Prayer Request for Adel

Adel has been my co-catechist for almost one year now. Together with Anne, my catechist, we agreed that they will continue to catechise me at home even after my baptism since I was unable to attend the RCIA Sessions (Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults) usually conducted after Sunday Mass. We also discovered that Adel?s son Matthew and I were schoolmates for eleven years, first at La Salle School up to Form Three and then St. Xavier?s Institution during our upper secondary years. We were also in the school athletics team together. Matthew and I have not met since we left school after Form Five.

Adel is more than a catechist to me. Together with the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit?s Prayer Group, she had come to pray for Mum the night before Mum passed away and again when Mum?s ashes were interred at the columbarium seven days later. Apart from our regular Tuesday catechism sessions, Adel has also taken special concern for my well-being, knowing that I was suffering from chronic kidney failure. She would call to check on me every now and then. On a few occasions, she had dropped in together with her fellow secular Franciscans of the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) who were on their rounds visiting the infirmed in the hospitals to pray for me and even celebrated my birthday with me this year.

Adel will be going for an operation next week. I pray that the Good Lord will keep her safe. Despite being ill for a while now, Adel has never let that hold her down. Instead she continued to serve God. She put her nursing skills to good use after her retirement by reaching out to comfort those in need. Many have been touched by her tireless effort. Please pray for Adel that she may be blessed with the grace of God and that her operation will be successful and her recovery quick.

Doubting God

?Pray that God will do what is best for her,? Uncle Paul said.

That did not sound very encouraging. I had expected him to say something that steeped with more hope. If God wanted to help, He should restore Mum back to health, I reasoned silently. That is what God is for ? to answer all prayers. Nevertheless, that day was also the first time in my life that I had prayed with all my heart and sincerity. ?Heal Mum, and I will be a believer. I will dedicate my life to spreading Your Word to all who care to listen,? I bargained with God.

My eyes were closed and my mind deep in prayer when I saw the most blissful sight of Mum, her face smiling and radiating a soft soothing brightness unlike anything I had seen before. And when I saw her being lifted up by two angels, her expression was still as serene. A few hours later, Mum breathed her last in my arms as I whispered into her ear, telling her that she is with Jesus already.

I sat there looking at Mum?s lifeless body as immeasurable pain ate into my soul. ?Why have You not answered my prayers?? I asked God. ?This is the only time I have asked you for anything.?

I wondered if there really is a God then. If there is, He obviously did not answer my prayers, one that came from the heart, the heart of a grieving son. If God does not answer prayers, what good is there in praying? What good is there in worshipping a God who just watches and does nothing? All I knew was that God had not given me what I had asked for. That was reason enough for my skepticism.

If truth be told, my prayers were answered not the way I wanted but in a way that was the best for Mum, like Uncle Paul had said. She no longer suffered, her soul freed from the body that no longer could sustain it. Did God answer my prayers? I truly believe that I was given that vision just before Mum passed away for many reasons, above all in answer to my prayers.

I was blessed with the privilege to see Mum in such peaceful composure for one last time. After so many months of seeing her in absolute agony, that angelic image of her greatly soothed me. That image of Mum is now eternally imprinted in my mind ? that beautiful serene face that smiled to me and seemed to be saying that all is well with her again. That is how I want to remember Mum. That is how I will remember Mum. Does God answer prayers? In His own ways, in His own time, all prayers are answered. No doubt about that.

You Are Not Alone

The bookmark that
Adel gave me.
Someone I know had an operation last week. Surgeries, no matter minor or major, are always harrowing, not only for those undergoing it, but for family and friends as well. We stood by and worried, wishing that there was something that we could do to ease the pain, the fear and the uncertainties but there was little that we could do except pray.

The surgeons have done their job. Now is the time for healing – physically, emotionally and spiritually. We want you to know that no matter what, we will always stand by you, giving you all the support that we possibly can. You can always depend on us when you need someone to talk to.

I do not know what faith you are inclined towards but I will lift you up to God in prayer, everyday. When all that is humanly possible has been done, the one other thing that we can do is surrender ourselves to Him. He will never allow us carry more than we can bear. Trust in His Providence and all will be well again. He has worked wonders for me. I am confident that He will do the same for you.

When you feel that the world around you is falling apart, do not lose heart. Remember The Serenity Prayer. It has consoled me many times when I felt that my life was spiralling out of control. Know that irrespective of what your beliefs are, Jesus loves you all the same and is walking with you every step of the way. And also know that we are not far behind should you need us. Here is wishing you a speedy recovery.

The Serenity Prayer
by Reinhold Niebuhr

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.