By Bernie Lopez firstname.lastname@example.org Permission is granted to re-publish with credits and notification.
Strangely, at the age of 24, Leo developed stage 1 cancer of the colon. The doctor advised no invasive operation to cut off the infected portion. Instead, he prescribed a rigorous diet of fruits and vegetables, no processed food, no fried meat or fish, no fats, no alcohol, a lot of anti-cancer herbs, and most of all no stress and plenty of prayer. Leo followed this prescription with fanatical devotion.
To avoid stress, being well to do, Leo decided to abandon a prestigious career as creative director in a multinational advertising agency. He did a lot of praying, asking the Lord what He wanted him to do. Trying to discern the Lord’s will, he decided to devote his life, whatever was left of it, to please Him by bringing people closer to Him. He conceived of a project to donate a large grotto of Our Lady of Peace in the campus of his alma mater, a Jesuit university. His goal was to give students the opportunity to pray and meditate. He chose the quiet corner of a large garden where many would sit on the grass to study or chat.
The first step was to raise the funds. Excitedly, he approached the CEOs of the clients of his former ad agency. He wrote a nice proposal with an artist’s sketch of the grotto. He visited the CEOs personally one by one. The first five VIPs he approached refused to help. He prayed, “Lord, touch their hearts to give. This project is for You, not for me.” Undaunted, he approached 35 more people in a four-month ‘door-to-door’ frenzy. But alas, no one wanted to help.
So he said, “Lord, it seems it is not Your will for me to build a grotto for Your mother. So what do you want me to do? I am at a loss. Let me discern Your will.” so he gave up, full of frustration. He had a powerful will, but it was now eroding slowly. He was beginning to lose his faith in the Lord. Slowly, he stopped praying.
He was angry with himself, not with the Lord. Despair and depression began to seep into his soul. His kidney cancer graduated to stage 2. He knew that stress would make his cancer worse, but what could he do. So Leo finally gave up on his project. But he clung to his faith, and would force himself to go to church once in a while. Hope and despair were having a war inside him. It was inside a restaurant were God’s will began to unfold. An old man approached him.
OLD MAN. Hello there, young man. I noticed your attaché case has the initial LCB. Would you happen to be the guy Leo?
LEO. (Surprised.) Yes, I am.
OLD MAN. (Taking out a piece of crumpled paper from his pocket.) I got this a year ago from a friend. I kept it. I was looking for you, prayed to the Lord that one day I would stumble into you. Suddenly, finally, here you are. This is no coincidence.
Seeing the crumpled sketch of the proposed grotto, Leo was speechless.
OLD MAN. Tell you what, why settle for a puny grotto. Why don’t we build a cathedral?
LEO. A cathedral?
OLD MAN. Yes. Do you see that vacant lot over there? We will build a house of prayer for the Lord right there, you and I, a modest cathedral, a little smaller than Notre Dame in Paris. Jesus on the right side of the altar, Mama Mary on the left. I could have built this church on my own, but somehow your sketch told me you must be a part of it all. So I was willing to wait for the Lord’s will to unfold. I know, I know, your silence means a yes. Let’s go. Let’s move. We can’t make the Lord wait.
LEO. Strange how He can make us wait for a century, but we can’t make Him wait one tiny second.
OLD MAN. Yes, His ways are not our ways. You see, our will must somehow seek His will. When they coincide, perfect. But getting there may be hard. Sometimes, when we are at the edge of a cliff, so near falling into the bottomless pit, He is suddenly there beside us. The secret is to let His ways unfold and not stick too much to our ways. Let Him unfold Himself to us. He told Maria Esperanza that she would be His messenger. She waited and waited. Twenty years and four children passed by, nothing. Then at the dead of night He came like a thunderbolt. The messages she had to convey came like machine gun fire.
LEO. But why does He make us walk through hot embers before He catches us?
OLD MAN. Is your faith now stronger than ever?
LEO. Yes, more than ever.
OLD MAN. So you just answered your own question.
Leo’s cancer graduated to stage 4, but he just laughed at the doctor, who said he had two months to live. It has been two years, and Leo is never better. The cathedral took seven years to build, the largest in the nation. It became a pilgrim’s center for terminal cancer patients, who seemed to live beyond stage 4 and 5. People from all walks of life, from Europe and America came, after hearing stories of people going home cancer-free.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SIDE BAR – POPE FRANCIS AND THE FAMILY IN CRISIS (Inquirer) http://opinion.inquirer.net/79083/pope-francis-and-the-family-in-crisis ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My thoughts are not your thoughts My ways are not your ways as high as the heavens are above the earth so are My ways above your ways and My thoughts above your thoughts
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ He jolts us in our indifference soothes us in our despair He is the lull and the storm He greens our pastures that He will burn He makes us blind so we can see He makes as sick so we can seek His healing He burns our home so we can seek His shelter the greatest wisdom is to see that His ways are not our ways to surrender to His will in our darkness and despair
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ you ask for rain He gives you a storm that will strengthen you for a coming battle you ask for food He gives you hunger that will cleanse you from your material ways but when you ask for a leaf He gives you a forest He gives more than you ask for His ways are not your ways, His time not your time He is a mystery and we are blind to His wisdom the way we see things is enclosed in time and space beyond which are His limitless ways
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I shall pursue you like an eagle after prey even as you flee from Me you shall be in the warmth of My home before the sun sets, before darkness falls before the blizzard blows for you are precious to Me and My Father
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ the Lord of fear and punishment is the Lord of love and salvation He sends deluge and plague deliverance and healing, light and darkness such is the mystery of His ways He brings us pain so we grow closer to Him His path suddenly shifts from crooked and stony to straight and grassy praise be to You, Lord
click photo to blow-up