The fight went the distance! Fifteen rounds of pure guts, grit, and blood! It was a courageous nail-biting fight of perseverance and determination that left the onlookers spellbound.
Those on the sidelines witnessed a tenacious battle against our oldest and unseen enemy – death. My mom, Gloria Rodriguez age 89, passed away on May 22nd after a five-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
My mom, previously when in good health, had asked Our Lord to permit her to suffer greatly for souls at the end of her life when dying on her death bed. All eight children are in awe and almost traumatized (not really but it felt like it when seeing her intense suffering) …a sacrifice totally consumed for souls. Losing all her body weight and laboring profoundly to breathe toward the end, but she stayed the course.
The hospice nurses were in awe and wonder at how far she went past their finish line and predictions. She surpassed their deadline by over a month.
A day before I left on pilgrimage for fourteen days, I asked my mom if I should even go fearing I would miss her death.
Like a true warrior, she said, “Go and see the Virgin and pray for me.”
“If I die and you don’t get to return, you have to see it as the will of God.”
“If I am not here accept as the will of God.”
“I want you to go to Lourdes.” She said this twice.
“My son I want you to go because it is a great spiritual opportunity. I ask you to go.”
“How can you not go on the 100th anniversary of Fatima? This only happens every 100 years.”
I broke down after these words thinking I would never see her again, but God in His great mercy would allow me to see this brave combatant one more time.
When I got home from the pilgrimage the hospice nurse was pretty sure she would go immediately that evening as a few days earlier she had been in the hospital wrestling between life and death. The nurse even made sure there was no one else who was missing, but she was wrong again!
Who would have thought she would defy the odds and just keep on fighting, preaching, and teaching so beautifully? A bloodshed of agony, distress, and expiatory silence coming from the cross! Her most memorable words that shook me to the core were, “Tengo sed” (“I thirst.”) Jn.19:28 as I proceeded to place a wet sponge to her mouth.
All siblings felt like the eleven apostles who ran from the crucifixion because of the misery and torture for even a breath of air, “Mamma! …earth’s air is denied to me, when will God grant me the air of heaven.” (St. Therese of Lisieux)
Bewilderment, awe, and wonder at the level of human suffering and not being able to help. At the same time a lot of peace now because she is resting in the Lord. In her best days a daily communion and daily adoration soul, which now she can continue in paradise.
All of the children including one priest and this deacon have said in so many words, “we will never ask for this kind of suffering for souls for ourselves!” How limited our human love is when we are faced with the violence and brutality of the cross. The wisdom of the saints challenges us,
“If we knew the value of suffering, we would ask for it on our knees with joined hands.”
All is good, I am just sharing my view of the battle from Calvary as I witnessed it or as St. Therese of Lisieux explains, “God would turn the world around to find suffering in order to give it to a soul upon whom He has set His Divine gaze with ineffable love.”
Now all the eight children are taking turns hugging her as she has come down from the cross. A kind of pieta scene in her home. Who would have thought the fierce fight would go the full distance!
Rosary, Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 6 pm at Marrs-Jones Funeral Home in Bastrop, TX
Funeral Mass, Friday, May 26, 2017 at 10 am Ascension Catholic Church in Bastrop, TX