One morning my family woke up to brown water coming from our taps.
Alarmed, I rang the emergency service of the water provider and was advised that due to an overnight repair, the pipes had a disturbance in the water main that stirred up deposits and would usually clear on its own within a few hours.
The time that I was unable to drink clean water freely left me reflecting on the many things we take for granted. We notice their significance only when they are gone.
Perhaps, the most significant loss I felt was the death of Fr. Fernando Suarez, a healing priest who died of a heart attack aged 52. Like millions of people around the world, I was in disbelief for a few weeks. When he came to Melbourne, I was asked to assist the core group of a parish to facilitate his healing mass.
Fr. Suarez was a popular figure and we followed his movements through the internet afterwards. For a time, I was a ‘fan’ until we heard controversial rumors being circulated worldwide and I lost interest somehow. I did not deem him guilty, just that with the negative things happening in Australia about our clergy, this was another burden to carry.
However, when he died, I was strangely drawn to listening to his past ministry work, his interviews, homilies and healing sessions. I persevered with what he had to say.
One night while praying for the poor souls, I seem to hear him say that heaven is such a beautiful place (at that time I was writing an article about people who had near-death experiences and messengers behind the veil) – that he was free from the pain and anguish of earthly life; that he fully appreciated his gift of healing, preaching and bringing the love of God to millions of people; that he held no anger, bitterness, resentment on those who persecuted him, for in heaven all is forgiven, only LOVE and LIGHT exist.
I questioned my own vision – I could be hearing myself and maybe it was my wishful thinking. I took the opportunity though to ask forgiveness from him, for I also doubted his integrity as a passing fancy. I was not close to him. There were moments I was ambivalent about his gifts due to social media influence.
Around the time that I prayed for him, I was struggling with two insect bites on my foot after a massive garden clean up. I had applied every cream I know, had gone to the doctor and was prescribed a steroidal ointment, but the stinging itch was so severe I could not sleep.
I tuned in to one of his healing masses on YouTube (convincing myself that I would lose nothing and perhaps, I could even prove his goodness in heaven) and claimed my healing while he was laying hands and prophesying on a skin condition.
The next day the insect bites calmed down, dried up and the itching stopped. I thanked Fr. Suarez in spirit and I remember the ministry of St. Therese of Lisieux who was instrumental to my healing of a serious illness in 1982. This Carmelite nun–dubbed the “greatest saint of modern times” by Pope Pius X–declared on her deathbed that she would spend her time in heaven “doing good upon earth, letting fall from heaven a shower of roses.”
In Australia, St Therese’s relics and her parents are on pilgrimage in April 2020 and we are blessed to honor them in one of the parishes I serve.
I believe in the communion of saints, blessed spirits in heaven who minister to us in our earthly journey – helping and cheering us on, praying for our strength. They are friends in high places. Fr Suarez, no doubt, can minister more now in heaven. In thanksgiving I would like to express this sentiment to him:
As a result of your ministry, men will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 2 Corinthians 9:13-14
Easter is a good time to thank the greatest person who showed us what true love is all about. St. Augustine said: “Nothing could be as beneficial as contemplating what Jesus endured for our sakes upon the Cross. No remedy could be as effective for the healing of our wounded souls as the continuous contemplation on the suffering of Christ.”
A reflection from passionofchrist.ca:
“When you see the scourged, beaten, disfigured Jesus carrying His Cross up the hill to Calvary to create a place for you in Paradise, you will be changed! As disciples of our Lord Jesus, we have a responsibility to pray for souls who are not in God’s grace. The responsibility of believers to help fallen souls is great! Prayer is the key that opens the heart of God and the Passion of Christ is the key that opens the human heart to understanding the greatness of God’s love.”
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