I was recently reading “God of Miracles” by Michael Brown. He suggested that every person we will ever meet does not stumble across our paths by accident, but is carefully placed there in that very moment by God Himself. He compared the mess that our lives sometimes become to a needlepoint rendering. He said that often, when we look through earthly eyes, we just see the back side of the needlepoint with its jumble of threads and knots. When we are one day able to see through heavenly eyes, we will see the flip side of the intricate artwork – the beautiful side that the Master had been working on all along.
Today, I went to 9 a.m. mass. I had been so busy with work the past two days that I did not go – I felt I had to get my work done in order to justify my thirty minute absence. This morning, I awakened feeling totally overwhelmed – as though I were about to succumb to a giant wave. Needless to say, I dropped everything at 8:55, and ran to meet Jesus.
Normally, I enter church through one of the side doors in the front. Today, for some reason, I decided that I preferred to sit in the back of church, so I entered through the rear doors. As I approached, I noticed a woman walking a few steps behind me, tears in her eyes. I paused, turned around and asked her if she was all right. She began to sob, so I offered my arms to hug this stranger. She gripped me tight and told me her worries and troubles – her deepest fears. I asked her to tell me her name so that I could pray for her. She told me that her name was “Mary,” and that she had just moved here from a place thousands of miles away.
Mary is a single parent who returned to the Church last Easter after being away for many years. When I learned that her name was Mary, and that she was filled with sorrow at the moment, I told her that today is the feast of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I know that I was supposed to meet her today. I left feeling as though I wished I could do so much more to ease her pain. How often we underestimate the value and importance of prayer – how often we trivialize it.
I hope that I see her again. I also hope that she will be o.k. Just like me, Mary was feeling overwhelmed and burdened. Just like me, she had run to church to see Jesus, knowing that He is the giver of True Peace. I know that whatever happens with Mary’s health concerns – whether or not she receives physical healing – God has already shown His amazing love to her in that she has been spiritually healed. Her faith was returned to her by the grace and mercy of God. I cannot think of a more precious gift!