In Malta we have an old convent built in 1623. For many decades it served as the Missionary College for the Discalced Carmelite Fathers as a training center for the missions in the Middle East. It is a huge, four story building, with massive imposing walls… I spent my first years of my priesthood there – Saint Teresa’s Priory, Cospicua.
There a small incident happened to me which opened news vistas in my perception of God.
It must have been just before midnight when someone rang the doorbell of our convent. He rang once, twice, three times. When someone calls at that hour of the night, we assume it is an emergency. Normally it is someone dying and the relatives or the neighbors calls us to give the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.
“Hello! Anything wrong? Do you need anything?” asked one of us who was looking out from the window above. It was a young man eighteen or twenty years old.
“Yes, I would like to speak to Father Pius,” answered casually this young man.
The Father came and knocked at the door of my room, for I was already asleep. I went downstairs wondering what is happening. “It must be some serious, urgent problem, ” I kept thinking as I went down the stairs.
“Father, I need a favor from you,” the young man began.
“Of course if I can help, it will be a pleasure,” I answered.
“You see, Father, I heard that tomorrow you are going to England. Do you mind buying something for me while you are there?”
My mind immediately screamed medicine or something more urgent and serious.
So I was really taken aback when he announced:
“You see, Father, I am engaged and my girlfriend loves this kind of chocolate. Would you mind buying me this kind of chocolate while you are there?” And he handed some English currency pound notes.
I felt like screaming… and definitely I cannot transcribe here my interior reaction – “Lord forgive me!!”. But as I was aboard the airplane flying to England, I remember an idea passed through my mind – an idea that has accompanied me all these years.
If a young man is willing to hassle people so much to please his girlfriend…waking up a whole convent at midnight, calling me down from my room, acquiring English currency … how much more will God – who created the heart of the young man! – do for you and me just to make us happy? If this young man was so creative just to see his girlfriend smile, how much more does God invent things simply to add beauty to our lives. His only ambition is to make us happy! Our lives must be full of His delicate touches! If only we perceive them more. Yes, if only!
It was well after midday. A typical warm Maltese day. I was returning from a talk to the Sisters on the bus. Being very tired I felt asleep. I awoke with a start and immediately I realized that I had well missed the bus stop where I was supposed to come down. Being drowsy and tired, and it was so hot outside, I just did not relish this extra walk. However…. as soon as I got off the bus someone honked his horn at me. It was my brother, Victor!. “The Lord really loves you,” he said as I got into his car. “I should not be here now. It is entirely by chance that I am passing this way.”
“And it is entirely by chance I got off the bus here,” was my hushed reply.
In my heart, I said, “Lord, do you really love me so much?”
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.