“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…”
My late uncle Dennis often reminded me that in his moments of despair when life appeared hopeless, he would ask Our Father for an ounce more of strength enabling him to walk that extra mile. When I was about nine years of age, Dennis recalled to me being taken prisoner near Benghazi by Italian troops in late 1942 marched for days to a POW camp, then shipped to another camp in Italy. Life seemed hopeless until the Italian Armistice in September, 1943 when the Italian POW camp sentries disappeared enabling the Allied prisoners to walk to the nearest village seeking help. Food and water was provided by friendly villagers with the local Carabinieri officers encouraging my uncle, and some 100 other Allied service personnel to walk south towards Allied lines meeting with advancing British forces.
Dennis never forgot the practical help provided by the Italian villagers, encouraging him some twenty five years later to visit the village of Santa Rosa reconnecting with the families who had generously shared their own rations in short supply for all.
There is a pleasant surprise in my uncle's story of answered prayers, for one of the children of the Bertolini family who had shared their meagre rations, Vincenzo had migrated to the UK searching for work settling in my uncle's home town of Swansea. On returning to Swansea from his Italian holiday Dennis met with Vincenzo at Monti's restaurant, where as a result of his hard work Vincenzo had become a partner in the business with another Italian immigrant. Dennis would become a regular patron of Monti's restaurant until his death.
Hope springs eternal when ever we understand that Our Father intervenes in our life, providing us with all that we will need to extricate us from our suffering, when trusting Him to answer our pleas for help.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
~ Matthew 7:7-8