The first time I experienced God’s presence was in a hospital room where my whole family witnessed the passing away of my father. He had felt abandoned by God but, after laborious searching for answers, made his last confession, received the sacraments and died a peaceful death in complete surrender to God. I was deeply moved by that experience which confirmed my belief there is a loving God and convinced me that death is nothing to be scared of.
Thirteen years later, in 1992, I was diagnosed with cancer and given two months to live. To the amazement of my relatives and friends, I welcomed my imminent death with peace and joy, feelings I had never experienced before. I resigned from my job and went back to the Philippines to say farewell to my family. My oncologist there confirmed that I was dying of cancer, which was spreading rapidly.
The same priest who prepared daddy for a happy death advised me to read a chapter of the bible every day. What struck me most was the parable of the fig tree in Luke 13. The message I got was I need to be fruitful, that is, to do good deeds, to reach out to our less fortunate brothers and sisters, the poor, the sick, the lonely, the oppressed and victims of injustice. I understand we can only go to heaven because of God’s loving mercy and not through our own merits, but doing good deeds as emphasised in Matthew 25. ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food’ and so on.
I received the anointing of the sick and as the days passed I felt better. After several months I had another CT scan and the results showed no sign of cancer. I came back to Australia after a year and my doctors here were all surprised and happy to see me still alive, especially as I did not have any treatment. Another series of tests have shown I have been healed.
The Life In The Eucharist (LITE) program has taught me to consciously and actively participate in the Mass. This has renewed me and I now feel ready to be of service to our less fortunate brothers and sisters by being a member of the LITE team. Having been nourished and strengthened by the Bread of Life I will do what is pleasing to him by obeying his commandments and being of service to him through others. I hope to enjoy his welcome when I meet him face to face.