A Mother’s Touch

Antonio Zebedeo Abad, Holy Week 2020

Distress Call
I found Mom at her seat at the dining table leaning on her left elbow and thought she fell asleep after dinner. Then, she opened her eyes and said that she felt nauseated and her right arm is numb, although she can lift it up. She wanted to go to the restroom, but could not even stand with assistance. She rarely complains of any condition she is feeling, so this is very significant. We called the paramedics and they came within a few short minutes. They said that she doesn’t yet have stroke symptoms, but that is a high risk in her condition.
They took her to the hospital. She had intermittent emesis of dark fluid which appeared to be old blood. The doctor said she is having a bad hemorrhagic stroke. Dad and I comforted her. Dad held her right hand and I held her left hand. It was at that point that I was overcome by emotion. We prayed the rosary for Mama María’s intercession. Recall that all three of my sisters have Marie in their name.

In my early adulthood, I was brought to the hospital emergency room. My family and doctor were called. I was barely conscious with difficulty of inspiration. I felt someone hold my hand. I knew it was Mom.
Although the sheep know the shepherd’s voice John 10:27, children are of the same flesh as their mother. They recognize their mother by touch from the time of birth.
In my middle age over a period of ten years, I went through eight eye surgeries. It became routine for me to lay down on the operating table. These eye surgeries were hard under partial sedation with the patient instructed to participate. Once laid down, I always said, “Thy will be done.” Matthew 6:10. Then, the anesthesia was started.
Following all these surgeries were constant eye medication for several weeks and minor surgeries to tattoo the cornea to help accept the graft. I could only see from the non-operative eye. Mom was there to constantly medicate my eyes and hold my hand. I could not see well enough to pray the liturgy of the hours for lauds and vespers, so Mom recited them for me.

A haiku is a Japanes poetry form in three verses with strict syllabic count of 5-7-5.
My Good Friday meditation on Michelangelo’s Pieta summoned in me the following words in Tagalog:
Haplós ng Iná (A mother’s touch)
Hindi matutumbasán
(Cannot be equaled)
Sa kamatayan
(In death)

And I dedicate this version to Mom:
Haplós ng Iná (A mother’s touch)
Hindi matutumbasán
(Cannot be equaled)
Sa karamdaman
(In sickness)

In the aftermath of distress, we now know that Mom’s speech, swallowing, walking, and fine control of motor functions need rehabilitation that she is now going through. She can raise up both arms and touch her nose. Her mind is sharp and her memory crystal clear.
She is aware of everything and even remembers her bank balance. She reminds us of forthcoming birthdays and anniversaries and what gifts to give. She is true to her altruistic nature, thinking of others before herself.
She asked me, “Will I die?” I said, “No, you are not dying.” She said, “If I die, I have the life insurance policy.” She was not preoccupied with death, but her affairs. She is at peace. As if she echoed Christ’s words in the eighth station, “… do not weep for me …” Luke 23:28

The Gift of Less
Ludwig van Beethoven was greatly disturbed by his deafness, especially considering the lack of hearing devices in his day. Yet, his paramount achievement was composing his monumental Choral Symphony when he was already totally deaf. The words of Friedrich Schiller implored the world:

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.

Be embraced, Millions!
This kiss to all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Are you collapsing, millions?
Do you sense the creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy!
Above stars must He dwell.

Friedrich Schiller

The Open Window
There is a saying, “When God closes a door, he always opens a window.” I add to that, “It is through prayer that we find the open window. And we will go through many windows before we see the light. This is God’s hand that guides us through our calling. It is only by steadfast faith that we can make our way through this path. Thy will be done.”
In the past decades, my divine calling of circumstance has led me to minister to those with debilitating illness, terminal illness, and last stages of life. In recent times, I had received many prayer requests online even from priests, and I send them a special prayer I wrote inspired by the Holy Spirit and the many I had ministered to. Many persons had been healed. It is not the words of the prayer that heals. We can only invoke God’s name and He works through His Divine Healer, Archangel Raphael, also my son’s confirmation name, whose name in Hebrew means, “It is God who heals.” God will close doors and open windows. God’s will prevails. He has a plan for us. As St John of the Cross taught us, it is our faith and love that leads us and guides us through the dark night.

The Dark Night 
Songs of the soul that rejoices in having reached the high state of perfection, which is union with God, by the path of spiritual negation.
1. One dark night, fired with love’s urgent longings 
— ah, the sheer grace! —  
I went out unseen, 
my house being now all stilled. 
2. In darkness, and secure, 
by the secret ladder, disguised, 
— ah, the sheer grace! —  
in darkness and concealment, 
my house being now all stilled. 
3. On that glad night 
in secret, for no one saw me, 
nor did I look at anything 
with no other light or guide 
than the one that burned in my heart. 
4. This guided me 
more surely than the light of noon 
to where he was awaiting me 
— him I knew so well —  
there in a place where no one appeared. 
5. O guiding night! 
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united 
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover. 
6. Upon my flowering breast, 
which I kept wholly for him alone,
there he lay sleeping, 
and I caressing him 
there in a breeze from the fanning cedars. 
7. When the breeze blew from the turret, 
as I parted his hair,
it wounded my neck 
with its gentle hand, 
suspending all my senses. 
8. I abandoned and forgot myself, 
laying my face on my Beloved;
all things ceased; I went out from myself, 
leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies. 

Here is the Central Washington University Chamber Choir singing
Dark Night of a Soul set to music by Ola Gjeilo.

Noche Oscura 
Canciones del alma que se goza de haber llegado al alto estado de la perfección, que es la unión con Dios, por el camino de la negación espiritual.
1. En una noche oscura, 
con ansias, en amores inflamada
¡oh dichosa ventura!
salí sin ser notada 
estando ya mi casa sosegada. 
2. A oscuras y segura, 
por la secreta escala disfrazada,
¡Oh dichosa ventura! 
a oscuras y en celada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada. 
3. En la noche dichosa 
en secreto, que nadie me veía,
ni yo miraba cosa, 
sin otra luz y guía 
sino la que en el corazón ardía. 
4. Aquésta me guiaba 
más cierto que la luz del mediodía,
adonde me esperaba 
quien yo bien me sabía,
en parte donde nadie parecía. 
5. ¡Oh noche que guiaste!
¡Oh noche amable más que el alborada!
¡Oh noche que juntaste 
Amado con amada,
amada en el Amado transformada! 
6. En mi pecho florido 
que entero para él solo se guardaba,
allí quedó dormido, 
y yo le regalaba, 
y el ventalle de cedros aire daba 
7. El aire de la almena, 
cuando yo sus cabellos esparcía,
con su mano serena 
en mi cuello hería 
y todos mis sentidos suspendía. 
8. Quedéme y olvidéme, 
el rostro recliné sobre el Amado,
cesó todo y dejéme, 
dejando mí cuidado 
entre las azucenas olvidado.

The Collected Works of St John of the Cross
The Dark Night

Please join me in praying:

Lord God, you went to the house of the centurion and admired such great faith that he is not worthy that you should enter under his roof, but to only say the word and his slave shall be healed. With our steadfast faith for our brothers and sisters who are suffering from illness, we ask you to grant them patience and strength, enliven their hope, realize their unique gift to humanity and purification their illness brings, that with your blessing they may overcome their illness, and with your help gain a complete recovery in the name of St Raphael the Archangel, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Mt 8:8; Lk 7:6

Panginoong Diyos, tumungo ka sa bahay ng senturyon at humanga sa lubos na pananampalataya na hindi siya karapat-dapat na papasukin ka sa ilalim ng kanyang bubungan, nguni’t sa isang salita mo lamang ay gagaling na ang kanyang alipin. Sa pagiging matatag namin sa aming mga kapatid na nagdurusa sa karamdaman, hinihiling namin sa iyo na bigyan sila ng pagtitiis at lakas, patatagin ang kanilang pag-asa, mapagtanto ang kanilang natatanging gawad sa sangkatauhan at pagdalisay na idinudulot ng kanilang karamdaman, na sa iyong pagpapala ay maaaring magapi nila ang kanilang karamdaman, at sa iyong tulong makamtan nila ang buong paggaling sa ngalan ng Arkanhel Rafael, sa pamamagitan ni Hesucristo na aming Panginoon. Mt 8:8; Lk 7:6

error: Content is protected !!