Love is Stronger than Death
Good News meditation.
by Good News Team | Source:
Love is Stronger than Death
Author Thanh Nguyen, LC
After Midnight, Day One
Paul, barely conscious, was on his way to the hospital again. His mother held him closely in the back seat of the car while his father behind the wheel was intent on getting there quickly.
Entering the emergency room, Paul released a muffled shriek because of the stabbing pain in his stomach.
At the hospital, a few days later
“…this time I will probably not leave the hospital…”, Paul wrote to his high school friends from his cell phone.
A week later
A whole week had gone by and still not even the slightest improvement was seen. Jessica, his mother, struggled to keep up his spirits. “You’ll come out of the hospital, son… grandma bought you a new office chair.”
“Thanks, mom, but I don’t think I will be using it.”
Paul would go into daily fits of burning and acute pain. Now the pain had spread beyond his abdomen. His liver and kidneys were deteriorating progressively. “Ouch, ouchuhhh… mom, it hurts… it hurts…”, he would groan and cry out to his mom from time to time. Looking on at her son torn apart by suffering, she could do nothing else but raise her tear-filled eyes toward the crucifix and beg Christ to look with favor on her son and grant him strength and consolation. Paul would soon apologize to his mom. “Sorry for yelling, mom. It’s just that it hurts so much I can’t help it… but I’ll try harder not to yell next time.”
10 Days later
Paul’s body became bloated beyond recognition. It was on this tenth day that Paul was to shock his mom. “I have something to tell you, mom…”
“What is it, honey?”
“I want to be baptized Catholic.”
20 Days later
When the priest arrived, Jessica marveled at God’s loving Providence. “It’s on his very 17th birthday,” she thought. When baptism was administered, he became so relieved, serene, and joyful.
The last week and a half
Paul begged forgiveness from everyone, beginning with his family. Jessica was overwhelmed when he apologized for causing her so much suffering and so many sleepless nights. With the same humility and simplicity he asked forgiveness from his dad, two little brothers, little sister, and friends for whatever trouble or offense he might have caused them.
Even to the last days of physical torment he kept up a positive and sometimes cheerful spirit.
Paul knew his hour was near. He convinced his sorrowful mother to go home and rest. “Mom, nothing drastic is going to happen in the meantime.” Convinced, his mother headed home. Fifteen minutes after arriving home, the phone rang. “Honey, he just passed away,” her husband said.
From infancy Paul suffered from Hyper-IgM syndrome – an inherited immunodeficiency disease. All his sufferings and discomforts took on a new meaning since his baptism.
Three days before he passed away he said to his mom, “Mommy, I just dreamed that two persons came to visit me, but the Father didn’t come…”
Jessica had made light of his dream at the moment but knew that our Lord heard her prayers; she knew that God was preparing to receive Paul into paradise.
Soon after Paul’s death– after several years of being catechumen – Jessica was baptized. Though she grieved the death of her son, she was consoled by knowing that after all that suffering he was now in heaven.
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