The WORD in other words (2023) by Fr Patrico de los Reyes SVD – Holy Name Univesity, Bohol
24th Week in Ordinary Time
On November 21, 2005, at exactly 10:45 pm, I got out of the Provincial house (Botswana, Africa) to close the compound gate to prevent animals from coming in during the night. As I headed to the gate, already in my pajamas, an African man appeared suddenly behind me, and as I turned around, he, without a word, hit my head with an instrument that I thought to be an iron tube. I was told later when I woke up from coma that it was a machete. He must have intended to kill me because he was really hitting my head non-stop. I had seven fractures on my skull, five blood clots in my brain, a shattered left elbow, a dislocated left arm, and an almost severed forefinger on my right hand. I was out of the hospital before Christmas. My fast recovery was an amazing miracle according to the doctors who told me that actually I needed to be in the hospital for five months to heal and recover.
I know I am not worthy of the grace, but the good Lord has extended my life. He has been compassionate toward me. God made me realize his great love for me, and I felt his love deeply when I was in a coma. I felt I was forgiven fully. God gave me peace of mind and heart. He healed me and gave me back my earthly life. I reckon God would have no use of me dead. So, he let me live again so that I may still use my life for better things.
I believe God wants me to have greater respect for humanity and all creation. As I was recovering, God filled my soul with peace and understanding of humanity and gave me the strength and courage to face more challenges. God gave me the grace to forgive the man. Forgiveness became easy. My recovery was fast because of God’s gifts of peace, love, and forgiveness. I am loved, forgiven, healed, and brought back to life by God, despite myself and God demands that I do the same.
I must love God with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength. I must love my neighbor as I love myself. I must forgive those who I think have wronged me, not seven times but seventy-seven times. I must forgive no matter how gravely I am hurt. I must forgive no matter how deep the pain is, how deeply I am betrayed, how I have been disregarded and disrespected, no matter how I am insulted or persecuted. I must bring peace, joy, consolation, healing, and life for no other reason except that I am loved, forgiven, healed, and gifted with new life by God.