For months now, we have lost the practice of letting Matthew bring any toy to Mass. We had started when he was way younger and had begun to covet other children’s toys and we thought it better to have something to quieten him down at Mass. Recently, we’ve decided to only let him bring his children’s Bible to Mass. (Although secretly, I still pack one or two cars along just in case a severe meltdown occurs at Mass… shhh…)
Yesterday was exceptional because for some reason, towards the end of Mass, I pulled this guy out to get Matt off my back – his name is Sarge and he’s from Disney Pixar CARS.
And then for some even stranger reason, we failed to make sure we had it when we left.
By evening time when we realised we didn’t have a clue where Sarge was, it was too late. The only place he could be was at church, because the kids went to their grandparents’ place straight after Mass yesterday. But there was nothing we could do.
This morning – again for some strange reason – assembly at Marymount Kindy started 15 minutes earlier which meant that Augz, Emma and I left school 15 minutes earlier than our usual time.
There and then, I decided to head to church to just have a look-see. St. Anthony can’t really help if you don’t put in the effort to collect your lost items from his aid…
So off we went to our Holy Spirit parish. I headed straight to the main church, wondering if it was even open. I know the chapel’s closed due to some damage to our floors and walls, but I didn’t know for sure if the church would be open.
Guess what? It was.
Except for one lady in the pew, the church was silent and stunning, with sunlight streaming in through our majestic stained glass – the way I’ve always loved it.
I caught myself in awe – you can’t fight the Spirit of God when all elements work together like this – before walking straight to our pews. I had no expecations. Nothing. I was merely fulfilling my part by showing up to take a look.
When I saw Sarge at the pews where we had clearly left him, I was filled only with immense gratitude. Those who have young boys and are well versed with the canon of CARS will know Sarge would probably be fuming and complaining about being left behind. That was how I pictured him as I kissed the toy and said “We are so sorry!” in the silliest way possible.
I made my way to leave the church but could not help but kneel down for a short prayer of thanksgiving – for assembly having ended early, for the chapel’s damage that led to the church being open (I’m sorry, Father Andrew, but you know what I mean…), for the beautiful, beautiful sight that greeted me to remind me of God’s awesome presence, and for this small act of the toy being exactly where we had left it (come on, there was evening Mass yesterday, anyone could have taken it or had it moved to the parish office!).
It was a series of events of things gone right for us to have retrieved our toy. It’s just a toy, but we have a collection at home to which this belongs. And being as sentimental as I am, I have great problems thinking of beloved objects being left behind (topic for another post, on how I value the tangible!).
That feeling of gratitude remained, together with a notion that I had just experienced something profound.
And this is it:
In the Landings ministry I am a part of, we emulate the mission of Jesus the Good Shepherd who leaves 99 sheep behind in search of the one who’s lost. I imagine that some of these lost sheep have been pretty frustrated at being left behind in life, or just lost and stuck in the situation they might be in – just like Sarge.
I now can also comprehend how flooded with relief, joy and gratitude one can get when one finds that precious sheep, or toy, that had once been lost – just like the Good Shepherd.
Usually, I get a glimpse of how wonderful it is to be found; today, I glanced from the perspective of our Maker and maybe, understand a little bit more deeply why the mission is correctly “Leave no soul behind”.
This is merely a toy I’ve found. How much is there to rejoice when a lost soul is found?