There are no coincidences. There is a plan. To participate is to be led by the Spirit as a story I was told some years ago shows...
One night, about 3am, the phone rang in the Presbytery. The PP answered it and the caller enquired “Is that the funeral home ?” ; “No, we are all alive here, only sleeping, its 3am” was the response. The caller went onto explain that he had just returned from the USA having heard that his mother had just died and was trying to find out where she was. The Priest recognised the name; he was to conduct the mother’s funeral that week.
The plot thickened; as the son told him how he had left under a cloud, the ‘blacksheep’ of the family you could say, and although he wanted to attend his mother’s funeral he was a bit concerned about how he would be received by the rest of the family. Perhaps Fr.. could smooth things over for him ? He agreed to do so.
At the funeral, when he came in all his relatives embraced him and welcomed him, somehow the death in the family became a source of unity and they all cried together and were reconciled and put past events behind them.
The son was so pleased that he heartily thanked the PP for his help and said that “if there is anything I can ever do for you, just let me know and I will” The priest thought this over for a few moments and said “actually there is one thing, I’m having a Life in the Spirit Seminar here for the next few weeks and I’d like you to attend”
His face dropped at the prospect of having to spend a half a dozen evenings in church; He had been away from the church for a very long time, born into the Catholic church but never really deciding to be one. However he was grateful and so agreed to attend, just to please him.
As the weeks went by, and he listened to the teachings and testimonies of these “born again” Catholics, he received the gift of faith, it all started to make sense to him, the love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He decided for God , was reconciled with Him and received His mercy and forgiveness.
A complete change came over him, the same zeal and dedication he had once had for sin, he now had for God and wanted to share this good news with others. Soon his family, amazed at his transformation, were attending the next Life in the Spirit seminar, as were some old friends. He was happy and at peace at last.
A couple of months later, still in his twenties, he had a heart attack and died.