and her daughter’s soul in her prayers. Surprisingly, Mrs. Castro learned that Mrs. Abrenica’s daily missal had gotten lost since two years ago and that two years back, when Mr. and Mrs. Abrenica had searched for it in church, it was nowhere to be found.
Mrs. Abrenica has since gone back to going to mass. A few days though, after the missal was returned to her, she talked to Mrs. Castro to ask if Mrs. Castro was wearing a white outfit that day. Mrs. Castro was not wearing anything white at the time that the missal was returned.
Mrs. Abrenica even went on to say: “Ang suot mo, puting-puti. At parang ang liwa-liwanag ng iyong mukha.” (You were wearing something very white. There was a glow in your face.)
Pure coincidence? Was Mrs. Abrenica predisposed to seeing things in her grief? Why did the missal only turn up at that time after being lost for two years? Why did Mrs. Castro appear to be very white?
There may be a logical explanation to all these, true, but this incident/story is a reminder to all of us that the Lord uses incidents in our lives to touch us, console us, and reassure us that He is always here. Even in the midst of pain and hardship, He stretches out His hand, and it is up to us to take it and be led.
We should also be sensitive to opportunities for us to be used by the Lord to remind people around us that God truly loves them and will just not simply let go. We are all much too important in His sight. We can run and hide and even turn away — but we can be sure that He is also running after us and waiting for us to stop running, let go, let God, and allow Him to simply love us.