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Eucharistic ABCs

Fr. Francis Ongkingco

Whatever

 

“The woman in the second floor was dying of cancer,” my priest friend narrated how the sick call went.

“Eight children, she had, you say?”

“Yes,” he sighed deeply, lowering his head in deep thought.

“She was diagnosed with cancer when they discovered she was pregnant.”

“The doctors recommended an abortion, so she could start with her chemo immediately. She refused and decided to give birth to her eighth child.”

“That’s one tough and holy woman,” I remarked.

He continued in his thoughts while taking his coffee.

“So you were saying that our Lord had taught you something special?” I added.

“Yes, I would usually come early in the morning to attend to her. That way I would have the afternoon free for other pastoral duties. Moreover, she was more rested in the mornings.”

“By the time I met her, the family had already resorted to alternative medication due to financial constraints. They felt there was more hope in this natural form of treatment.”

“But even that didn’t help,” I concluded.

“Naturally. At the stage she was in, only a miracle could cure her.”

“And the miracle that healed you?” I was eager to hear his story.

“Not completely though…,” he curtly replied and smiled. He must have sensed my childish curiosity.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “If it’s too personal…,” I said.

“It is personal, but I don’t mind sharing it at all. Besides, it may become clearer to me if someone gave his take on my experience. Who knows, the miracle might completely work itself in me as a priest,” he looked blankly at his slice of blueberry cheesecake.

“I’m open to whatever you have,” I said setting my own dessert aside to pay full attention to what he was going to share.

“I really couldn’t make much of it, but it struck me in a way no other experience did.”

* * *

“I arrived rather early that day. When I entered the husband kindly informed me that they had to still prepare her since she had undergone a procedure that caused her some physical strain.”

“The couple owned a simple nursery school. They hoped that this would support the needs of their numerous family.”

“The husband explained that the only chairs available where the kiddy-sized ones for children.”

“You mean those tiny, colorful ones?” I said.

“Yup. But it was no problem at all. Our Lord and I can manage. I placed our Lord inside the pyx between the two candles they had devotedly prepared.”

“For our Lord, I guess it won’t be a problem, but for your size,” I laughed imagining how he must have looked squeezed into those tiny rickety chairs.

“So there I was, in a classroom filled with children’s illustrations, ABCs bordering the top of an old, green chalkboard and the numbers 1 to 10 trailing both ends.”

He paused for a few seconds as if trying compose his thoughts better.

“Then the class began,” he said.

“The class?” I seemed to have lost him.

“The class! I mean, that’s when Jesus gave me a class.”

“Jesus, gave you a class?” I was amused by the way put said it.

“Yes! It began with Him just making use of the things inside the classroom.”

“What kind of a class was it?”

“Our Lord silently ‘sat’ between the candles, and without words made me realize some of the simplest but powerful things in life.”

“Reeeally!!!?” I straightened up to absorb better these ‘lessons’.

“He called my attention to the letters of the Alphabet and said, ‘No letters nor words in the world can fully describe my love for mankind. Despite this, I have given man the gift of calling me by my name, Jesus; and calling my

Father your Father, and the Holy Spirit as your Advocate.’”

I could see how emotional he relived the very experience he was sharing.

“Then I turned to the numbers and Jesus whispered, ‘…numbers or calculations cannot quantify or measure the weight of what I have offered to love every person… No formula can equate how the Father and I are one, and how He is in me as I am in Him.’”

“But that’s not the best part,” my friend didn’t even allow me a second’s breath.

“Huh?”

“It is the closing lesson!”

“That is?” I asked.

“Jesus said, ‘But all that I have said is much easier to comprehend than the madness with which I allow the greatness of my Love to be finitely vulnerable for man now.’”

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