By By Rev. Fr. Rommel M. Arcilla
Believe in Miracles
posted 8-Nov-2018  ·  
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It was in the year 2015, after my short assignment in a foreign land, when I was diagnosed to be suffering from a cystic mass in my pancreas. I was told to undergo surgery the soonest time possible as it may create a larger damage to that very fragile body organ. The needed amount was too big for me to carry and my conscience cannot allow to pass on the burden to my two remaining sisters, Margie and Malou. They already have their own families to feed and to save for and I do not want to add myself to their already burdened shoulders. However, to be honest now, aside from not wanting to be a burden for others, I also don’t like the idea of surgery because I already had a previous pancreatic surgery in the year 2000 and I don’t want it done again.

My youngest sister and my mother just died one after the other and I just had the thought that it might be good for me to just follow them, not in heaven, but at least to our Palnab Cemetery. I may not be worthy of heaven and so I am not even dreaming to be near the pearly gates of God’s kingdom. It was a feeling of submission to the will of God, but in a negative way because I succumbed to the temptation to just let it go and do nothing to remedy the situation where I was during that time. I took some medications, though, but very minimal because I really did not care that much if I will die soon or not. My selfish belief is that when I die, I will no longer cry and be lonely because I will be dead. Those recent deaths in the family made me hate the death of a loved one to the highest degree, that I didn’t want to even visit them in their final resting place.

I tried some alternative medicines, but I must admit that I was not totally sold to that idea because it was explained to me that there is no other way to have the cystic mass disappear but through the surgeon’s scalpel. Hopeless, I just continued to hang around doing the usual things I used to do and drinking alcohol to my heart’s content. I was like a walking time bomb, plus the sad consequence of that illness, which is diabetes. I may appear then to be so jolly and to be okay, but those appearances were done on purpose. Deep inside I was a helpless child so afraid to die and crying all the time. A little child with no parents to cling on to because they’re dead. A little child left to himself because he just doesn’t want others to cry for him and be sad.

I survived with all those negative inner thoughts and that feeling of hopelessness in me. I was not prepared to face death, but I had already submitted to the idea that if it would finally come to take me, I will no longer feel the pain and the loneliness of separation because it will be the end of my life. My ministry as a priest even suffered a big blow due to this feeling of hopelessness. I knew I was so sinful and maybe that’s the reason why God seemed to have abandoned me and made me suffer little by little until I die.

But God is God and my God is a God of Love. My God is a very loving God and He loves me with so much love, that I am still alive up to this time (and hoping to live much longer to bring His love to others). Certain events in my life helped me a lot to radically reverse my inner negative beliefs in life. Those events that took place made me realize that I am being loved and that I have a mission to fulfill and so I must fight and strive to exist as a whole person and as a holy priest. I may have done numerous misdeeds in my life as an individual and as a priest. But it must not stop me to try my best to still be able to stand up again and be proud that God has chosen me to share in His priesthood. I was given an inspiration to continue to live and, this time, to live my life according to His will and designs. I cooperated with His grace and I had numerous significant people who stood by me through thick and thin.

These realizations started when I was sent by the Most Reverend Bishop Manolo de los Santos to undergo a renewal program in Tagaytay City. It was an eye-opener for me to see once more the beauty of life and the savor the love of God for me. It took me back to a life of grace and all I did is to pray and submit myself to His will. I prayed that He would heal me spiritually, emotionally and physically. I believe I am cured in those aspects of existence because I now possess that joy in the priesthood and as a person once again.

Just a few days ago, after some medications and more prayers, I had a CT scan to check on that lump in my pancreas. I waited, sleeplessly praying for a good result. It was released a day after and I cried when I finally received and read the result. I cried because it was then that I realized that miracles still happen in our midst! It was a miracle for me to know that the cystic mass is finally gone! It was God’s love for me which made it happen and all I can do now is to thank him sincerely from the deepest recesses of my heart!

Now, to say thank you to my God who gave me the miraculous healing, I promised to myself to just continue the good things that I had begun doing. I want to continue in my ministry and try each time to share that love of God to other people. I want to inspire others, especially those who are despairing to continue to hope and trust in God’s loving grace. I just want to continue serving him with all humility in any way I can. I want to take care of the gifts that He has given me especially my very life and vocation, and so I decided once and for all to quit my smoking addiction and to slow down a little bit and be defensive in my brand of driving. I want to live longer because I know God will still use me to proclaim His love to any people.

As a final note, I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to some people who helped get back on my feet again. Bishop Manolo and the clergy of the Diocese of Virac were always there to support me and they lifted me up when I was down. My dearest sisters, Margie and Malou with their respective families, never gave up on me even if I was on my hardest-headedness when I was feeling so low and sad. My relatives and friends, I thank them so much for their words of inspiration and consolation. Joseph and Peter Cua voluntarily offered their financial assistance to me during my moments of “below-sea-level” poverty and they never asked to be repaid for we were like brothers even before. Their generosity is overflowing and all I can say is thank you very much. As my way of saying thanks, I will just live my life the way it must be lived according to the Will of God. Maybe it will take another miracle for me to accomplish that, but you have my word… I just want to serve you now in the very same way that I experienced the love of God. Serving with love is all I can give you in return of all these good things that I received in my life.

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