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Never despair — The story of the priest who thought he had failed

on Tuesday, 01 March 2022. Posted in Testimonies

The parish priest of a small town arrived at the church to offer an evening Mass, but time passed and the town folk did not come. However, after 15 minutes, three children entered. After 20 minutes, another two young people entered. The priest began the Mass with five people in attendance. Over the course of Mass, a couple came in who sat on the rear bench of the church.

When the priest preached and explained the Gospel, a slovenly person came into the Church with a rope in his hands. Disappointed, and not understanding the cause of the weak involvement of the faithful, the priest nevertheless celebrated Mass with love and preached with enthusiasm and zeal.

On his way home after Mass, he was robbed and beaten by two thieves who took the folder containing his Bible and other valued belongings. Arriving at the rectory and after bandaging his wounds, the priest described his day as "The saddest day of my life, a failure of my ministry, and the most unfruitful day of my career. But, never mind, I do everything with God and for Him."

Five years later, the priest decided to share this story with the parishioners at church. When he was finished, a couple in the parish stopped him and said, "Father, the couple in the story that sat at the back was us. We were on the brink of separation because of several problems and disagreements in our home. That night we decided to divorce, but first we agreed to come to church one last time as a couple and then each one would follow their path. Meanwhile, we left the thought of divorce aside after listening to your homily that night. As a consequence, today we are here with our home and family restored."

As the couple spoke, one of the most successful entrepreneurs who helped in the livelihood of that church saluted, asking to speak and said "Father, I am the person who came in half-dirty holding a rope. I was on the verge of bankruptcy, lost in drugs, my wife and children had left our home on account of my behavior. That night I tried to kill myself but the rope broke, so I went out to buy another one. On my way, I saw the church open and decided to come in, even though I was very dirty and had the rope in my hands. That night, your homily pierced my heart and I walked out of the church a changed person. Today I'm off drugs, my family came home, and I became the most successful businessman in town."

At the gate of the sacristy entrance, the Deacon shouted, "Father, I was one of those thieves who stole your belongings. The other one died that same night while we were doing a second robbery. In his briefcase, there was a Bible. When I would awaken in the morning, I would read from it. After all this reading, I decided to apply it to my life and participate in this church."

The priest was shocked, and started crying along with the faithful. The night which he had regarded as a night of failure, had indeed been very productive.

The moral of the story? Exercise your calling with dedication and zeal. Give it your best every day because you are an instrument of good for someone's life. In the worst days of your life, you can still be a blessing to someone else. God can use the "bad circumstances" of a life to produce the best for others.

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