Last Sunday I couldn’t find my driving licence. I only realised I had misplaced it when I started preparing the car for its M.O.T. which was scheduled for Monday. I looked inside my wallet and realised that my driving licence wasn’t in the place it is usually to be found. For years I have kept my licence in this one place, but somewhere in my mind there was a vague recollection of removing it recently for reasons that I do not now remember. I began searching every drawer in my office at St. Mungo’s, through folders, in-trays and out-trays. Later I searched every drawer of my room at the house in Bishopbriggs. I searched in the pockets of every jacket and coat, every shirt and trousers. I searched the pockets of the little rucksack I often carry around with me. I tried my wallet once again, and repeated the search through drawers and pockets. I searched through the mound of unprocessed papers on my desk and chair, and on top of my bed (I have a lot of unprocessed papers).
By now I was in a mild state of panic and increasing frustration. I searched other bags I sometimes carry when I travel, but still to no avail. I promised St. Anthony twice the usual finding rate. I sought the intercession of St. Charles of Mount Argus in the hope he might look favourably on me as the one-time Vice-Postulator of his cause for Canonization. As it was the month of June I informed the Sacred Heart repeatedly that I placed all my trust in Him. As a last resort, I began leafing through books I had been using in the recent past. In the fifth book I came to, the Glenstal Book of Prayer, marking page 34 for Tuesday Evening Vespers, there it was. A surge of relief swept through me and I was able to get on with the task in hand of clearing out the car, with a lighter heart and an easier mind.
I’ve noticed recently that I am misplacing things more and more, my keys, my wallet, my phone, and so on. It usually happens when I am in a rush or when I am trying to do too many things at one time. I suppose the biggest thing I’ve ever lost is my car. It was while I was still rector and parish priest in Mount Argus and I had to go to a meeting in Holland as secretary to the North European Conference of Passionists. The meeting began on a Thursday evening and was due to end on the Saturday evening. I had booked a flight back from Amsterdam to Dublin on the Sunday morning and had scheduled myself to celebrate public Mass in Mount Argus at 4pm on Sunday afternoon. The only thing was that I had been running late the day I left Dublin and had forgotten to take any heed of where I had left the car in the long-term car park at Dublin Airport, and on arrival I really did not have a clue where it was. After walking up and down, row after row, as ever invoking Saint Anthony, but to no avail, I had to call the monastery and ask if there was someone who was able to stand in and celebrate the 4pm Mass for me, which thankfully there was. At least that took the pressure off, and it was at least an hour and a half later that I found my car and eventually made it home. Needless to say that, ever since, if I use a long-term car park, I write the location down on my ticket.
Ironically, the page where I had placed my driving licence as a bookmark last week, in the Glenstal Book of Prayer, was marking Psalm 26 which contains the verse: “It is your face, O Lord, that I seek, hide not your face”. Whatever else I may lose in my life; may I never lose the face of the Lord, and may the Lord’s face never lose sight of me. You might like St. Anselm’s prayer for those searching for God:
O Lord my God, teach my heart this day where and how to see you, where and how to find you. You have made me and remade me, and you have bestowed on me all the good things I possess, and still I do not know you. I have not yet done that for which I was made. Teach me to seek you for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you. Let me love you when I find you. Amen.