Thursday, April 24, 2008

3:01 PM

Good Friday.

I came from the church after blessing the seven speakers who would be giving their reflections on the "Seven Last Words" of Jesus while He was on the cross. I sat down on one of the pews at the back of the church, listening at the reflection on the first word.

I felt the pain in my back becoming more painful.

The pain had been with me since morning. It was there but it was not a bother. It was just irritating. I was hoping that it would go away as the day progressed.

It did not.

Instead, it got more painful, horribly painful! I was preparing to go down to hear confessions for the afternoon after our lunch, when I felt it! It was excruciating!

Fr. Eric was at his door when I went out of my room. I told him that my back was painful. And as we were talking, the pain was getting worse! I was already on my knees; then sat on the chair; turned around, knelt and sat and turned! I was looking for a position that would ease the pain!

"Call the Doctor!" I cried. I must have looked terrible because Fr.Eric was soon dialing the phone looking for the Doctor. I was having cold sweat! I could see my hands trembling in pain, the color becoming ashen.

The people from the office were running up to the rectory. Dr. Leopoldo Manalo was with them. He checked on me. He suggested that he would bring me to the hospital.

"It might be your kidney stones, Father", he said.

He gave me a pain reliever to take.

We rode in his car as he drove me to the hospital.

I prayed: "Jesus, I trust in you."

While on the way to the hospital, I called my cousin, a doctor in the hospital where we would go. I could not reach her. But I knew that she would call back when she would see the "missed call" on her cellphone.

We reached the emergency room. The pain was still unbearable! My cousin was able to reach me and called my cellphone. She asked me why I called her. I told her that I was at the hospital right now; my back was hurting so bad! She asked me to give the phone to the attending physician. She told me she would call again, after the initial check up.

I was told to sit near the examination table. As I did so, I felt something warm over my back. It was like a slight caress, warm and soothing.

I realized I could sit straight. The pain was gone!

I told Dr. Manalo who had not left me in the emergency room: "Doc, the pain is gone! I am alright!"

It was then that my cousin called me up again. I told her that the pain was gone! That I was alright! She told me that I had to be admitted, and undergo several medical tests, like the ultrasound and x-ray. I was admitted and brought to my room. But I was so upbeat.

When I was brought in at the Ultrasound room, the doctor told me that he could not find the stone that caused me great pain. She said there were two "stones" in my kidneys, one on each. But these were not the ones that were causing me pain. The one that "moved" down caused the pain. And she could not find it. She said, "You must have flushed it down when you urinated."

I did not say anything. I knew that I had not urinated since I arrived at the hospital. How could I flush the "stone" down?
It was Good Friday. The day of God's Mercy. At three o'clock in the afternoon, according to the Gospels, Jesus died. That hour was the hour of God's Great Mercy!

While, being rushed to the hospital, some parishioners who got to know about it, went at once to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Divine Mercy and prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.

I know. I believe that it was God's mercy that soothed and caressed my back and removed the pain that had been causing me so much anguish.

While I was resting on my hospital bed, I took my cellphone and looked at what hour my cousin called me the second time when I told her that the pain was gone.

I scrolled down the phone. I saw; and I believed!

It was 3:01 PM.