Yesterday while I was attending a morning mass at St Xavier’s church, a 60 year old woman came in suddenly and caused quite a disturbance. Standing at the door with two photographs in her hand, she tried to speak over the sounds of the choir. Though everybody near her tried to tell her to leave the church, she stayed in the church near the doors. I symbolically motioned for her to wait until the end of mass.
I thought she understood me, but when I went up to the altar to receive holy communion, the woman came up behind me and disturbed the priest with her photographs. All the people near her, including me, judged this woman to be mentally retarded so I took her by the arm and escorted her outside where I questioned her to find out why she was disturbing our church service.
She again showed me the two photographs, and she explained that she was part of a group who had traveled over 250 kilometers to search for the boy in the photographs. Apparently, the woman was Hindu and did not know the procedures of our religion which is why she had entered the church to ask the priest to make an announcement asking if any of the congregation had seen the boy… this boy who happened to be the woman’s mentally retarded son.
Upon seeing the photographs, I immediately recognized the boy because I had seen him two days earlier on my way to the college where I am Vice Principal. At that time, he was dirty and his clothes were in very bad shape. Anyway, I gave the woman my cell phone number and told her where I last saw the boy as well as some clues that I hoped would help her find her son. Later that afternoon, I received a call from that woman telling me that they found her son, bathed him, dressed him in new clothes, and were finally taking him back home.
Though her son had no practical purpose in her life… he could not do much, he could not earn money, etc., she still needed him. The boy did not have the mental capacity to understand the salvation his mother brought him, nor could he understand the salvation that he brought her. Still, she loved him, so much so that she searched for an entire month to find him.. She showed the deep love that only a parent usually knows. Just as I had initially believed that the woman was mentally retarded, I realized through this experience that I had not yet fully understood God‘s true nature either.
My perceptions are forever changed, and I now understand the unconditional love that God has for me. Just like that affectionate mother who came in search of her son, I realize it does not matter who I am, it does not matter what I am, it does not matter if I believe in God or not or whether I understand God, and it does not matter if I am grateful to God or not…
God loves me just because I exist.
This story was written by Sahaya Raj, who is a part of a Roman Catholic family that attends church regularly. Sahaya is very interested in spiritual matters, especially in training the students and acting as a counseling coordinator for several years as Vice President at a technical college in southern India. Sahaya seeks to realise God’s providence in each and every aspect of life.