Quiet Storm by Nick F. Lalog II, 15 October 2019
Which is more difficult to confront, the fact of dying or that of suffering through a serious sickness? I have been thinking these for the past couple of days following my recent visitations of sick parishioners.
Today I visited a parishioner sick for the past three months with a lung disease. She’s 76 years old.
Right upon seeing me, Lola Milagros cried, telling me to ask God to take her because she’s so tired of suffering and waiting for death.
I just let her cry, holding her hands, as I listened to her pouring out of her aches and pains.
After that, I whispered to her the words of St. Teresa de Avila whose feast we are also celebrating today:
Nada te turbe… Solo Dios basta! (Let nothing disturb you… only God suffices!)St. Teresa De Avila
So beautiful to hear and yes, easier said than done.
Can anybody with a serious ailment be not disturbed?
Been asking myself the same questions too. It is difficult not to be disturbed when one is sick. Aside from the costs of treatment are the enormous pains and sufferings one has to go through with the medical procedures and its many effects to the patient, who eventually would die.
It is a reality getting closer to home with me and I must confess, I am disturbed. Worried. And afraid.
The other week I visited another sick parishioner named Charlie, a former cook paralysed waist down due to a spine injury. He is only in his early 50’s.
What struck me when I saw him were the ropes tied to his both feet. I could not figure out how he could be restless when he is paralysed that his feet have to be tied?
He explained, “Father, I pity my wife when I have to wake her up every night just to move my legs. So, I improvised these ropes tied to my feet so I can just pull them with my hands in case I have to change positions even at night.”
Oh God! What a great love of a man to his wife!
Charlie loves his wife so much that he does not want her to be disturbed with his ailment and condition.
When there is love, we are not disturbed. And the only true love that can make us undisturbed is the love of Jesus Christ, the only perfect love we can have and find.
Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.St. Teresa de Avila
“Love calls for love in return.”
So beautiful words by St. Teresa de Avila.
We can only truly feel that personal love of Jesus if we are also personally in love with him.
We are disturbed with so many things in life when there is not enough love in our hearts, when we have not felt loved enough by others too.
Without love, we would always be disturbed.
I told Lola Milagros this morning to thank God for the gift of tears because they are prayers coming straight from her heart. That God knows very well all her pains and sufferings. Most of all, I told her tears are clear signs of love in her heart.
Later on my way home, Lola Milagros’ daughter was also teary-eyed as she told me she was so glad to see her mother cried. According to her, Lola Milagros is a very tough woman of the “old school” who tried to bear everything and even hide what’s inside her so as not to disturb them. She always wanted them to be assured all’s fine.
Lola Milagros and Charlie do not want to disturb their respective family because they love them. It is love that moves the sick not to disturb others and it is also love that enables us to assure them not to be disturbed.
The challenge therefore is not to reflect on whether to die instantly or slowly but to always love truly!
Human love is always imperfect. Only God can love us perfectly. This he did exactly to us when he sent us Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for us.
To love truly is be personally one in Jesus Christ. When we were still seminarians, Fr. Memeng used to tell us in our class “Priestly Spirituality” that “if we can really cultivate a deep prayer life, we can also experience Jesus Christ in the most personal way.” It is the experience of St. Teresa de Avila and all the other saints.
Nothing can disturb us in this life when our love is borne out of a personal relationship with Jesus in prayer.
Prayer life is more than reciting prayers by following a schedule. Prayer life is a relationship, a communing with God, of being our true selves before him, seeing ourselves as he sees us. And because of this assurance of his love despite our many sins and flaws, that is when we are not disturbed because God loves us no matter what.
When we are not disturbed, then we become silent. Presence is more than enough to share and experience God’s love. St. Paul said “love is not pompous” because true love is always silent, more on deeds than on words.
One thing amusing with death is that it always comes in silence, when we least expect it. Whether we die instantly or slowly, it always happens in silence. And that is also why many are disturbed of dying.
But, if we love patiently our self, others and God, nothing can ever disturb us because when we love, we are already in God. That is when we realize too the wisdom and truth of St. Teresa’s contemporary who claimed that
A soul that walks in love is neither tired nor gets tired.San Juan dela Cruz
Let us love, love, and love until the end onto eternity.
Only God suffices because God is love. Amen.