Dirty rugs, foul-smelling shit, or a mountain of trash are always unsightly and abhored by man. I say that I may be filthier than all those; a sinner.
Man sees the face, the fancy clothes, the flashing cars, the big and manicured lawns, the fat bank account, the ladder of success, etc. Man judges by these standards.
But God, the God of Mercy, does not look at our sins. He sees our hearts. He does not judge. When I returned to Him, God said, “I have thrown away your sins; Sin no more!”
One day, after my personal and closed-door prayer with God, He asked me to go to a church. “Go there because I want you to do something,” he said. The church that He wanted me to visit was at least an hour-ride from our home. Worse, I had no means to travel. I only had a Hundred Pesos in my wallet. I just resigned from my job and I had no other means at the moment. So I complained, “How can I go with only this?” But He persisted in His instruction saying, “Go and trust Me!”
Obeying His words and trusting Him, I went to the terminal where Jeepneys plied that route. I only had Ninety Pesos left of my One Hundred Pesos. I rode in one and timidly asked the Conductor of the Jeepney for the cost of traveling to that Church. “Fifty pesos is our fare,” he said. So that would be a hundred pesos travel with the Jeepney. But I still needed two more rides from the terminal to our home. My money was not enough. Again, I asked the Lord, “How can I go home? Should I walk?”
The Lord listens to our prayers.
Right at that moment, the Jeepney stopped in front of a store that sold slippers. I was in a high-heeled sandals. If I wanted to walk, I definitely needed slippers. My eyes almost popped out from their big sockets. “Dear God, I am only joking!” I said. I could not walk that far alone. True indeed, the jeepney speeded off.
I told the Conductor of the Jeepney that I needed to stop in that Church. After almost an hour, with all the stop-overs for more passengers and the going-down of other passengers along the way, the Jeepney stopped in front of the Church.
The gate was open. The lawn was well-trimmed. Flowers were blooming. Obviously, someone took care of the garden. The front door was closed as it was already almost ten in the morning. So again, I complained to the Lord, “I am here, Lord. But, the door is closed!”
God listens intently and we have to listen to him, too.
“Go to the side of the Church; there is another door that is open,” the Lord said.
And so I went. Indeed, there was a side door. And lo and behold! In contrast to the well-manicured lawn, the Church inside was dirty and pieces of paper and newspaper were scattered all around. And there! There were two big dogs tied to two pews.
“Lord, what do you want me to do?” I quivered. “Clean my Church!” he said. As if my Lord was not satisfied with the order, He said, “Look up!” I looked up and I saw that while the entire church was newly painted, the part directly above the altar remained unpainted and dirty.
“What do you want me to do, my Lord?” I asked again.
“Have this part painted,” my Lord said. “But my Lord, I do not have the money to buy for the paint and for the labor cost that may be needed to complete the job,” I answered. “You can ask someone to help you and you need to finish that before the start of the Holy Week!” He added. It was only three days before the start of the Holy Week then.
“Go, call your friend whose work is just infront of this Church. Ask her to clean the Church with you. You can also ask her to tell her Superiors to paint this part of the Church.” Then I remembered that my Lady Friend was working for this company in this town. So I called her. She was also shocked when she heard my voice and my story. Immediately, she came over. We had goose bumps and we were both crying while praying. Still crying, we started cleaning the Church. We got the brooms and the rugs from the Church Staff who was doing something in the Church Office.
My Lady Friend and I finished the cleaning of the Church at around twelve o’clock noon. My Lady Friend said, “Ma’am, why don’t I treat you to lunch.” I did not tell her that I did not have money to buy for lunch. Her generous offer was a blessing. So we had a simple lunch with tears rolling down because we could not understand what we went through.
After lunch, my friend reached into her pocket and handed me her one hundred peso bill. She said, “Ma’am, thank you for cleaning the Church with me. This is for your fare back home.” I cried! God knows what I needed at that moment. I did not even have to ask my Lady Friend to help me. I did not even ask God anymore. God knew that I needed something.
I thanked my Lady Friend and I told her the truth that I did not have money to bring me home. She cried. I cried. We were both crying when we parted.
When I got home, I prayed and I thanked God for inviting me to participate in His acts of generosity.
I thought that was the end of that journey. But no!
The next morning, after my morning prayer, my Lord said, “You have to go to your Aunt and ask help for the paint and the labor cost.” I was shocked because I had never in my life asked help from that wealthy Aunt of mine. “Lord, would not the company of my Lady Friend paint that part of the Church?” I asked. He said, “They did not believe in your Lady Friend. They even think that you are nuts!”
So off I went to my Aunt’s house. I did not know how to start my solicitation. But I prayed and boldly, I went straight to the point. I narrated the story to my Aunt. She was in awe and somehow she doubted. She wanted to give me cash for the paint, perhaps thinking that I was only making up a story and was trying to coax her to give me some money. I told her I would not accept any cash. She could let her Driver buy the paint and I would bring the paint to the Church.
God knows what we need.
On that same day, I was able to collect a small amount from someone. I had two thousand pesos in my wallet.
So with the 4 gallons of paint, I asked someone to go with me to the Church. We rode the Jeepney and after an hour we were in the Church. I directly went to the Church Office. The Staff already recognized me. He said, “Ma’am, the Parish Priest was asking for your name so he could thank you for cleaning the Church.” I told the Staff that there was no need for that. I gave him the 4 gallons of paint and I parted with my one thousand pesos to shoulder the cost of painting that part of the Church. The Staff wanted me to wait awhile so he can call the Parish Priest. I told him I did not want to be known. I told him I was nameless.
After praying inside the Church with tears freely flowing, I thanked God for blessing me in this mission.
The God of Wonders and Mysteries would always give us the opportunity to feel His love through deeds. It is when we experience His love that we would love Him more.
I am an unworthy servant but God does not choose only those who are spotless to become His soldier. He can also send the filthiest for His cause.