62nd Wedding Anniversary
Ester’s State of Wellness — Sunday, July 26, 2020
Our State of Marriage —62nd Wedding Anniversary
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl (Mattew13:44-52)
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Therefore every teacher of the law who has become disciple heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Have I found the pearl of great value? Am I still looking for it with God in my prayer? If I have found it, Jesus compares it to the pearl of the kingdom he came to proclaim and inaugurate; this gives me joy and hope. (Adapted Sacred Space)
We expect to find the kingdom of God in cathedrals and mega-churches—in massed choirs and pipe organs—but these parables suggest that the real kingdom-power is to be found in the humblest places among the least likely people. (https:///biblical-commentary)
I did not know I found it until years after the marriage that is why we have been married for 62 years—what a sacrifice of delicious agony you must have gone through for the wish you told your school’s mother superior; “I want to marry Tony to bring him to heaven.” Mother Superior told you, “You don’t get married to bring someone to heaven.” (Ester’s LM College Diary) Let me lovingly also tell you, “We do not save our souls alone, but only in conjunction with others.” (Bishop Fulton Sheen: Treasure in Clay, 1980)
Our 62nd wedding anniversary marks the celebration of God’s gift of ever-unending love, as we are to our children all these years that attest that you and I have been friends and treated our children as friends – “All happy families are alike” (Leo Tolstoy); you and the children enjoy to lait me. “Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.” (Anon)
Growing old has mellowed me – you no longer are the duteous lady I married many moons ago. You say NO to me now and then, just as I say to you, yes dear,” now and then, too; even when you conveniently forget that “I am never not thinking of” you. (Virginia Woolf)
This photo-journalism book of our 62 years is of past serendipities. When we both tied the knot – my wedding band and your wedding ring became the smallest handcuffs that made us cellmates for life. I was attracted to your beauty and married you for your good-naturedness, and now at 83, I look forward to the blissful years of being your lover—may kamandag pa! May we be blest with good health as we grow old together with our children and grandchildren. “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” (George Bernard Shaw)
Orizon: Heavenly Father, we thank You for this day as we celebrate 62 years of marriage. We thank You for our parents, children, grandchildren, relatives, all those who help us spiritually and physically, and friends. We thank You through Blessed Mother Mary, St. Anthony, and Pope John Paul 1 for our long life and long haul union. And help us reignite our love just like when we first met and on our early married years. Amen.
Our Wedding on a Saturday, July 26, 1958
Ester’s piano concerto with the 6th Army Band, Presidio, SF, CA
First Wedding Anniversary, San Francisco, Calif., USA
At the frontage of St. Peter’s Square, Ester complained to me that her buttock was pinched by one of the Italians standing; told her that it was a Roman custom to do so—their way of saying they found her pretty with a nice posterior.
Our bunso was born on July 1, 1970, and baptized John Paul before Cardinal Albino Luciani, Patriarch of Venice took the regnal name of Pope John Paul 1 on August 26, 1978. The first pontiff to have a double name, choosing “John Paul” in honor of his two immediate predecessors, John XXIII and Paul VI. He explained that he was indebted to John XXIII and to Paul VI for naming him a bishop and a cardinal, respectively. Furthermore, he was the first pope to add the regnal number “I”, designating himself “the First.” The first pope to have been born in the 20th century. His reign is among the shortest in papal history. In Italy, he is remembered with the appellatives of “Il Papa del Sorriso” (The Smiling Pope) and “Il Sorriso di Dio” (The smile of God). Time magazine’s August 1978 front cover.
The Coming of Michelle
We took in a sixth child Michelle, born in Manila in 1986, with the consent and agreement of all our children as a grandchild with all the legal rights and privileges of a Cumagun.
“Where were you when the EDSA Revolution took place?” That peaceful uprising in February 1986 united thousands of Filipinos in one great cause––to end the oppressive and repressive Marcos dictatorship. People from all ages and social sensibilities rubbed elbows with government soldiers, offering flowers, soft drinks, cigarettes, and prayers, unmindful of the fact that a civil war loomed. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience of the coming together of the young and the old, the religious and not so religious, the poor and the not so rich and powerful (M. Gemma Victorino, PDDM: The Challenge of Christ’s Memory in the Eucharist, in Sambuhay missalette, June 6, 1999). I am proud to write that in that brief shining moment on February 22-25, 1986 of the Filipinos in Greater Manila, Tong Payumo, Arnold Segundo, Albert del Rosario, Jimmy Ongpin, and me, along with our children every night, and with our wives on some nights, took part in the Edsa I Rebellion that became a Revolution.
25th Wedding Anniversary
When I became President of Manila Polo Club in 1982, Ester and I bought Manila Polo Club shares for our five children but only Anthony and Mike wanted to be members of the club. Anne stated that she and Franjo did not want to pay for the monthly dues since there were already three in the family who were members and the use of the club for its tennis facilities were only for Anthony and Mike; when it came to the clubs’ dining facilities we all would use it as a family. In line with this – I also gave my extra Manila Polo Club shares to Noli and Marielou for their use.
Old friends are like gold and new friends like diamonds
But the diamond has to be set in gold for it to be appreciated.
My 1998 retirement tells the story of my being the most promising golf rookie at the senior age of 61. Celebrities, elected officials, businessmen, the religious, and most people who play golf are old and have passed the prime of their physical abilities. Their hopeless caliber of play makes them automatic members of the Bad Golfers Association. Most golfers are friendly—enjoy playing good and bad of golf with them, and we all laugh at our flubs, foibles, and frustrations, especially when it is not ours but those of others. I play for those moments yet to come—the golfer’s dream at the age of 72, we will shoot golf scores equal to our age, but not with the help of the devil.
30TH Wedding Anniversary
My brothers and their wives’ surprise anniversary lunch for Ester and me
Golden Anniversary Mass Homily
The Gospels record for us only one occasion, although there may have been others, in which Jesus takes part in a wedding celebration. And this we find in the Gospel of John, who describes a wedding that took place in Cana in Galilee. Here, as we know, Jesus, at the insistence of His mother, works His first miracle, changing water into wine. Mary wants to stave off the embarrassment of the bride and groom in not having enough wine to quench the thirst of their merry-making guests. Have you ever wondered whatever happened to that couple? Did their marriage work out? Did they have any children? Was their wedding day not just a memory, but something that they lived out every day of their lives? Did the loving presence of Jesus make a difference in their lives? If that couple was named Manning and Lolita, the answer to all those questions would have to be a resounding YES. Manning and Lolita renew their marriage vow this evening after living the Sacrament of Matrimony for 50 years. And it is precisely this love of Christ in their lives that has strengthened their love for each other. And it was Christ’s presence in their marriage that enabled them to share their love, not only with the members of their family, as their children and grandchildren can attest to so well, but to allow it to overflow in a love of country that was proven in a lifetime of unblemished service at home and abroad.
Manning and Lolita, we are gathered here this evening to congratulate you. When you first pledged your love to each other and God 50 years ago, you did not know all the demands this promise would make on you. Yet, you joined your hands, your hearts, and your lives, as you vowed to go through the unknown landscape of your lives together with Christ. And you have done just that. And so tonight, you can feel justifiably proud that with God’s help, you show us that love between a man and a woman is more than just an outlet for sexual pleasure; that the Sacrament of Matrimony is more than just a passing experience, a medieval institution; and that good Catholic family life is more liberating than enslaving. You have not allowed any person to separate what God has joined together. Manning and Lolita, tonight as you will soon renew your vows, only you know the price you have paid. It was surely easier to make the promise than to keep it. But could it have been otherwise for something in life as precious and dear as your love for each other that God has made His own! Your love has surely been refined in the crucible of the everyday living of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Now it is golden. As you renew your marriage vows, realize that the refining process will go on, turning this love into the quality of a diamond. Our prayer for you then is a simple one and it is this: May the good Lord continue the good work. He has begun in you––you who are His gift not only to your family, not only to our parish but to the country as well.
Father Hugh R. Zurat, OFM Parish Priest
Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, Makati
Father Hugh went out of his way to tell me after the Mass that he enjoys celebrating Mass for wedded couples who have been faithful to their vows for life rather than officiating wedding Masses for actors, actresses, politicians, even the youth. That’s why he wrote a special homily for my parents.
Post-Script Fr. Hugh told me after the Mass that he enjoyed writing the homily for my parents as well as enjoying celebrating the Mass for golden-agers rather than for politicians and thespians.
The Magical Moments of Fifty Happy Years
Our Golden Wedding Anniversary in Macau, July 26, 2008
A Week at Venetian Hotel. Macau
On the eve of our 49th wedding anniversary, in Fr. Cef’s room after Mass, the children honored Ester and me with an impromptu testimonial program organized by our sister-in-law Chona, assisted by Ann
(We fly To San Francisco the month after our Golden Wedding Anniversary)
The head waiter having been informed earlier that we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary at the Garden Court of then Sheraton Palace w\here we had our wedding reception in 1958, had kept a crown tiara for Ester to use during lunch. and gave it as their wedding anniversary gift. Sheraton Palace is now called just the Palace Hotel.
I was requested by guests most of whom attended our wedding reception 50 years ago to tell them how was our 50 years of marriage. I recall telling them, “How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand, like Maria on the movie The Sound of Music who does the right things at the wrong time and the wrong things at the right time.” I ended my confession that I love Ester now more than when I was first courting her. Our Kumare Rita side-remark (what I had told her what Ester’s HS Assumption College classmates told her) to the guests that “Tony did not know what she was marrying.” Ester when asked to respond to my confession, after the many thank you, ended her talk with a one-liner that shocked the guests especially me when she said, “I love Tony and have no more regrets.” This made her friends and the children howl with joy and I stunned.
On a very cold wind-chill day in front of the Wrigley Building
Dr. Vic’s last day in SF to celebrate Ester’s being a jubilarian – goes back to Houston. Vic, Joe, Oning, Annette, Ester, Ann and I go to 12:30 PM Mass and have late lunch and early dinner at Lolli’s Castagnola Restaurant, since 1916, Fisherman’s Wharf. The lunch was good—had crab Louie and white clam chowder and tasted/shared the orders of the others. Vic ordered zucchini (sounds like it—a variety of boiled shellfish in a plate-bowl with a tangy broth of tomatoes and green vegetables)—will also order it but with rice next time I visit Fisherman’s Wharf.
Ester’s 75th Birthday
Tony’s 77th Birthday
Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM blessing our 2017, 59th Wedding Anniversary and Fifth Renewal of Vows at our Dasmariñas Village residence
Ester is all smiles for experiencing in years past that the meaning of my life is she
Ester’s Noblesse Oblige
Anthony and Mike and daughters-in-law Angel and Kaoru, Tony and I thank all of you for celebrating with us my 81st birthday. Thank you, Fr. Robert for renewing our marriage vows and blessing tonight’s gathering – means a lot to me. Thank you, Lina, Romel for helping our children prepare for this double-celebration – the renewal of our marriage vows and my natal day. Mike told me as Tony was speaking: “Magaling si Papalo mag-organize hands-off executive sya; utos dito, gawin mo yan, gawin mo ito. He is a benevolent dictater” – their homonym for a dictator.
Tony and I have been married for 59 years. As have been for all our years of togetherness, it is Tony who decides on world affairs; on domestic matters with yes dear! Life with Tony can be compared to “a rough and uncut diamond polished to have many sides, which when seen from different sides give different images – only when different images from the sides are appreciated as one, thus the true picture of our life surface.”
To Tony’s friends and his relatives, my life with him makes me a saint because he is difficult to be with. To Tony, in his mind, he is a suffering husband. To me, he is cerebral— maski natutulog nagiisip; tapos paggising nya, utos ng utos –living with him can be tedious. Tony’s character is similar to that of a rough and uncut diamond, but a “diamond with a flaw is better than a common stone that is perfect.”
What more can I say? I am grateful to God for giving me Tony who provides direction to my life in his exacting makulit way. “ Thank you, Tony, for marrying me! ” God bless.
Lucky 9 Pinoy couples renewed their marriage vows at Cana Church of the Wedding
“60 years married and 80 years of life worth living” was written on the 80th year and our 60th wedding anniversary as my gift of love – it is a synopsis of my seven-volume autobiography “Song of Myself, Memoirs Looking Back at Serendipity,” and a potted window to the three-volume books I wrote on: “The Ozawa-Tsusakas of Kobe, Japan;” “The Jalandoni-Montinolas of Silay, Negros Occidental;” “The Herrero-Gaffuds of Echague, Isabela,” and “The Concepcion Del Rosario-Cumaguns of Tuguegarao, Cagayan Valley.” The Montinola and Cumagun families will celebrate our Diamond Anniversary in three cities of our country – Davao, Iloilo, and Silay, Negros Occidental.
60th Wedding Anniversary Family Celebration
Davao, Iloilo and Bacolod, July 26- 2018
Our lives are full of happy events be it a birthday, graduation, a wedding, or an anniversary. Big or small, they are all good reasons to celebrate. But the biggest celebration is God’s blessing of our 60th wedding anniversary. Nowadays, in this age of modern living, Catholic Mass celebrated weddings are no longer as common or the vogue as they were during my time. It is rare, for senior citizens and baby-boomers to have the opportunity and the physical ability to celebrate the golden wedding and more rare diamond anniversaries with a Catholic Mass—rare because to be married for 50 years or more is a blessing from God. But rarer is for grandparents to witness their first grandchild’s marriage and the serendipity to enjoy, in years yet to come, apos sa tuhod — for the crown of the aged is their children’s children; the children’s glory is their father. (Prov 17:6)
Ester and I married on July 26, 1958, at Star of the Sea, my Parish Church in San Francisco on the morning of my University of California, Berkeley college graduation day. We were both 21 years old. Ester graduated the previous month from San Francisco College for Women. I was a working student when we got married. I had a regular job then as an IBM computer programmer and asked Ester to marry me on my graduation day because I did not want any of our children to be able to tell me that they, too, could get married before they graduated, or before they reached the age of 21, or worse before they had a reliable livelihood. I strongly believe that a college degree graduates a wise man that will make more opportunities than he finds. My college degree gave me the opening for up-grades in my job and the serendipity for job-hopping opportunities else-where.
Ester told me that on our 60th wedding anniversary she promises to bequeath with the best of efforts and to the best of her ability to be her beloved husband for 60 years since we both were 21, “No one else before you, my husband, not even me except God.”
We planned to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary at the Marriott Resort Hotel, Honolulu but Ester decided to celebrate our milestone in our country with our direct and acquired families. Because the 26th of July falls on a weekday not all of the family can go to Davao but instead will join us in Iloilo for the weekend.
Since Ester to her recollection has not been to Davao she chose Davao as the place where the family will spend our 62nd Wedding Anniversary; Ester wanted Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, President of Ateneo de Davao, and the son of Ester’s matron of honor in our wedding in San Francisco to preside our 62nd anniversary Mass. I chose to extend our celebration to Iloilo and Silay to honor Ester’s eldest sister.
Davao is the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area, and the most populous city in the country outside Metro Manila. It is situated in the province of Davao del Sur. It is the third most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines after Metro Manila and Metro Cebu. Davao is home to Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. The city is also the “Durian Capital of the Philippines.” The family will stay at Apo View Hotel managed by our family friend Ed Las.
Iloilo City is on Panay Island and is known for its Spanish colonial churches and old houses. On Jaro Plaza, Jaro Cathedral has a shrine to the local patron saint, Our Lady of the Candles, and the 18th-century Miagao Church with an ornate sandstone facade. It is the city of the Montinola ancestry. The family will stay at Seda Hotel, managed by Ayala Land.
Silay City, Neg. Occ. is the ancestral home of my in-laws, Jalandoni-Montinola, and where my sugar hacienda, Ester’s, her sister, and brother’s larger haciendas and sugar central are located.
Fr. Cef Ledesma, SDB celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in Macao and
concelebrated with Fr. Victor Velasco, SVDP our 60th wedding anniversary in Davao
“will not ask Tony this question; afraid he will give us a 12-volume answer. However, I will ask Ester: ‘How would you summarize the 60 years together?’ Ester: HAPPY. Ester and Tony . . . God isn’t true with you yet. You are still living your life, and God is still revealing his grace in you and through you – I’d say our life speaks of grace after grace freely bestowed on us by God. Real selfless love only grows richer over time . . . What fitting song can I think of on this occasion? I think the lyrics of the song Love Story summarize the celebration of love and God’s grace. ‘Where do I begin, to tell the story of how great a love can be? The sweet love story that sings the truth of the love she brings to me’” (Fr. Cef Ledesma, SDB: Homily)
“60th wedding ng Tony ang Ester; I would like to congratulate you both on your 60th wedding anniversary. I’d like to gift them with 4G‘s! I was impressed since I knew Ng Ester with her generosity and gentleness! And with Mg Tony, I was impressed with his genius and gregariousness, his amiability, and sociability. Their couplenes has generated for them two more G’s. They became more generative with 5 children: Anne, Franjo, Anthony, Michael, and John Paul. And most of all, the dream of Ng Ester, to bring ng Tony to heaven, was achieved: they have become more Godly, especially Mg Tony. After 60 years they are still together, and as Fr Cef has said, ‘it is because of Grace, they are saved by God’s Grace!’ So congratulations!” (Fr. Vic Velasco, SVDP: Homily)
Rare are couples married for 50 years. Rarer to be able to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary physically strong, mentally sound, and soft-spoken – that’s my Ester. Siya ay ang pinakamagandang babae sa balat ng lupa at landas ko!
On our 50th wedding anniversary luncheon celebration, I was asked to speak, and as neophyte writers do, told our guests “Yes; I will marry Ester again but with a thousand corrections!” Ester when asked to speak after, said: “Yes; I will marry Tony again because I have no more regrets!” That’s my Ester ten years ago. My 81 years is a life of serendipity. Blest when Ester and I married four scores and twenty full moon years ago – more blest with five children of one girl and a gifted child with autism, and six grandchildren, two of who are girls. And again blest with parents, direct, and indirect who were the winds beneath our and children’s wings. I thank God for blessing Ester and I with them – good in-laws and children. I thank God for making me “the master of my fate” by giving me the grace to be “the captain of my soul” – good health, sound mind, and wealth enough to support our families’ needs — “I did it my way” with God’s grace! Now on my 81st year and 60th year of marriage publicly and faithfully proclaim the good news: “I will marry Ester again with no more corrections – too late for corrections, tigulang na kami.”
In the Gospel of St. Luke (12:48) is written: “Much is required from the person to whom much is given; much more is required from the person to whom much more is given.”
In our 60 years of married life “much was given” to Ester and me; we pray that for the next 25 years so will it be for our children and children’s children and that God’s graces of the “much more” that will be required of the children more than of us, will not be wasted. God bless all the children – the child’s mind is the most precious thing to waste. (A. G. Cumagun: 60th Wedding Anniversary Luncheon Address, Apo View Hotel, Davao City, July 26, 2018)
Silay City, Negros Occidental
60th Wedding Anniversary Buffet of Fun Celebration with Ester’s Jalandoni-Montinola Ilonggo Clan
During postprandial camaraderie (after lunch dessert of sweets, coffee, and wine) of our 60th wedding anniversary celebratory luncheon to honor my sister-in-law Betty, who could not join us in Davao, and the Jalandoni and Montinola Ilonggo clan, I was requested by the nieces and nephews to tell how I met Ester. This is what I recall of what I said extemporaneously: “I met Ester at St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, CA. She was introduced to me by my mother; that’s how I met Ester, and then married her. Most of what I will tell is written In my book “60 Years Married and 81 Years of Life worth Living,” my 60th wedding anniversary gift to Ester. The younger generation said, No! Please tell us the story of your book of love now. I told them that to have a more balanced story to first ask Ester her version of our love story and why she married me. True to form, Ester was nowhere to be found. So I started my story with: “In our 60 years of marriage Ester does the wrong things at the right time and the right things at the wrong time.” Ester; where are you?
I was born at Saint Joseph Hospital, Quiapo, and Manila; coincidentally, Ester was also born at the same hospital. Coincidentally again, for high school, I went to the Ateneo de Manila at Padre Faura Street and her to Assumption Convent at Herran Street, parallel to Padre Faura. When Ateneo moved to Loyola Heights, she went to Maryknoll College located at Loyola Heights, Quezon City — as, in Manila, Ateneo and Assumption were contiguous neighbors. Coincidentally again, I went to the States and, for the first year before my enrolling at the University of California, Berkeley, studied at the University of San Francisco (USF), a Jesuit school. She also went to the States and enrolled in a Catholic school, San Francisco College for Women, fronting USF with Turk Street in between – again, both schools were contiguous neighbors. But I never met her, until the year before we married. Were these coincidences serendipities? Ester tells me: “God chose you for me!” Be it so; Ester is my Easter; the meaning of my life is she.
Ester comes back from the restroom and tells me; please speak in the middle of the room so the elders can also hear you. I belong to a family of four boys, no girls then, and my mother had a rule that her boys cannot call or be called on the telephone after 10 PM and that our first date should be lunch at home for her to meet our dates, which most often she would not agree to our further dating them. My father being in the diplomatic service told his boys to avoid dating Filipinas to prevent problems because his job required protecting the Filipino community of California and the Western States. Ester was the exception to both family rules.
One stormy night I got a call after 10 PM. Mama handed me the phone; told me: “Fetch them!” I said it was after 10 and I had to study for my exams tomorrow. She just said, “Fetch Them; They Need You!” So I put my overcoat over my pajama and rushed to fetch them. She told me to dress up; I told her no time, they are waiting; the rain is falling hard and San Francisco War Memorial Opera House is located in a low area, the reason why they cannot get any taxi. I told her that tomorrow you will have a daughter-in-law. She said: “Don’t do that,” as I rushed out of the house. Purposely but logistically, too, I brought Ester’s friend home first and after Ester to her Lone Mountain College dormitory – I kid Ester that her school’s moniker is College for Lonely Women. Since her school was on top of a small mountain. Before driving up, I stopped the car and told her to answer me with just Yes or No; after which, regardless of her answer, I will drive the car to the doorsteps of her dorm – jokingly told her no answer of Yes or No – you walk up to your dorm. She said, OK! What’s the question? She thought I was going to ask her a question on Bishop Sheen’s TV program, which I asked her to watch that we would discuss as one the topics of our conversation on our dates. I told her: “My mother wants me to marry you; will you marry me?” She was not taken aback with my question; I was surprised by her answer of Yes, subject to my Jesuit counselor and Fr. Confessor’s advice. For further details of this episode ask Ester – It is her story.
We got married and years after, it warmed the cockles of my heart when Ester for the first time on October 24, 2015, on her 79th birthday and our 57 contiguous years of marriage publicly said, “Thank you, Tony, for marrying me,” which God and she only knew then, which the children and I know now.
It’s fun roasting Ester in her crowd of Ilonggo relatives
A kiss on the forehead is about love and respect. It is a gesture of love and affection, shows respect, and tells her “I will protect you.” When we got married at my parish church Star of the Sea in San Francisco and Fr. Durkin, our officiating priest, told me, “You may now kiss your wife” I kissed Ester on her forehead. On our 60th wedding anniversary Mass at Saint Peter Cathedral at the Chapel of all Saints, Davao City, when Fr. Cef Ledesma, Ester’s cousin, assisted by Fr. Velasco, also Ester’s cousin, told me, “You may now kiss Ester;” I kissed her on the lips and since then kissed her on the lips in all our wedding anniversary celebrations to show family, relatives, and friends, “May Kamandag pa Ako!” But how do I love Ester? How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
MARCH 12, Dr. Ramy and Dr. Ray requested the first doctor’s family conference, which was held at the conference room outside the ICU area but alongside the Operating Room with ICU Resident Doctor Lim taking the minutes of the meeting. I asked the doctors for the best scenario of Ester’s state of health – SILENCE. I asked them what the worst scenario was of Ester’s state of health. Dr. Ramy answered: “Ester would be a vegetable and the worst, dead in the third week of March. I told Ester’s team of doctors that my doctor’s brother in Houston told me that it could be in the fourth week of March. He was convincing me to let Ester go and make the decision on my own and not involved the children. Other very close friends were also convincing me to let Ester go. I refused their concerns and told them and the children that the power of prayers will heal their mother, which means that we should be willing to spend all that we have financially, come what may – the children unanimously agreed and told me that they would share in paying for the expenses. The doctors asked me if I would agree to dialysis even if Ester was a vegetable because she might have a heart attack within 3 days without it, and the use of a fibrillator in case of a heart attack. To both doctor’s request, I said: “No dialysis to a vegetable and no fibrillator for a heart attack.” I told the doctors: “The power of prayer will heal Ester; I requested them to tell me step by step what to pray for: first, second, third, etc.”
I asked the doctors to put a trache on Ester, as my doctor brother told me. My request was met with silence until I demanded my right as Ester’s husband to have it done. The doctor said that I don’t have the first right to decide. The patient has the first right and that would mean they would have to bring Ester out of her induced sedation. They told me that Mrs. Cumagun ordered them (other doctors were present as witnesses) for full sedation and no cutting her up. I argued emotionally that if she were taken out of sedation, she would be in no position to tell us what she wants. When I was emotionally distraught, Doctor Ramy stood up and said, “OK let’s put the trache; I don’t think Mrs. Cumagun will sue us, but Mr. Cumagun will.” This started my call for prayer warriors for incessant-continuing step by step petitions for Ester’s healing. Our prayer warrior groups blossomed to a movement of prayers storming heaven that resulted in small, meaningful, and significant healings; the first was for Ester to survive the operations/procedures and not a vegetable; her intestines to be self-healing, no colostomy bag and defecate asap. Ester’s team of doctors admitted that Ester’s healings were beyond their skills; the hospital staff that cared for her were amazed with her health improvement.
I have been receiving updates from Anne who is with Ester most of the time. Ester is getting better slowly. Some perforations have self-healed but some need to be watched closely. Ester was weaned out of sedation yesterday and the family is happy she recognized each one of us. She still needs continued prayers to control the spillage and resolve the obstructions, which is the first stage of her miracle preparatory for the second miracle stage for the functioning of her organs all of which will be the witness to the glory of God. Ester is in a way out of sedation but with pain killers. She opens her eyes to recognize and/or as a sign of understanding of what you tell her. In a nutshell, all good signs that give us hope but don’t negate the fact that her condition is still very grave and must remain at ICU. Muchas gracias for the continuing crusade of prayers. We, her family can offer you nothing in return but our love and gratitude for your concern and incessant prayers. Please pray with our family to our Blessed Mother Mary for her to intercede to her son Jesus Christ to heal Ester by stabilizing her intestines and stomach organs functional – These we pray for our beloved Ester.
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O’ Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O’ Mother of thy Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.”
The Miracle: Fr. Claude Bernard held the prayer in such high regard because he felt that he had been miraculously cured by its use. In a letter to Queen Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII, he wrote that he was deathly ill once. In fear of his life, he recited the Memorare and immediately began to get well again. He attributed the cure to some unknown natural cause. Sometime later, Brother Fiacre, a discalced Augustinian, came to call upon Fr. Bernard. He desired to know how Fr. Bernard was getting along. He told him that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him in a vision and told him of Fr. Bernard’s illness and that he was to assure Fr. Bernard of this. Our Ateneo high school ’54 class was taught by the Jesuits not only to pray but how to pray the Memorare. As a high school student when I needed help, my frequent Oratio Imperata was the Memorare to Blessed Mother Mary, Ateneo’s Patroness, for God’s glory.
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, APRIL 1, 2019
Kapamilya at Kapuso, Friends and Fellow Prayer Warriors; God is With Us.
Friday, March 29 Advisory of Dr. Ramy Roxas, head and lead doctor of Ester’s team of doctors, before he left for London: Ester’s present medical conditions are no longer life-threatening, nor vegetative state-threatening – what his team of doctors diligently worked hard to prevent and what we have been praying for since – according to Anne’s recollection, March 8, her second operation that was life-threatening, and thereafter – Petsa de peligro, 3rd week (Mar. 22-29) and 4th week (Mar. 30-April 5).
Because of our continuing incessant prayers for Ester’s miracle healing, God is listening to our prayers. However, at her present state, it will be an expensive and long process of recuperation – what’s and how’s were explained on different occasions to the family by the team of doctor specialists for each of Ester’s vital organs.
All of Ester’s doctors agreed that the short-cut to Ester’s long process of recovery is for her to move her bowel – the miracle we are to all pray for as one of the intercessory miracles of Pope John Paul 1’s Papal Process of canonization – the medical sign that Ester has recovered. Dr. Ramy said, “Should this miracle and good news come about the next medical stage is preparing for Ester’s yellow ribbon coming home.
When I asked Dr. Ramy what we should prepare for at-home especially for her bedroom? He said, “Nothing, her bedroom is to be as is before she entered the hospital.” Anthony asked him whether her bedroom should be on the ground floor; he said: “not necessary.” Dr. Ramy said that when Ester is released to go home, he expects her to be ambulant and regular in her daily habits. Regarding her being able to speak with a voice, he expects Ester to do so, and her trachea wound to self-heal. On her having a colostomy bag, he hopes not; there are on-going signs that her intestines are healing so that she might not need a colostomy procedure.
Dr. Ramy stated that when Ester is released from the hospital, he expects Ester to be the Ester before she went to the hospital, but older. “Without Me, you can do nothing” cf John 15:5.
The best scenario for Ester’s present state – she moves her bowel; let’s continue our prayers for Ester to move her bowel to be one of Pope John Paul 1’s intercessory miracles on his Papal Sainthood Process of canonization and canonization. “Lord we (I) believe, help our (my) unbelief” cf Mark 9:23-25.
What is the worst scenario? It will be an expensive process not many can afford with a long period of recovery of weeks and months – the reason why he signed-on a pain management team to make sure that Ester will not be in pain. Dr. Ramy never mentioned year/s as his timeline for Ester to be the Ester before she entered the hospital. “It is good to pray with perseverance and not lose heart.” cf. Luke 18:1.
Today April 1, Monday, April fool’s day is my 82nd birthday. As I was preparing to go to early morning Mass, Anne called for us to rush to the hospital for her to sign the family’s approval for Ester’s CT scan of her lungs. In the car on our way to the hospital, Anne told Karl and Michelle her story of Mamalo’s reaction to my request for her to give me a goodbye smile, which readily she did not give. When Papalo said his goodbye to Mamalo, it took some time before she did smile after Papalo repeatedly asking her. After Papalo had left, I asked Mamalo in iIonggo why she gave Papalo a hard time for her goodbye smile – Mamalo had a big smile that made the nurse say, “Ay nagpapakiput si Mom.” My version/interpretation is Mamalo meant to say through her eyes, “Never say goodbye.”
When we arrived at the hospital, Ester’s pulmonary doctor immediately met me and said, “Don’t be concerned about the CT scan – this is just to prepare for her wash, clean and check procedure this morning.” He asked me, “Are you aware that the procedures are no longer done as frequently as previously of every two days, but now is done after four days? If Mrs. Cumagun begins to fart, the days’ gap between procedures will be longer. When the time comes that she moves her bowel, her wash and clean procedure will only probably be done, three more just to double-check that her intestines are functioning well.
The Gospel of the Mass for April 1: Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
“Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to Him and begged Him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “You will never believe. “The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee” cf John 4:43:54,
Lord, we believe, but help our unbelief!
“But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief” cf Mark 9:23-25.
Jesus says, “All things are possible for one who believes.” “Help my unbelief” is an amazing statement of faith that Jesus will accept every time. Why? Because in the cry of desperation we are praying. And every time we pray we are fighting for faith. And nothing pleases God more than to grant faith to those who desire it. (Google: Faith Commentaries) Lord help our unbelief that Ester’s healing of moving her bowel will be one of the intercessory miracles of the Papal Process of the canonization of Pope John Paul 1.
STOP THE PRESS: Anne called late at night after the ICU was closed to visitors, to tell me a possible Good News (Dr. Ray to verify and confirm). Mely, Ester’s caregiver, told her that she overheard the nurses talking that Mrs. Cumagun moved her bowel. God, I believe but help my unbelief. I would like to believe that this is heaven’s birthday gift to an April fool – God’s gift of love to a sinner and an undeserving but faithful (according to Ester) husband.
Anne just called this morning that the nurse put on her last night’s report that Mrs. Cumagun had an Ileum bowel movement. I pray that this is the start of Ester’s bowel movement from a small to a larger and then to a regular daily morning ablution. We praise God and the intercessions of our Blessed Mother, the saints, and Beata Pope John Paul 1to saint.
“Gratitude is a word used to express thankfulness and praise. A general attitude of thanksgiving in both the trials and blessings of life distinguishes the Christian. The apostle Paul exhorts us in Scripture to give thanks for all things, in all circumstances (Eph 5:20; 1 Thes 5:18), even in suffering (Rom 5:3-5; James 1:1-4), and to do everything in the name of Jesus out of a spirit of gratitude (Col 3:17). On the other hand, thanklessness marks godless and wicked men who suppress the truth about God.” (Rom 1:18-21) (https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/gratitude-bible-verses/)
From the many who had faith in prayers for Ester’s healing
“So touching! I am moved to tears. May our loving Lord complete the healing miracles He has been performing on our beloved sister Ester thru the intercession of Mother Mary, Pope John Paul 1 and or favorite saints . . . Fr. Robert, I have seen many who suffer more r God’s chosen ones . . . through them, our faith increases. Fr. R. am Duwag pass d cup. Lord, I am afraid! Yet, I say, I love Jesus. ”
“Dear Tony: Thank you so much for keeping us in the loop. It is so heart-warming to see the daily miracle of Ester’s healing! It strengthens our faith that God truly answers. Just letting you know how much I envy Ester for having such a loving, caring, God-centered husband. Not too many wives are so fortunate to be blessed with such deep devotion, generosity, and steadfast love. No wonder God can’t ignore whatever Tony asks of Him. Do take good care of yourself. You need to be strong, healthy and in good spirits – for Ester, your family, and friends. You and Ester are in our prayers at daily Mass.”
Some Birthday Greetings/Prayers
“Happy Birthday – Mamalo pooped for you!”
“Holy shit! Literally”
“Happy birthday yesterday, Ester’s April Fool, aka Tony C!”
“Will not be accessible in the next two hours but if you are wondering why I called you, I just wanted to wish my favorite April fool a miracle-filled birthday! We continue to pray for miracles for Ester to make this a truly happy birthday for you. Needless to say, we pray for you too! God bless you!”
“Elated to hear the good news! Keep dancing as we continue praying with you!”
“So nice to read all these messages, esp Mike’s! Sobrang Tawa at Tuwa ko sa message ni Mike!”
“I share your great joy on the amazing process of Ester’s recovery! It must be, we believe, her very strong will to live. Of course the great support and prayers, yours and the entire family and extended family and so many other relatives and friends. And, I wish to add the call on Pope John Paul 1. Looking forward to even happier news.”
“Thanks be to God! Good News – God’s way of telling us the “divine comedy” we’ve been asking for is gradually becoming a reality. Before reading your email I was praying through the intercession of JP1 and voila . . . He showed me the answer – ‘nurses talking that Mrs. Cumagun moved her bowel.’ What a birthday gift the Lord has given you.”
Our Dearest Papalo,
Yesterday you had your heaven-sent birthday gift as Mike sublimely expressed for us – “Mamalo pooped for you,” the blessing we have been praying for. We all have our share of God’s blessings; some blessings come fast; others take a long time to arrive. What is important is that they come at times when we need them most – Good things come to us when we try. Better things come to us if we believe. GOD bless you for your strong faith in miracles that we now inherit and you ingrain in us by osmosis,
With much love and respect,
Anne, Franjo, Anthony, Mike, and John Paul
“I’m holding my tears while reading your message. Surrender everything to God Almighty. I have a joke for you to make you smile. “I behave with my husband; I’m not arguing him anything. Why; bec. I’m praying for Mom Ester; He might not answer my prayer if I do not behave with him.”
“To persist in prayer and not give up does not mean endless repetition or painfully long prayers. Always praying means keeping our requests constantly before God as we live for Him day by day, believing He will answer. When we live by faith, we are not to give up. God may delay answering, but His delays always have good reasons. As we persist in prayer, we grow in character, faith, and hope.”
“Ester is always in our prayer. This morning I called the Sisters of the Poor again to pray for Ester to pupo. They told me all their nuns of 50, very old elderlies, and sisters are praying daily for Ester. Also the Salvatorian Sisters. So very many praying for Ester.”
“Tony, becoz of u, I became a devotee of Mama Mary, undoer of knots. I also pray all ur prayers n didn’t delete d prayers n photos (very big improvement every day. Saw her making the sign of d Cross, since when?”
“Thank you so much for keeping us in the loop. It is so heart-warming to see the daily miracle of Ester’s healing! It strengthens our faith that God truly answers.”
In the morning awake and perky. Ester’s catheter was taken out. Her ventilator was taken out, thus breathing more on her own with less machine support. In the afternoon, the best day. Fr. Cef Ledesma flew from Bangkok to visit. Ester was in good form; telling us to tell the nurses what she needed to be done, instructing Anne to give balato to the nurses. Mely told Anne that Inday has been instructing her to give the balato every day. In the evening, hopefully, Ester’s last lavage – cleaning procedure.
Dr. Ramy Roxas, lead doctor of Ester’s medical team, after his round, informed the family that Ester will probably, hopefully, have her last cleaning procedure tomorrow in the OR. This means that if her intestines are now in a good state, Ester’s Tupperware-styled stomach will now be permanently closed; no more lavage (operation/procedure). Last night’s Lavage was not to be Ester’s last stomach cleaning procedure. Let’s pray that each lavage hereon will be her last. The Good News, hopefully by Saturday, Ester will be transferred to a telemetry room that is not as dire and somber as the ICU.
Anne is Ester’s Florence Nightingale as Mike says, “she has done for Mamalo what no one in the family could do,” and Dr. Angel’s text to me “Imagine you have a senior daughter. Look at it as a blessing. She is truly a blessing.” I tell all she is our family’s strict angel with a human face, but also the devil’s advocate.
However, because the telemetry room is not an infection fail-safe, there will be a doctor’s list of the names of only those allowed by the hospital guards to enter Ester’s telemetry room. Visitors will be limited and restricted even to family members. Because the doctors are now concerned about her emotional wellness, a psychiatrist will now be added to her team of doctors: No conversation that can emotionally disturb Ester will be allowed – even saints during their trials and tribulations had moments of doubt about life. 24/7 caretaker/on-watch duty will be at Ester’s side to make sure that NO Such Conversations will happen. One in the Nurses’ Station observed that after the visits of some relatives, she is emotionally disturbed and in great physical discomfort. Now is the time to also pray for Ester’s emotional wellness. Doctors’ Order Strictly No Visitors even direct family, except those listed as care watchers of two at any one-time.
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, APRIL 21, 2019
Pericope John 20: 1-9, Easter morning’s Mass: “. . . Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulcher: and he saw, and believed . . . And behold, Jesus met them, saying: ‘All hail.’ But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him. Then Jesus said to them: ‘Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me.’”
OUR CONTINUING DAILY PRAYER AS OF APRIL 15: “Lord our God, through Blessed Mother Mary, Saints, and Pope John Paul 1 — cover Ester with Your glorious resurrection; protect her from pneumonia; hasten her healing; shorten her period of discomforts; fast-track her intestines’ self-healing for her not to have a colostomy bag; restore her voice, and take out her emotional baggage during her Wellness Treatment – let no one visit to tell burdensome news that can cause her mental, emotional, and physical strain.”
In the morning. All is Well. Ester is my Easter – the meaning of my life is she because she lives life in imitation of the saints and Blessed Mother Mary.
Because I could not get a priest to privately celebrate Easter Sunday Mass for Ester and the family – the Cumagun families will attend Mass at their respective churches; then meet at the hospital to greet Mamalo for no more than a half-hour, and after go for the family Easter lunch celebration at Nono’s, Festival Mall. The family members assigned to be on duty for that day Mike and Anthony will bring their lunch to Mamalo’s hospital room.
Dr. Angel Tomacruz-Cumagun: “Thank you so much for yesterday Papa. For the first time in a while, we had a semblance of normality. Mama is looking and doing much better. Fewer tubes are attached to her too. It’s nice to see her sitting up now and reacting to the people around her. But the best is her beautiful smile which lights up the room. I long to see the day when she joins us in the table, seven months seems so long. So I’m looking forward to Christmas!!!”
Afternoon and early evening: All IS NOT ONLY WELL — THE GOOD NEWS
We got word early afternoon after lunch when we returned to the hospital that Ester’s team of doctors gave their unanimous decision to transfer her to a better wellness room subject to our having 24/7 nightingales (nurses). Dr. Ramy told Anne the previous night: “To hasten Tita Ester’s healing and to support her up-beat mood, she will be transferred to a floor where the patients are not in grave danger, but her private room will have No Visitors Sign, only the five persons listed will be allowed to visit or be with her for watch duty.”
Why All These Happenings on? Is the very private room transfer and finding a nightingale before 3 PM, Signs of God’s Blessings for our families’?
I called Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM to tell him of the significance of today’s event, and for its meaning/message, if these are God’s Signs for the families’ faith in the healing power of prayers? Fr. Robert explained to me that it is God’s Divine Mercy — Christ, the crucified, died at 3 PM to give us life on His Resurrection. Ester’s healing to life may be one of the intercessory miracles in Pope John Paul 1’s canonization. Fr. Manansala advised me to request all of our prayer warriors to include The Chaplet Divine Mercy in theirs and our prayers for Ester’s continuing healing and recovery. Praise is to God; Ester’s healing is for the greater glory of God. Ester and I are on our 2nd life.
The first time I saw the plaque of Mary Undoer of Knots is when I went to Mass at Santuario de San Antonio, and when I was leaving I saw it at the left side of the exit door. So I went back to pray to her for Ester’s healing of her intestines – my serendipity in God’s plan.
Feast Day of Our Lady Undoer of Knots, September 28
Mary, under the title of, Our Lady Undoer of Knots that represents all the troubles and trials in our lives and our sins that separate us from God. “Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it.” (Saint Irenaeus)
Mary’s faith unties the knot of sin; but what are these knots we may ask? They are the problems and struggles we face for which we do not see any solution – knots of discord in our family, and the absence of peace and joy at home, and the dissolution of the family – all the knots of our life that suffocate the soul and separate us from God. (Google: Mary Undoer of Knots)
The first thing we need to do is to place ourselves under the protection of the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, our help, our advocate, and our intercessor. Prayer is what will give us the determination to continue and never give up—gave Ester the courage to fight for life and healed her.
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, APRIL 28, 2019
Pericope John 20:19-310 “Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God.’”
PRAYER: “Blessed are those who have not seen me, but believe.”
FIRST READING ACTS OF APOSTLE: “. . . Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on the cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one of them or another of them. A large number of the people from the town in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were cured.”
OUR PRAYER: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love is everlasting.”
Our continuing daily prayer: Lord our God, through Blessed Mother Mary, Saints in Heaven and Pope John Paul 1 — cover Ester with Your glorious resurrection; protect her from pneumonia; hasten her healing; shorten her period of discomforts; fast-track her intestines’ self-healing for her not to have a colostomy bag; restore her voice, and take out her emotional baggage – Let no one visit to tell problems that can cause her mental and physical strain.
In the morning. April 28, Feast of Divine Mercy, at the hospital, Anne told me that tomorrow Dr. Resurreccion will transfer Ester’s central line from the right side to the left side below her collar bone that is supposed to be transferred every two weeks. The central line is Ester’s feeder for medicines. Dr. Sarmiento will install the peg, feeder line for nutrients that ordinary food cannot provide. She will be under general anesthesia in the Operating Room at 5 PM tomorrow, Monday. Ester’s rehabilitation is like the finishing stage of constructing a house—it takes some time for adjustments and cleaning-up. Let’s pray tonight and tomorrow for the Holy Spirit, and the King of Divine Mercy to guide the doctors for Ester’s two operations, and for Ester not to suffer post-op pain and discomforts. We pray that Ester’s final healing stage is — for the greater glory of God. In the afternoon and evening – All is well.
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus
like a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, MAY 2, 2019
Pericope John 3:31-36, morning’s Mass: “The One who comes from above is above all . . . Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.”
In the morning. Ester eagerly awaited the arrival of Lina Datu and Fr. Manansala, OFM.
In the afternoon, Fr. Robert celebrated Divine Mercy Mass in thanksgiving for Ester’s continual healings. After 48 hours of no solids by mouth and Communion by Intent, Ester could now receive by mouth the Eucharist – we felt her joy of receiving Holy Communion. After the Mass, Lina led the prayer of Divine Mercy, after which I led the 2nd-day Novena of Mary, Undoer of Knots. We brought Fr. Robert and Lina for Merienda Cena, and while we were having merienda, the good news happened: Dr. Ray visited Ester and took out the suture and dressings in her middle stomach; told Ester: “You can now go home.” Ester’s hand gesture answered, “Not Yet.” Dr. Ray recalled Ester’s ICU Code Blue negative experience. Evening; all is well.
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, MAY 12, 2019
Ester’s 60TH Mother’s Day
Ester has lived more Mother’s Day with me, than with her Mother, so have I
Pericope John 10:27-30, morning’s Mass: “The Father and I are one.” PRAYER: “May all things be lifted to him.” OUR NINE DAYS NOVENA AS AT APRIL 30: “Dearest Mother, I thank you for undoing the knots in our lives. Wrap Ester in your mantle of love, keep her under your protection, and enlighten the family with your peace! Mary, Undoer of Knots, we pray for Ester.”
OUR CONTINUING DAILY PRAYER: Lord our God, through Blessed Mother Mary, Saints in Heaven and Pope John Paul 1 — cover Ester with Your glorious resurrection; protect her from pneumonia; hasten her healing; shorten her period of discomforts; fast-track her intestines’ healing for her not to have a colostomy bag; restore her voice, and take out her ICU March 27 and April 6 negative experiences emotional baggage. Let no one visit to tell problems that can cause her mental and physical strain. Let us add to our petition: Lord, our God, please comfort Ester to be able to bear the hardships and discomforts of her PT sessions to grow in body strength in a short period so her trache can be taken out soon; now of importance for Ester is to have a regular daily poo-poo habit.
In the Morning. Had her hair done, since last March 1. Children visit Mamalo on Mother’s Day. Anthony: “Happy Mother’s Day to a most patient, courageous, & God-loving mom. You continue to strengthen my faith in your example. I love you very much ma!” Mike: “This will be the most significant Mother’s Day ever for me. Thanks Be To God!” Dr. Vic, my third brother: “Happy Mother’s day, Esther! We are happy you are getting better. Nancy and I are praying for a full recovery . . . Tony, because of your faith in Him, God will be with Esther. Take care and love U all.” In the Afternoon. N.B. Patience prays Niña R. Colayco — you are right; Of the Old PMC P&G Fun Group, the wives sin una paciencia, at the least many. When compared to the husbands, I am second;Ben Santos es número uno. Patience and humility, I experience now is what I need – a growing part of Marital Love. Ester’s PT for her emotional and physical rehabilitation is not only important but critical; we pray for Ester to have the fortitude to bear with courageous patience the rigors of her PT exercises. Ester insists on having daily PT which can be done in and out of the hospital, but she does not want to go home yet. WHY: Is it to have the strength to overcome her negative ICU March 27 and April 6 experiences; does she feel that by being home she will re-experience her ICU emotional baggage, or does she think that going home will diminish her PT time? I assured her that she will not go home until she says so; even if need be for us to live in a condo nearest the hospital. In the Evening. Ester’s team of doctors visited to wish her Happy Mother’s Day, Dr. Ray early evening. Herequested me to specifically pray for Ester to have a daily toilet habit – coming from a doctor is an acknowledgment that Ester’s no poo-poo habit is now in God’s saving grace. Medically making her poo-poo is somewhat dangerous coz the meds can cause bursting of the intestines so he asks that we pray for Ester to poo-poo naturally daily. I implore you to pray for Ester’s daily regular natural toilet habit. God bless and listen to our prayers.
Mother’s Day at the hospital
OMG Mother was right about everything
This Is the Day
(Composer Matt Johnson)
This is the day You’ve made
And Your mercies are new, Your promises true
This is the day You’ve made
I’ll rejoice and be glad in You
ALL DAY, all is going well with her daily regimen.Ester’s physical state of health is significantly improving day after day. The doctors, physical therapists, and Nightingale 24/7 private nurses are all encouraging her to go home and volunteering to home care for her; telling us they love her – some consider her their mother, other grandmothers.
Evening. Anne reports that she told Mamalo, “Unahan tayo matulog.” Mamalo said, “Mauna ka na.”
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, MAY 29, 2019
Pericope John 16:12-15, morning’s Mass: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. . .” We pray to the Holy Spirit through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints, and Pope John Paul 1: Dearest Mother Mary, Wrap Ester in your mantle of love, keep her under your protection and enlighten us with your peace. Undo her ICU on March 27 and April 6 negative experiences.
Early Morning, Fr. Cef, SDB, Ester’s favorite cousin priest, arrived from Bangkok binging lychees, Ester’s favorite fruit that she takes as part of the main course (hospital food tasteless daw), and to celebrate Mass at her room for her intentions. Ester is so happy to see him. Fr. Cef confesses to Ester what he knows of her present state of health and what he thinks is best to help her decide the when, where, and how of her hospital departure.
Dr. Gonzales, pulmo, on his morning round told Ester and us: “Ester your improvement in breathing is admirable, and today, I will begin to lessen your oxygen support – but you have to do your PT religiously every day to hasten breathing power so your trache can be removed.” He added, “In two weeks Ester, pointing his fingers to the ceiling (with God’s help) will breathe normally without oxygen support; walk and get out of bed, all with the least of help.” I told him Ester looks forward to her PT; it is she who reminds the nurses about it. Let’s pray incessantly for God’s healing: Ester’s PT to strengthen her lungs, which will restrengthen her upper and lower bodies. Dr. Gonzales compared Ester’s physical state of wellbeing to a ten-story building – Ester is on the 2nd floor and has eight more floors to climb, which Dr. Gonzales feels can be achieved in two weeks (below their first estimate of seven months rehab, plus five months for a full recovery to be as she was before). God Wills
In the Afternoon and Evening. All is well. All-day all night angels watching over Ester
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, MAY30-31, 2019
Pericope John 16:16-20: “You will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”
Friday Afternoon Mass Pericope Luke 1:39 -56: “And Mary said: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord’ . . .” Prayer: Heal Ester, O Lord. Holy Spirit through Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints, and Pope John Paul 1, cover Ester with the mantle of your spirit; protect her from pneumonia; comfort her to bear the hardships and discomforts of her physical therapy that will strengthen her lungs and restrengthen her upper and lower bodies in a short period. Erase her ICU on March 27 and April 6 negative experiences – let no one tell problems that can cause her mental and physical strain. Thursday & Friday. All in the family was happy.
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH JUNE 9, 2019
Pericope John 14: 15-16. 23b-26 Morning Mass: “The advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” Prayer: Heal Ester, O Lord, and forgive those who attempt to harm families. Holy Spirit through Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints, and Pope John Paul 1, cover Ester with the mantle of your spirit; protect her from pneumonia; comfort her to bear the hardships and discomforts of her physical therapy that will strengthen her lungs and restrengthen her upper and lower bodies in a short period so her trache can be removed. Undo her ICU March 27 and April 6 negative experiences – let no one visit to cause her emotional and physical strain. All Day, All Night, all is well since April 13, when Dr. Roxas ordered Ester’s transfer from ICU to the Telemetry Room with the NO VISITORS RULE – in lieu of No Visitors, winding down updates will be Ester’s photos of the events of the day as if you visited.
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, JUNE 10, 2019
Pericope John 19:25-34, morning’s Mass: “All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” Prayer: Holy Spirit through Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints and Pope John Paul 1, cover Ester with the mantle of your spirit; protect her from pneumonia; comfort her to bear the hardships and discomforts of her physical therapy that will strengthen her lungs and restrengthen her upper and lower bodies in a short period so her trache can be removed. The first time, after a parallel bar, Ester walked the walker for seven minutes – No Photos because there was no extra person on hand to document the event.
TUESDAY JUNE 11, 2019, Tony C. Pericope on the Gospel of Matthew 5:13-16: “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Prayer: Holy Spirit through Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints and Pope John Paul 1, cover Ester with the mantle of your spirit; protect her from pneumonia; comfort her to bear the hardships and discomforts of her physical therapy that will strengthen her lungs and restrengthen her upper and lower bodies in a short period so her trache can be removed. Undo her ICU March 27 and April 6 negative experiences – let no one visit to tell problems to cause her mental, emotional, and physical strain. All-day, all is well since April 13, when Dr. Roxas ordered Ester’s transfer from ICU to the Telemetry Room with the NO VISITORS RULE – instead of No Visitors, winding down updates will be Ester’s photo events of the day to make you feel you were there. No physical therapy: slept less (LBM) last night, and tired during the day.
Pericope – Gospel of John 16:12-15, morning’s Mass: “. . . But when He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all the truth.”
PRAYER: Holy Spirit through Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints and Pope John Paul 1, cover Ester with the mantle of your spirit; protect her from pneumonia; comfort her to bear the hardships and discomforts of her physical therapy.
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH, JUNE 16, 2019
Fr. Cef’s arrived Saturday night. Schedule: 8 AM, depart Dasmariñas residence for the hospital; 9 AM Sunday Fathers’ Day Mass; leave for the airport to catch 2 PM Macau flight. Fr. Cef fly-back to Manila Thursday, June 20. Two more hospital days, then at last home comfort
Father’s Day Mass was celebrated by Fr. Cef. In the Mass offertory, I handed, before God and man, to Anne, the eldest child, my offering: (1) My WAIVER OF CONJUGAL RIGHTS OF INHERITANCE TO THE CHILDREN, (2) SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY APPOINTING ATTY. ARTURO G. SELIM of Platon Martinez, Flores, San Pedro, and Leaño Law Office and ANNE M. CUMAGUN, JOINTLY, ATTORNEYS-IN-FACT, to do and perform Legal Matters for and on behalf of Tony and Ester M. Cumagun’s family witnessed by Fr. Cef, A.G. and Ester M. Cumagun children and their spouses.
Pericope Luke 9: 11b-17, morning’s Mass: “The Twelve approached Him and said, ‘Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages for we are in a deserted place here.’”
Prayer: Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints and Pope John Paul 1, cover Ester with the mantle of your spirit; protect her from the evil spirit; comfort her to bear the hardships and discomforts of her physical therapy that will strengthen her lungs and restrengthen her upper and lower bodies in as short a period so her trache can be removed.
All-day, all-night, all is well since April 13 when Dr. Roxas ordered Ester’s transfer from ICU to Telemetry Room and then Wellness Room with NO VISITORS RULE — in lieu of this, updates will be Ester’s photos of the day as if you visited and feel you were there.
Ester’s last day of her 115 Days of Hospital Living
Come with Your strength and Your power
Come in Your own special way
The vigorous and rigorous of her physical therapies – the walkabout
Thursday 26 steps, Friday 170, Saturday 160, Sunday 160 steps (the week before)
Ester’s physical therapy Dr. Lipana congratulating her PT progress and bidding goodbye
I’m coming home I’ve done my 115 days of hospital livingGoogle: Tie a Yellow Ribbon. Adapted
I’m told of yellow ribbons tied on the gate and fence when I come home
It’s been four long months that feel like years
Yellow ribbon is what I need to see;
Now the ambulance attendants are cheering and I can’t believe I see
Welcome Home sign and yellow ribbons
The origin of the idea of a yellow ribbon as remembrance may have been the 19th-century practice that some women allegedly had of wearing a yellow ribbon in their hair to signify their devotion to a husband or sweetheart or vice versa of a husband wearing a yellow kerchief serving in the U.S. Cavalry
Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM in the evening of Friday, June 21, on his first night as a recently assigned resident priest at Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, called me to ask how Ester was and was she at home already. I told Fr. Robert that after 115 days at the hospital of watching TV Mass, Ester will be coming home Sunday, leaving the hospital at 11 AM. He asked me if he could celebrate 3 PM thanksgiving Sunday Mass for Ester. I replied: “The family will be grateful; it would make Ester very happy and her Corpus Christi Sunday homecoming meaningful. Because Ester is still very susceptible to viral infections and pneumonia, only the family will attend the Mass to comply with the DOCTORS’ NO VISITORS ALLOWED” that we pray will not be as long as her physical therapy rehab period.
June 23, 2019
Dear Fellow Prayer Warriors and Marian Pilgrims,
“So much owed to so many by so few” (Winston Churchill: Their Finest Hour, 1940) On behalf of Ester, the children, grandchildren, and I thank again all who stood by her during her Dias De Peligro with steadfast faith in the power of prayer — many families, relatives, and friends to thank, and much to thank for; only God knows when and how to bless you all. The Montinola-Cumagun family is indebted for your continuing and incessant prayers to God for Ester’s living and healing through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints, and Pope John Paul 1’s pray-for-intercessory miracle in the papal process of his canonization – the winds beneath our wings of prayers. In the care of Ester, my faith in the Divine Mercy of God was my co-pilot.
We thank Ester’s team of doctors led by Dr. Roxas for their skill and concern for her wellness; her 24/7 PD nurses & Asian Hospital staff for their patience and affection. We know that skill & patience – their job, but concern & affection – their humanity. Ester’s doctors who wanted to release her weeks before are happy that Ester has agreed to go home; many of the hospital resident doctors and nurses who attended her at the start did not think despite her fast recovery that she would be released from the hospital sooner than a year, were joyfully amazed. Ester’s courage and grace under pain and pressure in her healing has evangelized them to believe in the power of prayer. Doctors’ care and PT will now be at home – I pray the NO VISITORS RULE will be in effect only for a month.
Ester still needs your prayers as she undergoes the rigors of physical therapy. She needs to be more vertical in posture than horizontal to strengthen her upper body. Please pray with me for Ester to have a good and successful PT rehab – our prayer should thank Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints, and venerable Pope John Paul 1 for their interceding to God in the Holy Spirit to guide the skill and concern of Ester’s doctors to heal her to be the Ester she was before she entered the hospital.
I Pray we will see you soon in Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, Makati with our children and Ester by my side in the church pew, and walking the aisle queuing to receive Holy Communion. And when she can physically — play the organ only for the Masses of her Monday Cenacles and First Friday Mother Butler Guild that I promised God as my Nolo Contendere sacrifice for Ester’s no colostomy bag healing.
I’m finally signing off — My last bulletin on Ester’s state of health, which to many was, and for some still is, a faith journey; so was it for our children and their children who admirably endured its ups and downs, but for Ester and me, the past is present – forever a pilgrimage of faith; deducant nos angeli.
I bid you adieu, not goodbye.
With agape love,
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS, JULY 26, 2019
Pericope Matthew 13:18-23 “The one who hears the word and understands it bears fruit.”
Maruja Paredes, prayer partner: “Lord Jesus, help me to guard the word you have planted in my heart that no doubt or temptation may keep me from believing and obeying you. May I be fruitful in your service and never fear to speak of you and to share with the good news of Ester’s healing.”
Cogitations: Ester’s four life-threatening crises, 14 operations, 5 viruses, 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and 90 days of physical therapy – suffering her discipleship, healing her evangelization.
The peanuts have a story to tell. During Ester’s last days in ICU, when she was no longer on death watch, Dr. Ramy Roxas, head physician of Ester’s team of doctors, told her: “Tita, now you can demand anything! What do you want? Ester nonchalantly replied: “Peanuts.” Long story to tell – linger in suspense.
Today is our 61st wedding anniversary, much to thank God; of most import, Ester and I are on second life – “You only live twice, once when you are born, twice when you face death” (Matsuo Basho, Poet Laureate, 1644-1694). “But, oh my dear, our love is here to stay” (George Gershwin: Love is Here to Stay, 1938). Ester tells me every time I tell her I love you; “Ako na naman!” My standard OP reply: “Ikaw ang bigay ng maykapal. Tugon sa aking dasal; upang sa lahat ng panahon, bawat pagkakataon ang ibigin ko’y ikaw.”
I pray I’ve lived my marriage vows as a covenant to the letter. We celebrated our 61st wedding anniversary at Anne’s residence, limited to only our children to comply with Doctors’ Order – No Visitors. Our children are prohibited as a group (more than two at a time) to visit Ester except for Sunday Mass. Anyone who enters Ester’s room must not have symptoms of a running nose, cough, cold or fever, or who just came from a hospital as a patient or visitor. Ester for as long as she wears the trache is defenseless against germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa) – reason her doctors wanted her out of the hospital.
“Happy, happy anniversary to my Papalo and Mamalo. Love you both to the stars and back. O’ Pa, hindi ka second class citizen, top billing ka!” (Anne, Benjie, Michelle and Karl, July 26)
“I am bed-ridden with the flu, but my spirit is with both of you in wishing you more anniversaries to come – I need you, we need Papalo’s guidance and Mamalo’s love.” (Franjo, July 26)
“Caring, sharing, and loving are the bedrock of this relationship. Happiest 61st wedding anniversary to our dearest Papalo and Mamalo. Continue to inspire us. Love always,” (Anthony, Angel, Jaime, Camille, and Paolo)
“May you have many more anniversaries to come. Mamalo took her first steps with a cane today and hopefully by her birthday in October she can walk unaided and the miracle is complete. God is good! Our family is so blessed!” (Mike, Kaoru, Kenichi and Reiji, July 26)
I told Ester I was going to Mass while she was doing her necessary and tedious physical therapy; her face was aglow with joy. “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
“These are the days of the love of the One who turned water into wine. These are the days now that we must savor, and we must enjoy it as we can. These are the days that will last forever; we’ve got to hold them in our heart” (Van Morrison: These are the days, 1989)
Happiest wedding anniversary! What a gift from God; Ester without the oxygen tank attached to her, on the Feast of the Assumption, and for the first time walked with a cane, not a walker. Ester’s significant healings came on religious and meaningful days, exempli gratia: her life-saving healing of her intestine on my birthday, release from the hospital on Corpus Christi Day, and now, her first walk with a cane on our 61st wedding anniversary. I prayed for her trache to be removed; God granted first Ester’s capability to stand-up on her own and walk for the first time with a cane ad majorem Dei gloriam. God followed His law of nature – her upper body strength first before removal of her trache.
ESTER’S STATE OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS, JULY 27, 2019
Pericope Matthew 13:24:30 “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Maruja Paredes, prayer partner: “In tough times, Lord, let me be motivated to look at how far I have come, rather than how far I have to go. Let me continue counting my blessings, not what I have been missing. Lord Jesus may your word take deep root in my heart and bear good fruit for your glory. May I hunger for your righteousness that I may look forward to the Day of Judgment with joy than with dismay.”
Cogitations: Ester’s four life-threatening episodes, “most precarious March 27,” trials and tribulations of 14 operations, 5 viruses, 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and now, 90 days on-going home physical therapy – suffering her discipleship, healing her evangelization. Ester tells every time I’m in pain: “Offer your sufferings to God.” Everything you do, feel, and think is a footprint of God’s. “During times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints in the sand it was then that I carried you cf. John 3:16.” (Mary Stevenson: Footprints in the Sand) Dr. Ramy Roxas’ prognosis is Ester’s PT will take about a year.
Oremus: “Ester’s one hour morning and afternoon PT every day for July be reduced to every other day in August and her trache removed; once a week PT in September, and by October walk with private duty nurse minimal assistance, minimum use of a cane and without need for the oxygen tank to be by her side; for these, we pray the Memorare to Blessed Mother for Ester’s healing to be one of the intercessory miracles in the papal process of Pope John Paul 1’s canonization cf. Mt 20:18.”
Ester’s State of Wellness, August 1, 2019
Pericope Matthew 13:47-53 “The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.”
Cogitations: Ester’s four life-threatening episodes –“distressing & unthinkable for her was March 27 and April 6; the reason she did not want to go home for months since the second week of May to the last week of July, despite her doctors’ weekly entreaties; trials and tribulations of 14 operations, 5 viruses, 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and now 90 days of on-going home physical therapy. Dr. Ramy Roxas’ prognosis: Ester’s PT will take about a year to recover – suffering her discipleship, healing her evangelization.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, may your word take deep root in my heart and transform my way of thinking, discerning, and acting. May your Spirit open my ears to hear and understand the word of God in the Scriptures that I may revere and treasure both the Old and the New Testaments which God has prepared for all who desire to enter his kingdom.”
Oremus: “For Ester’s one hour morning and afternoon physical therapy every day for July be reduced to every other day in August and her trache removed; once a week PT in September, and by October walk with private duty nurse minimal assistance, minimum use of a cane and without need for the oxygen tank to be by her side; for these, we pray the Memorare to Blessed Mother for Ester’s healing to be one of the intercessory miracles in the papal process of Pope John Paul 1’s canonization” cf. Matthew 20:18.
Ester’s State of Wellness, August 10, 2019
John 12:24-26 “The Father will honor whoever serves me.” Ester’s glory to God trials and tribulations: 14 operations, 5 viruses, 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and 360 days of on-going home physical therapy – suffering her discipleship, healing her evangelization.
Cogitations: Ester’s four life-threatening episodes – distressing and unspeakable negative experiences for her was March 27 and April 6; the reason she did not want to go home for months since the second week of May to the last week of July, despite her doctors’ weekly entreaties. It may surprise many that Ester is strong-willed to what is morally right and felonious.
Oremus: “For Ester’s one hour twice daily PT for July be reduced to every other day in August and her trache to be removed; once a week PT in September, and by October walk with private duty nurse minimal assistance, minimum use of a cane and without need for the oxygen tank by her side; for these, we pray the Memorare to Blessed Mother for Ester’s healing be one of the intercessory miracles in the papal process of Pope John Paul 1’s canonization” cf. Matthew 20:18.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, let me be wheat sown in the earth, to be harvested for you. Give me fresh hope and joy in serving you all the days of my life.”
Saturday Night Home Visit
Ester’s State of Wellness, August 25, 2019
Pericope Luke 13:22-30 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter, but will not be strong enough.” Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your guiding presence and your tender love and mercy towards me. Through the gift of your, Spirit fill me with persevering faith and courage to trust you always in all things and in every circumstance I find myself in. May your love set my heart aflame with love for you who are my All.”
Ester’s glory to God trials and tribulations: 14 operations, 5 viruses treated, 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and 360 days recovery of on-going home physical therapy and virus prevention – suffering her discipleship, healing her evangelization, For more than a month Ester did not want to go home as per doctor’s advice – WHY? A man of God was able to convince Ester to go home on his and the family’s assurance that no harm or bad news will come to her; moreso at home in San Lorenzo, not Dasma; Doctors Order No Visitors, as in the hospital, will be complied with. The ground floor bedroom at San Lorenzo is better suited for Ester’s medical condition and needs than her 2nd-floor bedroom at Dasmariñas. Also, it is easier for her PDNs residing in Cavite to enter San Lorenzo Village than Dasmariñas Village. Dr. Ramy Roxas’ advisory to the family, the week before Ester’s release from the hospital: “Ester’s recovery will take about a year.” Now at home, in anguish, I watch Ester stop and go walk with a cane with difficulty, and do her physical therapy with discomfort, particularly lifting weights; never has Ester shown to the family her pain. Ester tells the family, “Whenever you’re in pain offer your sufferings to God.” Everything you do, feel, and think is a footprint of God’s. “During times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints in the sand it was then that I carried you.” (Loc. cit Footprints)
Today Ester’s R&R, the Fifth Consecutive Day that Ester’s PT will be more often without oxygen support; yesterday was for 6 hours. We are hopeful and pray that her breathing will be more hours than yesterday. Heaven is listening to our prayers; Dr. Ramy Roxas, head of Ester’s team of doctors, will visit Ester tomorrow, and hopefully order the removal of her trache. Hopefully, also Dr. Lipana will order Ester’s September PT to be once a week; for these, we pray the Memorare to Blessed Mother thanking and imploring her to shorten Ester’s recovery and physical therapy healing period.
Ester’s State of Wellness, August 26, 2019
Matthew 23:13-22 “You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, your word is life for me. May I never shut the door to your heavenly kingdom through my stubborn pride or disbelief. Help me to listen to your voice attentively and to conform my life more fully to your word.”
Ester’s glory to God trials and tribulations: 14 operations, 5 viruses, 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and 360 days recovery of on-going home physical therapy and virus prevention – suffering her discipleship, healing her evangelization.
Today is the Seventh Consecutive Day that Ester PT walked six hours without oxygen support. Heaven is listening to our prayers: (1) Dr. Ramy Roxas, head of Ester’s team of doctors, hopefully, will order the removal or capped Ester’s trache on his visit of August 26. (2) Dr. Lipana hopefully, too will order Ester’s PT in September to be once a week, and both doctors by November allow her to go to church every Sunday with a private duty nurse minimal assistance, minimum use of a cane, and without need for the oxygen tank by her side; for these, we pray the Memorare to Blessed Mother Mary thanking and imploring her for Ester’s physical therapy healing to shorten her recovery period.
Dr. Ramy Roxas visited to check on Ester. The doctor is very happy with Ester’s medical progress and could not have imagined her present state of wellness in the time of her two major life-threatening operations in March, and her 12 “open and close lavage” from April-May. He informed me that Dr. Ray and he in consultation with Dr. Reodica, pulmo, and PT Dr. Lapitan will prepare a timeline objective of Oct. 25, Assumption’s traditional Velada College Day for Ester to go public. I told me not to worry about Ester’s falling hair; it will grow as she eats more regular food to replace her trache attached line for nutrient feeding. PT will be heightened for her trache to be taken out in Sept. As Ester wish Still No Visitors until her first public appearance on October 25. As Angel, Anthony’s wife has wished, the family will have a Merry Christmas.
Ester’s State of Wellness, August 28, 2019
Matthew 23:27-32 “Jesus said, Woe to you: on the outside, you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, incline my heart to your wisdom and teach me your ways. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may love and obey your word.”
Cogitatione: Ester’s four life-threatening episodes – March 2 and March 8 of “open and close operations.” And the distressing life-threatening and unspeakable negative experiences for her was March 27 and April 6; the reason she did not want to go home for months since the second week of May to the last week of July, despite her doctors’ weekly entreaties; only God, Ester and I know “WHY.” It may surprise many to know, especially on her parents’ side that Ester is strong-willed when it comes to what is morally right and felonious, but forgiving. A man of God was able to convince Ester to go home on the family’s assurance that no harm will come to her and no visitors, moreso at home as per doctors’ orders.
Dr. Ramy Roxas’ advisory to the family on the week before Ester’s release from the hospital that “Ester’s recovery will take about a year.” Now at home, in delicious agony, I watch Ester stop and go walk with a cane with less and less difficulty, and do her physical therapy with less and less discomfort by the day. Ester never shows her pain nor complains about it. “She may not be what she may seem inside her shell; whose eyes can be so private, no one’s allowed to see them when they cry.” (Charles Aznavour song: She, 1974) Ester tells me every time I’m in pain: “Offer your sufferings to God.” Everything you do, feel, and think is a footprint of God’s. “During times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints in the sand it was then that I carried you” cf. John 3:16.(Mary Stevenson: Footprints in the Sand, 1936)
Today is the Ninth Consecutive Day that Ester PT walked six hours without oxygen support. Heaven is listening to our prayers: Dr. Ramy said that he can now prepare the timeline in consultation with her pulmonary doctor and physical therapy doctor for Ester to go public. He said that Ester should be able to go to church in October, and Anne suggested October 25, Assumption’s traditional Velada College Day Jubilee for Ester to go public. Dr. Ramy told me not to worry about Ester’s falling hair; it will grow as she eats more regular food to replace her trache attached line for nutrient feeds. The core of Ester’s complete recovery is for her trache to be removed in September brought about by successful physical therapy for her to go public in October; for these, we pray the Memorare to Blessed Mother Mary.
All is well, new normal; she loves me more now than before!
Ester’s State of Wellness, September 1, 2019
Luke 14:1, 7-14 “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the lame, the crippled; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.” The Bible tells of Jesus’ stories of parties of wine, women, and sinners even on the Sabbath. “The Pharisees, not surprisingly, are “watching him closely; due to what they have heard about Jesus’ Sabbath practices. They are trying to trap Jesus on something inappropriate he might say.” (Google: Commentary)
Filipinos love food and get-togethers on Sundays after Mass. But as in the first century of life, there are Filipinos who act like Pharisees using get-togethers to monitor what is said to spread tsismis (fake news) about people to have themselves exalted. “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, you became a servant for our sake to set us free from sin, selfishness, and conceit. Help me to be humble to love freely and graciously.”
Ester’s glory to God trials and tribulations: 4 life and death situations–2 physical and 2 emotional, 14 operations, 5 viruses treated, 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and 360 days recovery of on-going home physical therapy and virus prevention – suffering her discipleship, healing her evangelization.
Cogitatione: Ester’s four life-threatening episodes – March 2 and March 8 of “open and close operations.” And the distressing life-threatening and unspeakable negative experiences for her was March 27 and April 6; the reason she did not want to go home two for months since the second week of May to the last week of July, despite her doctors’ weekly entreaties; only God, Ester and I know “WHY.” A man of God convinced Ester to go home on his assurance of No visitors, Doctors’ order.
Today is the “Second Consecutive Capped Day” of Ester’s for 7 hours without trache breathing on her own. The core of Ester’s breathing on her own is her PT dedication; for these, we pray to Blessed Mother Mary.
Sunday Family Mass, Presider Fr. Robert, OFM
First Time Ester played the organ for Mass, and break bread with the family since March 1, 2019 – gives the family hopes that there will be more such happenings: Ester to go public by October; attend daily Mass in our Parish Church Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park; show up at the Assumption College’s Old Girl’s Day Velada Jubilee; celebrate her 84th birthday in conjunction with the blessing of our children’s St. Joseph Residences, Alphonso Street, Barangay Poblacion, Makati, and Christmas’ Noche Buena, 2019 & New Year’s Media Noche, 2020.
Ester’s State of Wellness, October 9, 2019
Velada -Assumption College annual alumnae homecoming Old Girls’ Day
Assumption College Annual Alumnae Homecoming Oct. 25, 2019
Assumption Convent HS 1954 Blue-Diamond Velada Dance Rehearsal, October 18, 2019
Alleluia! Blessed Mother Mary and Pope John Paul 1’s answers to our prayer petitions are on schedule. Ester longed so much (despite my reluctance) to watch her 1954 blue-diamond jubilarian classmates perform their class dance morning rehearsal (no traffic, few people in attendance) for the Assumption College Old Girls’ Day. This was Ester’s first out of the house, joy ride, and public appearance (her high school classmates. and batchmates).
BULLETIN #142 ESTER’S STATE OF WELLNESS, AUGUST 15, 2019
Feast Of The Assumption Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
Progression of Ester’s being more Vertical than Horizontal
June 5-23, 2019 First walk – parallel bar first then a walker
Ester’s State of Wellness — Thursday, November 14, 2019
Pericope: Luke 17:20-25 “For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”
Orison: Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus Christ, may your kingdom come and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Be the Ruler of my heart and the Master of my life that I may always live in the freedom of your love and truth.”
The seventh day of Eater’s taking antibiotics, PT today. Her coughing phlegm still there, but much less than yesterday. We pray to Blessed Mother Mary and Venerable Pope John Paul 1 that by the tenth day, Monday, Nov. 18, Ester’s coughing phlegm will be gone and the virus cured.
Ateneo H.S. ’54 Class Dec. l and BLD Old Treasury Group Dec. 15 Christmas parties “I am not sure as of this date about my schedule – Believe It or Not; Ester looks for me and I can only leave the house, as long as Anne is left with her, for no more than an hour. She wants me to be with her during her PT. It’s now a custom for Ester and me to have time with each other every day at 4-7 pm when her trachea is taken out for us to talk and her to play the organ piano with my sing-along. She says she does not remember much of the past months, and for me and Anne to tell her because she is now emotionally strong. Our schedules (Anne and I) are a day to day reactions to Ester’s state of health, I want to go to the Christmas parties; Ester wants me to go, too.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Pericope: Luke 21:5-11 See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not be afraid to follow me !
Orison: Maruja Paredes Lord Jesus, your grace and mercy abound even amid difficulties. Help me to reject what would hinder me from pursuing your way of peace and holiness. Fill me with hope.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Pericope: Luke 1:67-79 You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, Orison: Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, you have been gracious and merciful towards your people. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may bear witness to the joy of the Gospel to those around me.”
When Mary heard that Elizabeth was pregnant, she immediately hurried to be with Elizabeth. Just imagine the conversation these two women had. Both of them became pregnant in highly unusual circumstances, yet both women were filled with complete faith and trust in God and faith in the “miracle” they each were gifted with. Joseph and Zechariah also had to be men of deep faith and trust in their God. Did they wonder what else their lives would hold? What faith these women and men had in their God! (Loc. cit The Dome Blog)
Christmas Mass Presider Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM
My Cumagun Families’ Miracle Christmas
Ester’s State of Wellness — Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Feast of the Holy Family
Pericope: John 1:1-18 “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘the one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me . . . grace and truth came through Jesus Chris.”
Orison: Maruja Paredes “Lord our God, with the birth of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, your glory breaks on the world. As we celebrate his first coming, give us a foretaste of the joy that you will grant us when the fullness of his glory has filled the earth.”
Christmas Dinner at Anthony and Angel’s San Lorenzo Residence
Ester’s State of Wellness — Sunday, December 29, 2019
Pericope Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son. When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth so that what had been spoken might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazorean.
Orison: Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, make me a faithful servant of your word and guardian of your truth. Help me to obey you willingly, like Joseph and Mary, with unquestioning trust and with joyful hope.”
Sunday Mass for Ester celebrated by Fr. Manansala, OFM
Ester’s State of Wellness — Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Pericope: John 1:1-18 “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.”
Orison: Maruja Paredes “God almighty your Word came down from heaven in the silent night. Open our hearts to receive his life with the rising dawn for us to be filled with peace.”
Araw ng Pasasalamat
On behalf of Ester, the children, grandchildren, and I thank again and again all who stood by Ester during her Dias De Peligro with steadfast faith in the power of prayer — many families, relatives, and friends to thank, and much to thank for; only God knows when and how to bless you all – “So much owed to so many by so few.” Ester’s families are indebted for your continuing and incessant prayers to God for her living and healing through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints, and for Pope John Paul 1’s intercessory miracle in the papal process of his canonization – the wind beneath our wings of prayers. In the care of Ester, our families’ faith in the Divine Mercy of God was our co-pilot.
We thank Ester’s team of doctors led by Dr. Ramy Roxas for their skill and concern for her wellness; her 24/7 PD nurses and Asian Hospital staff for their patience and affection. We know that skill and patience – their job, but concern and affection – their humanity. Ester’s courage and grace under pain and pressure in her healing process has evangelized them to believe in the power of prayer.
We thank Blessed Mother Mary, our saints, and venerable Pope John Paul 1 for their intercession to God in the person of the Holy Spirit in guiding the skill and concern of Ester’s doctors to be the Ester she was before she entered the hospital.
I pray we will see you soon in Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, Makati with our children and Ester by my side in the church pew, and walk the aisle queuing to receive Holy Communion. And when she can physically, play the organ for her Mother Butler First Friday Masses that I promised God as my Nolo Contendere.
Ester’s state of health to many is a faith journey; so was it for our children and their children who courageously endured its ups and downs; for Ester and me, the past is present – forever a pilgrimage of faith; “auspice Christo Deo juvante“
We wish all 2020 God-filled health, and happiness. My New Year’s Resolution: I will live for Ester and protect the rights of our children—have executed an Affidavit of Waiver of Rights of Conjugal Inheritance and signed a Special Power of Attorney to our children for the management of Ester’s paraphernal properties.
Anno Domini 2020
Anticipated New Year’s Day love offering Mass
for Ester celebrated by Fr. Manansala, OFM
New Year’s Eve and 2020 Dinner with Mike’s mother-in-law
who flew from Hawaii and Kaoru’s eldest son Ken from Tokyo
Ester’s State of Wellness — Wednesday, January 1, 2020
The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Pericope: Luke 2:16-21 “The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given to him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”
Orison: Maruja Paredes “Father, Son and Spirit, I give you thanks and praise on this first day of the year. Thank you for the past year, and with gratitude and joy I begin this New Year with a singular grace I pray you will grant me. May I always experience your loving providential presence and may this grace be my guide and inspiration in all that I will think, feel, pray, say, and do.”
Die Gratiarum Actione Percipitur
Salamat sa Dios
I resolve to be renewed and restored in God for the New Year.
“As I begin a new year, I am reminded of the circle of life: its beginnings, endings, and every experience in between. As I say farewell to 2019, I pray for the highest good for myself, my loved ones, and all Filipinos of different faiths. I speak my prayers aloud, with fervor, for 2020. I commit to speaking words of love, hope, and truth. As I do, I know that within me is the Christ—the light of the world that Jesus described. The happy in “Happy New Year” depends on me. I look outward to the year ahead through the Holy Spirit. Namaste I see Christ in all people. O God put a new and right spirit within me—Psalm 51:10.” (Google: Daily Word, A Unity Publication. Adapted)
On behalf of Ester, the children, grandchildren, and I thank again and again all who stood by Ester during her Dias De Peligro with steadfast faith in the power of prayer — many families, relatives, and friends to thank, and much to thank for; only God knows when and how to bless you all – “So much owed to so many by so few.” Ester’s families are indebted for your continuing and incessant prayers to God for her living and healing through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary and for Pope John Paul 1’s intercessory miracle in the papal process of his canonization – the wind beneath our wings of prayers. In the care of Ester, our families’ faith in the Divine Mercy of God was our co-pilot.
We thank Ester’s team of doctors, her 24/7 PD nurses, and Asian Hospital staff for their skill, patience, and affection. We know that skill and patience – their job, but concern and affection – their humanity. Ester’s courage and grace under life and death pressure and pain in her healing process has evangelized them to believe in the power of prayer. Ester’s state of health to many is a faith journey; so was it for our children and their children who courageously endured its ups and downs; for Ester and me, the past is present – forever a pilgrimage of faith; “auspice Christo Deo juvante“
My New Year’s Resolution: I will live and die for Ester, and if need be, go to court to protect the rights of her children. I have executed an Affidavit of Waiver of Rights of Conjugal Inheritance and Ester and I have signed a Special Power of Attorney to our children for the management of Ester’s paraphernal properties. Tony Cumagun
Pericope Mark 2:18-22 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.”
Orison Maruja Paredes: “Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may grow in your love. Help me seek you earnestly in prayer and fasting that I may turn away from sin and conform my life to your will. May I always find joy in knowing, loving, and serving You who are My All.”
Anne informed me late last night of the “Good News” (what we have been praying for since Ester left Asian Hospital in July) that she got a viber message from Dr. Silos to bring Ester to the hospital for her trache removal operation. She will be confined for 2 days. Anne asked me if she should get an ambulance. I said, Yes, get the hospital’s ambulance. Ester wanted 2 or 3 PM ambulance transfer. I rushed preparing Ester’s favorite honey mustard sauce to give bisa for hospital food she dreads.
I informed all (called as many as I could through the internet for speed and efficient broadcast) of Ester’s “Good News,” for a God-blest successful trache operation. Ester’s state of health and wellness has been a long and tedious journey, and life-threatening ad majorem Dei gloriam of 14 operations—2 life-threatening; 37 ICU days—2 days of life-harming and traumatizing episodes; 7 viruses treated — 5 were hospital induced; 115 hospital days, and now 360 days recovery of on-going home physical therapy, to date 180 days – suffering her discipleship, healing her evangelization.
Today’s operation (if all med checks are ok) for the removal of her trache will be her 15th operation in eleven months, and if successful no longer needs the oxygen tank to be with her.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Pericope Luke 16:19-31 Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. From the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’”
Orison Maruja Paredes: “Lord Jesus, may I give you fitting honor in the way I live my life and treat my neighbor. May I honor the Lord’s Day as a day holy to you. And may I always treat others with the same mercy and kindness which you have shown to me. Free me from a critical and intolerant spirit that I may always seek the good of my neighbor.”
Today Ester is in the hospital for an operation to permanently remove her trache. If all her med checks are ok her trache will be removed procedure which the hospital’s resident doctors tell us will take no more than an hour though the preparation will take at least two days as-is for any regular operation from fasting to blood and X-rays. We pray for the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints, and Pope John Paul I for a God-blest operation of success.
“Tracheotomy or tracheostomy is a surgical procedure, which consists of making an incision (cut) on the anterior aspect (front) of the neck and opening a direct airway through an incision in the trachea (windpipe) – may be temporary or permanent, depending on the reason for its use. Certain groups, including babies, smokers, and the elderly, are more vulnerable to complications. A tracheostomy (insert or removed) takes 20 to 45 minutes to perform. Tracheostomies are generally safe, but they do have risks. Some complications are likely during or shortly after surgery.
We have been busy all night for the preparations for the removal of Ester’s trache; not as I thought a minor one that can just be done in Ester’s hospital room — major operation pala, as informed by the hospital’s resident doctors. One of the many serious questions they asked about Ester’s health history that I found funny, “Mrs. Cumagun, do you snore when you sleep?” The resident doctors made Anne sign the hospital’s “Release from Claim Documents. They said that for two days of the necessary procedures of med checks and after if all is AOK, the removal of Mrs. Cumagun’s of her trache be done in the operating room with the complete team of doctors from the anesthesiologist for full sedation (did not approve complete anesthesia) to heart, kidney, liver, and lungs, then after operation, stay at least 2 hours in the recovery room for full observation.
Based on my trachea research, Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins Hospital blogs: “the mortality rate of taking care of trachea patients is 10-15% and 0% for the procedure (surgery/operation) What worries me is that Ester’s head of her team of doctors who I completely trust, my late classmate’s son and Anthony’s Ateneo classmate is sick, but at least, the second doctor in command, also a surgeon will do the removal of her trache. Let’s pray for Ester to be God-blest with a successful operation. Lord I believe, relieve my fears. Thanks for all your prayers, love, and concern. Operation if all of the med checks say “Go” will be late this afternoon, I pray, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
I am in tears of joy for the greater glory of God on His crowning milestone through Blessed Mother Mary and our favorite saints for Ester’s of life miracle to be one of the intercessory miracles for blessed of Pope John Paul’s papal process of canonization to sainthood. I just got home from the hospital and Dr. Rey said, No complications because she has had no signs of nausea or wanting to vomit since 6 PM. The operation was successful and Ester is the Ester she used to be. Ester just told me tonight that the doctors told her that she was their “Miracle Baby.”
Dr. Ray told Anne that her mother must now live her life as she used to and instructed Anne that Ester now can go to Mass every day, first in a wheelchair and then with a walker, but at times when the church is not crowded, wear a mask, not much talking yet, and no beso beso with friends. Get out of the house often and eat in her favorite restaurants at times not crowded. Ester has to drink more water more than she used to. She must eat more, gain weight, and not rely on her peg that I just replaced. Ester must not rely for her vitamin supplements using the peg. She has to gain weight and eat at least more than twice what she eats now – push her meals to her past regular size, the sooner she gains weight the sooner her intestine peg can be removed. Ester must live her everyday life as in her past – have to be more vertical than horizontal, and to negate her penchant to be lazy, eat at the dining table with the family all the time, and don’t let her eat alone in her bedroom. Since she loves to watch TV, let her watch sitting and not lying in bed. She must never be left alone at least for this year. She must always have a shadow with her at all times And Keep Away Emotional Problems from her. The family must now take over the business responsibilities of Ester. Anne told Dr. Ray, “It’s Payback Time by the children to their mother.” I told Anne that most of what Dr. Ray told her he had told me on June 29 when he took over the psychiatrist job of Ester’s hospital psychiatrist that could not make house visits. Most of these were also told me by Dr. Ramy when Ester was still in the hospital being prepared to go home.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Pericope Mark 3:1-6 There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. ”
Orison: “My Lord & God, You are merciful to all! (Wisdom 11:23-26). Jesus grace me fortitude.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Thursday, January 23, 2020
Pericope Mark 3:7-12 He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd
so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.
Orison Maruja Paredes. Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with burning love and expectant faith in your saving power. Set me free from that what hinders me from drawing closer to you.
Part of Ester’s Physical Therapy is to often go out of the house with minimal physical effort (wheelchair, walker, and her private duty nurse shadow), fewer people contact for at least one day of whispers and a few days of less talk – today her choice to go to the parlor with Anne to Anne’s delight. Tomorrow Friday is her first day of choice to go to church on the earliest Mass, and days after of daily Masses; then on succeeding days depending on her physical condition, i.e. stamina; fine dining restaurants, then to malls; all of which will have to be done on off-times for fewer people contact and less talk; still no visitors to avoid beso beso and physical contacts – not to her choice, but doctors advisory, so far, until further notice—still has phlegm to be cultured and cured, and stomach peg for vitamin support to be removed – both of which are not life-harming.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Saturday, January 25, 2020
Weekday Masses Assumption chapel and at St. Marie Eugenie Chapel, nuns’ private chapel at the invitation of Ester’s Assumption HS classmate Sr. Isabel
Gospel Mark 16:15-18 Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe; In my name, they will drive out demon they. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink anything deadly, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Jesus is “missioning” his disciples to go out into the “whole” world and proclaim the Gospel. He tells them that they not only will preach and teach; there also will be “signs.” The disciples will have the ability to drive out demons and speak many languages! They also will be able to heal! Suddenly Jesus was taken from their sight into heaven. Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God. They had been given a great call and gift—they were to continue Jesus’ ministry to preach and teach in his name. “Jesus also has called us to continue his mission and ministry. Importantly, we are to live as Jesus lived to share the wealth of our gifts, talents, and abundance. Today may we pray that we will be a worthy follower of Jesus! Today Jesus calls us to “proclaim the good news.” (Sister Kristine Anne Harpenau, OSB: The Dome Blog)
Orison Maruja Paredes: “Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, fill me with your resurrection joy to live a life of thanksgiving for your glory.”
Et Ora Pro Nobis: “Ester’s trache-wound self-heal – Lord Graciously hear us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Sunday, January 26, 2020
Pericope Matthew 4:12-23 “When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
“Something in Jesus attracted a group to follow him. They must have known of him already and now we’re ready to leave John the Baptist and follow him. Maybe they saw him as the one they admired in how he dealt with people with compassion and dignity; maybe his words and vision about a better world and the coming of God’s kingdom drew them. Whatever it was, it was enough for them to throw in their lot with him, bringing others with them. Can we find out what it is in Jesus that attracts us; what it is we might worth following. He offers his friendship, forgiveness, and also a meaning to life from here to eternity. Our following of Jesus is following a person, not just a set of rules. We follow him to love the Father who created us in his image. We follow him to make our world a place of godliness.” (Donal Neary SJ: Gospel Reflection Blog Adapted)
Our following of Jesus is following a person, not just a set of rules. We follow him to love God the Father. We follow him to make our world a place of godliness. We follow him not to go to heaven with brownie points of contribution to religious orders and catering to bishops while ignoring the anawins. We follow Jesus, not for the set of rules but the Our Father Prayer
Orison Maruja Paredes Lord Jesus, your ways are life and light! Let your word penetrate my heart and transform my mind that I may see your power and glory. Help me to do what is pleasing to you.
ET ora pro nobis: “That Ester’s trache-wound self-heal – Lord graciously hear us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Monday, February 3, 2020
Feast of St. Blaise celebrated for the 1048th time in Dubrovnik
Saint Blaise was born in ancient Sebaste, a Rome-run area in Lesser Armenia (modern Sivas, Turkey). He was known as an extremely knowledgeable and charitable doctor who loved to take care of the poor and sick. After becoming the Bishop of Sebaste he was martyred there in the year 316 being beaten, attacked with iron combs, and beheaded on 3 February. The Festivity of St. Blaise is on UNESCO’s list of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. (Google St. Blaise)
Pericope Mark 5:1-20 Jesus asked him, “What is your name? He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us. There are many of us. “And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory. . . And they pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.” . . . Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and the swine. Then they began to beg him to leave their district. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
“Today take time to remember some of the wonders that Jesus has done for you throughout your life. Some of the wonders may have been life-changing events. Other wonders may have been more subtle and may have taken place over some time. Do you proclaim the wonders Jesus has done for you to the people in your life? Do you share with family or friends how Jesus is blessing you?
“Today, take time and remember the many blessings you have received throughout your life. It may be the gifts of family, good health, a good job, or dear friends. Thank Jesus for the abundance of your blessings.” (Sister Kristine Anne Harpenau, OSB: The Dome Blog)
I thank the Lord our God through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary, Saint Anthony for my second and third life, and Ester’s second life as the intercessory miracle in the papal process of Pope John Paul 1 canonization to sainthood.
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, unbind me that I may love you wholly and walk in the freedom of your way of life and holiness. May there be nothing which keeps me from the joy of living in your presence.”
Et ora pro nobis: “That Ester’s trache-wound self-heal – Lord graciously hear us.”
In the afternoon, Anna, Ester’s PDN for the day, excitedly asked me to look at Ester’s trache wound that she was cleaning – she told me that the trache wound was healing well and that the hole was getting smaller, now like the size of a pusod. I declined because besides being a confirmed coward, I am very squeamish to blood and wound. I told her, “I will take your word that she will not need an operation as the Doctor Ray told us that if the wound does not close up in a month, it will need an operation to close it. I told Anna that we have been praying for the closure of her trache wound. Ester reminded us that today is the Feast Day of St. Blaise and that Fr. Robert blest our candles last Sunday which is the Filipino Feast Day of Candelaria. Anna did not realize that she was cleaning Ester’s throat wound on the Feast day of St. Blaise’s Blessing of the Throats. I took the candles that Fr. Robert, OFM blest on last Sunday’s Mass and blest Ester’s throat with the candles as they do in Church not with the standard prayer but with my heartfelt prayer. Anne asked me to bring Ester to church for her everyday Mass at the Assumption Chapel where we attended Mass and the blessing of throats by a Don Bosco priest.
The nearest point to where the car could drop us to walk to the Assumption Chapel is about 50 yards going down, and going home from the chapel to where the car can pick us up is the same distance but going up. I jokingly asked Ester, who would reach the place faster where the car is waiting for us, you, or the turtle? She said, me, of course – Nolo Contendere.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Pericope Mark 5:21-43 She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling, fell before Jesus, and told him. He said, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.
“The child is not dead but asleep.” They ridiculed him. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said, “Tabitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. He said that she should be given something to eat.”
A Story of Two Touches
“It’s quite clear that these two stories are very, very different. And yet, at their core—and their most profound level—they are the very same story. They are, in fact, the stories of two people, who, when they came in contact with Jesus, were transformed from death to life. I believe this Gospel of Mark says something very important and very profound. I believe that Mark wove these seemingly different stories together for a significant reason. In my opinion, these miracles are God’s way of saying that the little twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus who died — is us. And the woman who had the very life draining out of her for twelve years, and who was, in a biblical manner of speaking, dying—is you and me.” (Rick Morley: A Garden Path)
Orison Maruja Paredes “Our Father, guide me in my daily actions to love the things that are in heaven,” and blessEster’s trache-wound to self-heal—Our Father hallowed be thy name.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Friday, February 14, 2020
Pericope Mark 7:31-37 Jesus went to the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (That is, “Be opened!”) And the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment removed, and he spoke plainly.
“Notice: the man himself did not approach Jesus. It was the man’s friends who brought him to Jesus and they begged Jesus to heal the man. Jesus does not immediately heal the man. Rather, He takes him away from the crowd. Perhaps Jesus realizes that the man does not want a “show,” and Jesus did not want to be a “showman. (Sr. Kristine Anne Harpenau, OSB: The Dome Blog)
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and inflame my heart with love and compassion. Make me attentive to the needs of others that I may show them kindness. Make me an instrument of your mercy that I may help others find healing and wholeness in you.”
Et ora pro nobis (nine days–February 7-15) “Lord graciously hear our prayers through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary and Pope John Paul 1 for Ester’s trache wound to close by itself without keloid scar and grace her with the appetite to eat more so that her vitamin supplement peg line be removed on Franjo’s Feb. 29 leap year birthday!”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Monday, February 17, 2020
Pericope Mark 8 11:13 The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” He left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.
“Do you remember the times when you also wanted or needed a sign from God? Did you receive a sign? If you received a sign, did you thank God? Or did you assume it as a coincidence? The reality is that life is neither clean nor clear. Many times we do not sense God’s presence. And at times, God may feel hundreds of millions of miles away. Lord, I believe. (Loc. cit Dome Blog)
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, may I always recognize your saving presence in my life and never forget your promises when I encounter trials and difficulties. Give me a faith that never wavers, a hope that never fades, and a love that never grows cold.”
Et ora pro nobis: “That Ester’s trache-wound self-heal – Lord graciously hear us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Pericope Mark 8:14-21 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. . .” He said to them, “Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?”
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, you are the bread of life. Give Ester strength to serve you and help me to turn away from sin..” Lord grant Ester’s trache-wound to self-heal without keloid.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Thursday, February 20, 2020
Pericope Mark 8:27-33 Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.Along the way, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
“Today Jesus asks us: “Who do you say that I am?” Take a few moments and ask yourself: Who do I say Jesus is? Is he simply a man that lived over 2,000 years ago? Or is Jesus real to me? Answering Jesus’ question may clarify for us who Jesus is for us today! Hopefully, we will reiterate Peter’s response: “You are the Christ.” “Are we like Peter? Do we judge by human standards? Or do we strive to judge by God’s standards? I suspect many of us typically judge by “human standards” rather than “God’s standards.” There are vast differences between how God judges and how we human beings judge. Often we do not even realize that we have judged another because often we do it without even realizing it. It may be about their behavior, the clothing they are wearing, or any number of other things. The reality is we do not like it when others judge us, yet many of us judge others without even thinking about it!” (Loc, cit The Dome Blog Adapted)
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, I believe and I profess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Take my life, my will, and all that I have, that I may be wholly yours now and forever.”
Et ora pro nobis: “Ester’s trache-wound to self-heal without the need of an operation.”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Friday, February 21, 2020
Pericope Mark 8:34-9:1 Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? He also said to them, “I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”
“The cross has been the symbol of Christianity since it first carried the body of Jesus on Calvary. However, we should remember that the Cross, in the form of two pieces of wood, only came into the last three hours of the life of Christ. The mystics tell us that it was there from the first moment of his Incarnation. Two crosses await each of us in life: the cross of the world and the cross of Christ. We have to choose. The cross of the world has an insidious appeal. It appears as a short-cut to happiness, at the start easily carried but becomes heavy and disappointing as time passes. The cross of Christ appears difficult and challenging at the start. But it gets easier if carried faithfully, over the years – it will bring us to happiness without end.” (Sacred Space)
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus Christ, I want to follow you as your disciple. Holy Angels who surround me, teach me to imitate you in humility so that all who know me encounter CHRIST in me, and maybe led towards HIM.”
Et ora pro nobis: “Glory to God—Dr. Silos came last night and joyfully told us that Ester’s trache-wound has completely self-healed, exactly one month on the day Ester’s trache was removed January 21.The Lord heard our prayers through the intercession of the Blessed Mother for Ester’s healing to be one of Pope John Paul 1’s blessings;I now pray for Ester’s wound not to have keloid.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Saturday, February 22, 2020
Feast of the Papacy — First day of her trache closure
Pericope Matthew 16:13-19 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, I profess and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are my Lord and my Savior. Make my faith strong like Peter’s and to know you personally as Lord and Savior.”
Et ora pro nobis: “Ester’s wound not have keloid; Lord hear us.” Ester’s trache removed on Jan. 21 and on Feb. 21 closed, exactly one month, the doctors’ deadline for a closure operation.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Sunday, February 23, 2020
Pericope Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back.
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, and grace me to lessen my bitterness towards someone.”
Et ora pro nobis: “Ester’s trache-wound self-heal (please without keloid scar); Lord hear us.” Ester’s trache was removed on January 21 and has been self-healing for a month.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Pericope Mark 9:30-3 They came to Capernaum and, once, inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
Power and renown! This is what many people long for and strive for! Think of all the movie stars, rock singers, models, and political candidates who vie for publicity, power, and fame. Do they believe that these will bring them true happiness? Jesus wants us to find our happiness and security in Him, not in fame or fortune. Naturally, we all want others to think well of us, this is not bad. How important is power, renown, and admiration to me? Do I hope that others admire me or am I content to be simple, pure, and loving like a child? Young children have no guile. They simply are “who they are.” They trust. They love. Today, observe a child. You may find that you will have a more joyful, peaceful, and relaxing day! (loc cit Sr Harpenau, OSB: Dome Blog)
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, by your cross you have redeemed the world and revealed your glory and triumph over sin and death. May I never fail to see your glory and victory in the cross. Help me to conform my life to your will and to follow in your way of holiness.”
Et ora pro nobis: “Ester’s trache-wound self-heal (please without keloid scar); Lord hear us.” Ester’s trache was removed on January 21 and has been self-healing for a month.
They wouldn’t believe me
Ester’s State of Wellness —Thursday, February 27, 2020
Pericope Luke 9:22-25 Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
Ester’s glory to God trials and tribulations: 14 operations, 5 viruses treated, 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and 360 days recoveryof on-going home physical therapy and virus prevention– sufferingher discipleship, healing her evangelization
Ester’s March 2 and March 8 life-threatening “open and close operations.” And her distressing life-threatening and unspeakable negative experiences of March 27 and April 6; the reason she did not want to go home for months since the second week of May to the last week of July, despite her doctors’ weekly entreaties;A man of God was able to convince Ester to go home on his and the family’s assurance that no harm or bad news will come to her; moreso at home in San Lorenzo, not Dasma; Doctors Order No Visitors, as in the hospital, will be complied with. Only God, Ester, a Man of God, a doctor, and I know “WHY OH WHY?”
Dr. Ramy Roxas’ advisory to the family, the week before Ester’s release from the hospital: “Ester’s recovery will take about a year.” Now at home, in anguish, I watch Ester stop and go walk with a cane with difficulty, and do her physical therapy with discomfort, particularly lifting weights; never has Ester shown to the family her pain. Ester tells the family, “Whenever you’re in pain offer your sufferings to God.” Everything you do, feel, and think is a footprint of God’s. “During times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints in the sand it was then that I carried you.”(Loc. cit Footprints)
Today Ester on oxygen support; her bowel movement is now almost regular and rarely without the need for Duphalac laxative Supportan; she walks with the help of a walker interspersed with a cane. She still cannot club stairways and is on every other day undergoing physical therapy supervised by her therapist.
We thank God for Ester’s unthinkable healingand steadfast recovery through our prayers to Blessed Mother Mary, and to intercede that Ester’s second life be one of the intercessory miracles in the papal process of Pope John Paul 1’s canonization.”
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work. I give you my feet to go your way. I give you my eyes to see as you do. I give you my tongue to speak your words. I give you my mind that you may think of me. I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me, your Father, and all mankind. I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you, Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me.” (Prayer from The Grail)
Et ora pro nobis: WeThank God for Ester’s unthinkable healing and steadfast recovery and to pray for the self-healing and closure of her trache, and improvement in her appetite and food intake so her peg line vitamin Supportan supplement can be removed; all these we ask the Blessed Mother Mary to intercede still intercede to her son Jesus Christ to be one of the intercessory miracles in the papal process of Pope John Paul 1’s canonization.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Friday, February 28, 2020
Pericope Matthew 9:14-15 The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Orison Maruja Paredes “Come, Lord, work upon us, set us on fire, draw us to you, and let us run to you.” (St. Augustine) Et ora pro nobis: “Ester’s trache-wound self-heal (please without keloid scar); Lord hear our prayer.”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Sunday, March 1, 2020
Franjo’ Sunday Birthday Mass Celebration with God, Ester, and his love ones
(Baptismal name Francis Joseph decided to celebrate his February 29 Leap Year Birthday on March 1, Sunday. He asked Fr. Robert, if he could celebrate his 15th birthday Mass on his Sunday’s parish duty free-time in Ester’s ecovery and wellness bedroom – celebrate only family birthday lunch in the patio – humble to admit that he needs his mother and wants her presence on his natal day.
Gospel Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus was led by the Spirit to the desert to be tempted. He fasted for forty days and forty nights. The tempter said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city, and said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands, they will support you” Jesus answered him, “It is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” Then the devil took him up to a mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and said to him, “All these I shall give to you if you will worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve. ”The devil left and angels ministered to him.
Orison Maruja Paredes “Lord Jesus, your word is life and joy for me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may have the strength and courage to embrace your will in all things and to renounce whatever is contrary to it.” Et ora pro nobis: “The Glory is to God for Ester’s trache-wound self-healing closure be without keloid, and for the return of her normal appetite. Lord graciously hear Ester and the family’s prayer for Franjo’s peace and happiness.
Birthday Lunch for Franjo at his San Lorenzo house, the residence of Anne and now recovery room and wellness home of Ester
Ester’s State of Wellness —Saturday, March 7, 2020
Pericope: Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
In the 1st Reading (Dt 26:16-19 Mt 5:43-48-WORD Today), God makes a covenant with the Israelites. What is a covenant? It’s an agreement between two parties like a contract. But vastly different! A contract states exactly what two parties are to put into the deal and what benefits they are to get. After both are satisfied, the contract ends. A covenant is a vow where each party puts in EVERYTHING without counting for the benefit of the other. And it never ends. “Prostitution is a contract. Marriage is a covenant.”-Scott Hahn
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make me neither lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter towards anyone.”
Et ora pro nobis: “Thank God for Ester’s unthinkable healing and steadfast recovery through prayers to Blessed Mother Mary; to intercede that Ester’s second life be one of the intercessory miracles in the papal process of Pope John Paul 1’s canonization” cf. Mt 20:18.
Thirty-eight every other day PT at home (Franjo’s house and Anne’s residence San Lorenzo Village.) Doctors estimate Ester’s PT for about a year that I pray will be less. Ester’s insistence to visit her gravely ill sister Betty in Silay worries me (her elder brother’s presence, Convid-19, and stamina for the journey) she says, Blessed Mother Mary will protect her – for that reasoning; I say, “Nolo Contendere.”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Monday, March 9, 2020
Pericope: Matthew 17:1-9 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.” Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, your love brings pardon and joy. Transform my heart with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy. Lord do not deal with us according to our sins.” (Resp. Psalm)
Ester’s glory to God trials and tribulations: 14 operations, 5 viruses treated 37 ICU days, 115 hospital days, and 360 days recovery of on-going home physical therapy and virus prevention– sufferingher discipleship, healing her evangelization — Ester’s four life-threatening episodes: March 2 and March 8 of “open and close operations.” And the distressing life-threatening and unspeakable negative experiences for her was March 27 and April 6; the reason she did not want to go home for two months since the second week of May to the last week of July, despite her doctors’ weekly entreaties; only God, Ester and I know “WHY.” A man of God was able to convince Ester to go home on the family’s assurance that No Harm will come to her, No Disconcerting Talk and No Visitors Doctors’ Order, Moreso at home. Since Ester’s hospital psychiatrist cannot make home visits, Dr. Rey told me, “He will guide Ester in unburdening her March 27 and April 6 emotional load.” Dr. Ramy Roxas advisedthe familyamonth before and theweek before Ester’s release from the hospital: “Ester’s recovery will take about a year.” Now at home, I watch Ester stop and go walk with a cane with less difficulty, and do her physical therapy with lesser discomfort; never has Ester shown to the family her pain. Ester tells the family, “every time you’re in pain offer your sufferings to God.” Everything you do, feel, and think is a footprint of God’s. “During times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints in the sand it was then that I carried you.” (Loc. cit Footprints)
Ester’s State of Wellness — Sunday, March 15, 2020
FLASH NEWS Philippine Government Lockdown of Luzon to contain the spread of Covid-19. Everyone to stay in place—All public places, commercial establishments, business companies, and government offices closed, including churches closed—on line Masses and Communications. NO WORK EXCEPT FOR ESSENTIAL INDUSTRIES.
Pericope: Matthew 4:5-42 Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.” When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, my soul thirsts for you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may always find joy in your presence and take delight in doing your will.”
Forty-first every other day PT at home (Franjo’s house and Anne’s residence San Lorenzo Village). Doctors estimate Ester’s PT for about a year that I pray will be less. Our family thanks God that the trip to visit her seriously-ill sister Betty in Silay trip was not allowed by her doctors three days before the government’s directive locking down Metro Manila. Had Ester and the children proceeded to Silay, they would have been stranded in the province because all land, sea, and air in-and-out of Metro Manila have been suspended until further notice.
A Notice from the Psychiatric Association: “Dear citizens: ‘During the QUARANTINE time it is considered normal to talk to your walls, plants, and pots. Kindly contact us only if they reply.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Wednesday, April 1, 2020
John 8:31-42 Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, & you will know the truth, & the truth will set you free.”
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, write your words of love and truth upon my heart and make me a diligent student and a worthy disciple of your word.”
Today, April 1, I will not talk about myself but we can talk about the blessings of our friendships for as Mark Twain said, “This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.”“So I ask God to help me see myself as I am, with all my freedoms and areas that lack freedom. I reflect that it is my faith in God’s great mercy that makes me free to look at myself in truth, and continue to deal with my lack of freedom, especially in my relationships.” (Sacred Space, daily prayer) We can love others more by staying at home, keep a social distance from our love ones, even our wives – it’s safer this way . . . to break the community spread of Covid -19.
Jose Ramon T. Villarin, S.J., President of Ateneo de Manila University
Known as “Fr. Jett” to his students and colleagues
April 1, 2020 Birthday Greeting
Ester’s State of Wellness — Friday, April 3, 2020
Pericope: John Matthew 10:31-42 He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Write upon my heart, O Lord, the lessons of your holy word, and grant that I may be a doer of your word and not a forgetful hearer only.”
Proud but scared, told her since she with resident doctors are dealing with Covid patients pray for herself, fellow doctors, and nurses to invoke the prayer of Pope Francis: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Thursday, April 16, 2020
Pericope Luke 24:35-48 The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet that it is I. Touch me and see because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the Scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with your power and give us joy and boldness to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.”
Ester’s State of Health and Wellness —Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Pericope John 6:30-35 They said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
“What sign can you do that we may see and believe in you?” The people asked Jesus for a sign (miracle) to prove to them that He was sent by God. They cited the sign of Moses, the manna (bread) that fell from heaven daily. He gave them no sign at that time, but He declared, “I AM the Bread of Life.” But later at the Last Supper, Jesus did give the Sign. He gave us the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Bread of Life. A sacrament is the external visible sign of internal invisible grace. The Eucharist is Jesus’ continuing incarnation, His being visible flesh in the world. It is the spiritual food that increases the presence of Jesus in us. Like St. Stephen (1st Reading) fear should not stop us from following Jesus. As we pray for the reopening of churches, let us be sacraments of Jesus and bread for our neighbors.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus Christ, you are the bread of life. You alone can satisfy the hunger in my heart. May I always find in you, the true bread from heaven, the source of life and nourishment I need to sustain me on my journey to the promised land of heaven.”
Cumagun family’s petition till June 23, One Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory: “Father, through Blessed Mother Mary for Blessed Pope John Paul 1’s Canonization, enhance and shorten the duration of Ester’s PT: Father, strengthen Ester’s breathing capability.”
Ester’s State of Health and Wellness —Saturday, May 2, 2020
Pericope John 6:60-69 Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? . . . As a result of to their former way of life and no longer walked with him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. Help me to cast aside all doubt and fear so that I may freely embrace your word with complete trust and joy. I surrender all to you. Be the Lord of my life and the Ruler of my heart. May there be nothing which hinders me from trusting in your love and following your will.”
Cumagun family’s petition till June 23, One Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory: “Father, through Blessed Mother Mary for Blessed Pope John Paul 1’s Canonization, enhance and shorten the duration of Ester’s PT: Father, strengthen Ester’s breathing capability.”
Ester’s State of Health and Wellness
Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020
Pericope John 20: 19-23 Now when it was late that first day of the week and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, I thank you for the gift of Pentecost and for the life you offer in the Holy Spirit. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may serve you in joy and .”
Ester’s State of Health and Wellness —Thursday, June 4, 2020
Pericope Mark12: 28-34 One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
WORD Today Reading 2Tim 2:8-15 Gospel Mark12: 28-34
Today Jesus reminds us of His Father’s 10 commandments: Love God with our whole being, AND love our neighbor as we love ourselves. It’s a very timely reminder as we begin to emerge and rebuild our nation and our lives. Two months of quarantine may have strengthened our love for God in TV Mass, but it has devastated love for neighbor. The pandemic of fear locked us in the culture of self-protection.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “We love you, O’ our God; and we desire to love you more and more. Grant to us that we may love you as much as we desire, and as much as we ought. O dearest friend, who has so loved and saved us, come with Christ and dwell in our hearts; that you keep a watch over our lips, our steps, our deeds, and we shall not need to be anxious either for our souls or our bodies. Give us love, sweetest of all gifts, which knows no enemy. Give us in our hearts pure love, born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us. O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love, let our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to you and cold to others, be warmed by this divine fire. So help and bless us in your Son.”(Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)
Ester’s State of Health and Wellness —Saturday, June 6, 2020
Pericope Mark12: 38-44 He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.
WORD Today 2Tm 4:1-8 Mk 12:38-44
Jesus is in the temple watching people donating at the collection box. He praises a poor widow who donated her last 2 coins. Others gave amounts “contributed from their surplus wealth, while she, from her poverty, contributed all that she had.” A few days later, Jesus who owned nothing in this world donated the last 2 drops of His blood on the cross. “I sing of Your salvation!” (Resp. Psalm)
As we slowly emerge from the great lockdown, let us give thanks to Jesus for the reopening of His churches which continue His salvation through the Eucharist and all Sacraments. But let us be reminded that His churches suffered in the lockdown too. Churches need financing to continue proclaiming the Word of God and give us our precious Sacraments. In thanksgiving for our health, let us show Jesus our gratitude at the collection box.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, all that I have is yours. Take my life, my time, and all that I have, and use them as you desire for your glory.”
Ester’s State of Health and Wellness —Sunday, June 7, 2020
Feast of the Holy Trinity
Pericope John 3: 16-18 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen . . . may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the ages.” (Prayer of Origin, 185-254 AD)
First time Ester and I get-out of the house. “Immunity is greatly weakened by always staying in a sterile environment. Even if you eat immunity-boosting foods, please go out of your house regularly to any park/beach.” (Dr. Faheem Younus, the Chief of the Infectious Diseases Clinic, University of Maryland, USA) Ester’s first day out of the house walk was less than half a block; plan to increase walkabouts gradually to what she can bear. For our Sunday afternoon walk, Ester asks for R&R—I am the boss, so I just have to follow.
Today, June 7, Sunday, the seventh-day of GCQ (General Community Quarantine), we invoke Pope Francis’ prayer, especially for Dr. Camille, front liner at the UST Hospital: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus, and no virus can touch us.” I decreed that no get-out of the house unless necessary for essentials; no walking the streets of the village neighborhood, but for exercising. We thank God; none in the family got Covid 19.
Ester’s State of Health and Wellness —Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Pericope Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? You are the light of the world, it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.”
WORD Today 1Kgs 17:7-16 In the 1st Reading, Israel is in the middle of a 3-year drought and famine. A poor widow in the neighboring land of Sidon is down to her last piece of bread. After this, she expects that she and her little son would starve to death. The hungry prophet Elijah asks her for a piece of her last bread. Elijah promised her that God would provide for her. She believed and shared her poverty. God provided her daily bread until the rains came. “Happy are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” This Beatitude invites us to share what little we have, secure in faith of God’s unfailing mercy. In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to be “salt of the earth” sprinkled into society to make tasteless lives more pleasant with our cheerful self-giving.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways and understand your will. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed.”
Mea Maxima Culpa – made a mistake that scared me, forced Ester to walk a block, and stopped only when she told me that her heart was beating fast. Despite her plea, I told her. “you can make it” – she said, NO. PDN took her heart-beat; it was 104; regular heartbeat is a maximum 85, and even on doing her PT and climbing the 17 steps stairway, her heartbeat reaches only 90. We immediately seated her to bring her heartbeat to 80 in 5 minutes. I realize now that it will take Ester at least to December 2020 to strengthen her lungs and breathing capability. I have to make sure that this will not happen again, so less walkabouts/week and for shorter distances wearing a pulse oximeter in her index finger.
Ester’s State of Health and Wellness —Saturday, June 13, 2020
Feast of St. Anthony, my Patron Saint
Pericope Matthew 5:33-37 Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One.
WORD Today 1Kgs 19:19-21 Parents leave an inheritance to a child to make his life better. The inheritance we receive from God our Father is far more precious than a share of the property. It is a share in the life of His Son Jesus – participation in His mission. In the 1st Reading, God sends a prophet to call Elisha to take over his ministry. Without hesitation, Elisha accepts his new vocation. He leaves his farm and served as God’s prophet till his dying day. When was the last time God sent a friend to invite you to serve Him in a ministry? What was your responsibility? Are you still active despite difficulties and hurt feelings?
In the Gospel, Jesus tells us, “Let your Yes mean Yes, and your No mean No.” Sometimes we are tested; not to expose our weakness but to discover our strengths. (Anon)
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Set a watch, Lord, upon my tongue, that I may never speak the cruel word which is not true; or being true, is not the whole truth; or being wholly true, is merciless; for the love of Jesus Christ our Lord. ”
We pray till June 23, One Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory the strengthening of Ester’s natural breathing capability.” For the family, and especially Dr. Camille T. Cumagun, our granddaughter, a front-liner at the UST Hospital, we invoke Pope Francis’ Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus and no virus can touch us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Sunday, June 21, 2020
Today is “Fathers’ Day, My Day at 83
Pericope Matthew 10:26-33 Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna… .whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
WORD Today Jer 20:10-13 Rom 5:12-15
Fear of death is the root of all fears. From it proceeds fear of sickness and fear of losing face. Fear of death is good. It is an instinct that protects us from vices. But in the spiritual life, fear of death is the biggest barrier to Love, God, and neighbor. In obedience to Jesus’ Law of Love, -St. Damien served lepers. He died a leper. -St. Francis gave up his inheritance to serve the poor. He died poor. -St. Stephen would not stop preaching. He was stoned to death. Now they live happily ever after with Jesus. Today’s Gospel, Jesus says three times, “Do Not be Afraid.” Do not be afraid to love and serve the Lord in His people. Do not be afraid to go to church and receive the Lord in the Eucharist. God will never allow His faithful ones to die until it’s time to receive their eternal reward.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, it is my joy and privilege to be your disciple. Give me strength and courage to bear the hardships and sufferings that come my way in your service. May I witness to others the new life you have won for us through your cross and resurrection.”
Cumagun family’s petition till June 23, One Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory: “Father, through Blessed Mother Mary for Blessed Pope John Paul 1’s canonization, and for strengthening Ester’s natural breathing capability.” For the family, especially Dr. Camille T. Cumagun, our granddaughter, a front-liner at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas Hospital, we invoke Pope Francis’ Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus and no virus can touch us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Saturday, June 27, 2020
Pericope Matthew 8:5-17 When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven, but the children of the Kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour, his servant was healed. Jesus entered the house of Peter and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Pericope Matthew 8:23-27 As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came upon the sea so that the boat was being swamped by waves, but he was asleep. They woke him, saying, “Lord, save us!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.
Maruja Paredes’ Orison: “Lord Jesus, increase my faith in your redeeming love and power that I may always recognize your abiding presence with me. Give me courage and strength to face every difficulty, trial, and temptation with trust in your saving help and guiding presence.”
We pray for Dr. Camille T. Cumagun, her UST Hospital frontliner and doctor colleagues, all frontliners, first responders, anawins, people of all races, and you and I Pope Francis prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ; no virus can touch us.”
The Thorn Birds
“There is a legend about a bird which sings only once in its life, more beautifully than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves its nest, it searches for a thorn tree and does not rest until it has found one. Then, it impales its breast on the longest, sharpest thorn. But as it is dying, it rises above its agony to out-sing the Lark and the Nightingale. The Thorn Bird pays its life for that one song, and the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles, as its best is brought only at the cost of great pain; Driven to the thorn with no knowledge of the dying to come. But when we press the thorn to our breast, we know, we understand, and still, we do it.” (Colleen McCullough: The Thorn Birds)
Ester’s State of Wellness —Friday, July 3, 2020
The month of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus & Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
Gospel Matthew John 20:24-29 Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Maruja Paredes Orizon: Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself. (Prayer of Augustine, 354-430)
Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.” July 1 is the Feast Day and the month of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Saturday, July 4, 2020
Gospel Matthew 9:14-17 The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
WORD TODAY AM 9:11-15
Do not put new wine into old wineskins. Old leather containers harden and lose elasticity; its storage capacity becomes a fixed X volume of wine. But new wine ferments and expands in volume so it can’t be stored in an old wineskin. In times of problems and needs, we can become old wineskin, shrunken stiff with worry if we focus only on our need for an X amount of solution. Jesus says He is the Bridegroom who comes to marry us and take care of us. With God as our provider, why be gloomy as if fasting? Our faith and trust in Jesus make us new wineskin that can expand to contain the unimaginable blessings that Jesus wants to pour into our lives, wonders that are much more than a fixed X that lasts only a while. Let us choose to trust Jesus. No miracle can happen if we do not believe in its fermentation.
Maruja Paredes Orizon “Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth. Help me to seek you earnestly in prayer and fasting that I may turn away from sin and conform my life more fully to your will. May I always find joy in knowing, loving, and serving you.”
Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.” July is the month of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Monday, July 6, 2020
Gospel Matthew 9:18-26 While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt before him, and said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples. A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured. When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they ridiculed him. When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land.
WORD Today Hosea 2:16-22 A sick woman touched the tassels of Jesus’ cloak and she was healed. A father asked Jesus to touch his dead daughter; Jesus did and she came back to life. Both miracles show us that God uses our faith and our physical senses to interact with us His physical creatures. The tassels were powerless objects, but in touching them the woman showed great faith in Jesus. It’s the same as touching and praying with the beads of the Rosary, one of the ‘sacramentals’ of the Church that excite faith and lead us to Jesus.
In the supreme Sacrament, the Eucharist, Jesus touches us and continues to do everything that He, the Son of God in Heaven, did when He was a physical son of man on earth. IF we have the faith of the dead girl’s father. Do you have faith that conquers fear? Do you go to an open church? Why be content with electronic images when you can have the Real Jesus?
Maruja Paredes Orizon: “Lord Jesus, you love each of us individually with a unique and personal love. Touch my life with your saving power, heal and restore me to the fullness of life. Help me to give wholly of myself in loving service to others.”
“We pray for all Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.” July is the month of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Ester’s State of Wellness —Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Gospel Matthew 9:32-38 A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke. The crowds were amazed. Jesus went around to all the towns and villages curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few . . .”
Maruja’s Orizon: The Lord our God is always near, through trials and tribulations, you never walk alone. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)
Ester’s State of Wellness — Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Gospel Matthew 10:1-7 Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s prayer
Lord, I’m not praying for miracles and visions; I’m only asking for strength for my days. Teach me the art of small steps. Make me wise and resourceful, so that I can find important discoveries and experiences among the diversity of days. Help me use my time better. Present me with the sense to be able to judge whether something is important or not. I pray for the power of discipline and moderation, not only to run throughout my life, but also to live my days reasonably, and observe unexpected pleasures and heights. Save me from the naive belief that everything in life has to go smoothly. Give me the sober recognition that difficulties, failures, fiascos, and setbacks are given to us by life itself to make us grow and mature. Send me the right person at the right moment, who will have enough courage and love to utter the truth! I know that many problems solve themselves, so please teach me patience. You know how much we need friendship. Make me worthy of this nicest, most beautiful, hardest, riskiest, and most fragile gift of life. Give me enough imagination to be able to share with someone a little bit of warmth, in the right place, at the right time, with words or with silence. Spare me the fear of missing out on life. Do not give me the things I desire, but the things I need. Teach me the art of taking small steps… In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“We pray for Jesse health and for Maruja Paredes’ wellness, and for all Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness —Thursday, July 9, 2020
Gospel Matthew 10:7-15 Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost, you are to give. Do not take gold or silver; no sack for the journey, a second tunic, sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Maruja Paredes Orizon: “Lord Jesus, may the joy and truth of the Gospel transform my life that I may witness to those around me. Grant that I may spread your truth and light wherever I go.”
Oremus: We pray for Jesse Paredes’ wellness, Ester’s stamina, and for all Pope Francis Prayer, “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Saturday, July 11, 2020
Gospel Matthew 10:24-33 Jesus said to his Apostles: “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more those of his household! “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
WORD Today Is 6:1-8Today we read about the reality of heaven and hell. In the 1st Reading, God allows the prophet Isaiah to see Him in heaven, then sends him to tell the world. In the Gospel, the Son of God tells us about Satan (Beelzebub) and warns us of hell (Gehenna).We rarely hear homilies about hell, but Jesus speaks A LOT about hell, more than anyone else. Jesus warns us, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.”Today the fear of covid that can kill our body monopolizes our minds, pushing out Fear of the Lord who can cast our soul to hell. Satan is using covid to scare us from worshipping the Real Presence of the Lord in the many open churches. Satan fills our mind with distancing so we cannot think of loving our neighbor. Jesus to save us from fear.
Maruja Paredes Orizon: “Lord Jesus, it is my joy and privilege to be your disciple. Give me strength and courage to bear any hardship and suffering which may come my way in serving you and obeying your will. May I witness to others the joy of the Gospel – the good news of your kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness.” “We pray for all Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Sunday, July 12, 2020
Rest and Recreation
Gospel Matthew 13:1-9 On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ear death. ”
Maruja Paredes Orizon: “Lord Jesus, faith in your word is wisdom to ponder your divine plan to grow in the truth. Open my eyes to your deeds, and my ears to the sound of your call that I may understand your will for my life and live according to it”
“We pray Pope Francis’ prayer in the feast month of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Monday, July 13, 2020
Gospel Matthew 10:34-11 Jesus said to his Apostles: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, . . . and whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink – amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
Maruja Paredes Orizon: “Lord, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has conceived the things you have prepared for those who love you. Set us ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may love you in and above all things and so receive the rewards you have promised us through Christ our Lord. (from A Christian’s Prayer Book)
“Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, mind, and soul. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life – my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories.
“We pray for all Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.”
Ester’s State of Wellness—Thursday, July 16, 2020
Gospel Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said: “Come to me, all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; & you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Maruja Paredes Orizon: “Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with love for you and your ways and help me to exchange the yoke of rebellion for the yoke of submission to your holy and loving word. Set me free from the folly of my sinful ignorance and rebellious pride that I may wholly desire what is good and in accord with your will.” We pray for all he prayer of Pope Francis: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.” July feast month of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Friday, July 17, 2020
After Ester’s 4 months of hospitalization, she is on her 13th month of recovery
Gospel Matthew 12: 1-8 Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. I desire mercy, not sacrifice, For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”
WORD Today Is 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8 Mt 12:1-8
In the 1st Reading, the Creator of the Universe displays His power. He reverses the spin of the earth and turns back time! Then He displays His tender mercy, healing His faithful servant, King Hezekiah, and allowing him to serve His people 15 more years.In the Gospel, God says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Our sacrificial offering of flowers, money, and church work is very good. God is pleased with our intention. But He does not need them. The Creator of the Universe needs nothing at all. God does not even need us – He loves us.What He would love us to do-“enter the House of God and eat the Bread of Presence”—the Body and Blood of His Son, then make His mercy present to those outside the church – to feed the poor, teach the Gospel, and forgive like Jesus. Let us offer our lives to the Lord.
TODAY Mt 12: 1-8 Reflection of Fr. Cef Ledesma, SDB in Cambodia.
“The requirements of the Sabbath are endless. There were around 1521 prohibited works. One could not plow, sow, reap, light the fire, dissolve a node, climb a tree, clap the hands. Each of these works had been clarified in every detail, hence an intricate casuistry. Lived in this way Saturday, more than a day of serenity, was a time of tension. It forced the person to exert much effort to avoid committing infractions. As it always happens when an institution is idolized and is given a divine prerogative, Saturday, from an expression of freedom was converted into an inhibitor of life, an instrument of alienation and slavery. It became an obstacle to the outburst of love. To the criticism of the Pharisees, Jesus responds that man’s hunger is above every law, both civil and religious. The Sabbath was established to “humanize” man, not to enslave him. Jesus established a general principle when the laws can be observed and when can they violate the laws, including those that seem sacred. The reference point is the good of the person. The provisions, laws, precepts must be observed only if they favor the life of the person. Otherwise, they lose their binding force. Before God what matters is the person, not the observance of precepts”—(ECQ on church attendance).
Maruja Paredes Orizon: “Lord, make us walk in your way: Where there is love and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance; where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor annoyance; where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice; where there is peace and contemplation, there is neither care nor restlessness; where there is the fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy can enter; where there is mercy and prudence, there is neither excess nor harshness; this we know through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Francis of Assisi)
Pope Francis Prayer: We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us. July 1 is the Feast Day and the month of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Saturday, July 18, 2020
Gospel Matthew 12:14-21 The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make Him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet: Behold, my servant whom I have chosen . . .
Maruja Paredes Orizon: “Lord Jesus, your mercy knows no bounds. Give me hope when I am discouraged, understanding when I am sad; make me an instrument of your peace.” The Christian church is a society of sinners; the only society in the world where membership is based on a single qualification, that the candidate be unworthy of membership.” (C. Morrison christiansquoting.org.uk) We pray for all Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.” “Father hallowed be thy name,” Bless them All.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Sunday, July 19, 2020
Gospel Matthew 13: 24-30 Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning, but gather the wheat into my barn.’’”
Maruja Paredes Orizon: Lord Jesus, let your word take root in my heart, and may your all-consuming love transform my life that I may sow what is good, worthy, and pleasing to you.
Et Ora Pro Nobis: “The Christian church is a society of sinners; the only society in the world where membership is based on a single qualification, that the candidate be unworthy of membership.” (C. Morrison christiansquoting.org.uk) We pray for all Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.” “Our Father hallowed be thy name,” Bless them All.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Monday, July 20, 2020
Gospel Matthew 12:38-42 Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except for the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment, the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”
Maruja Paredes Orizon: Heavenly Father, you bless us with many relationships and you invite us into the community of your sons and daughters who have been redeemed by your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to love my neighbor with charity, kindness, and compassion as you have loved. In all of my relationships, and all that I do and say, may I always seek to bring you honor and glory.
We pray for all Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.” “Our Father hallowed be thy name,” Bless them All.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Gospel John 20:1-2, 12-18 On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father – Noli me tangere. Then Jesus sent her to tell the apostles that He had risen.
Maruja Paredes Orizon: Lord Jesus, faith in your word is the way to wisdom, and to ponder your divine plan is to grow in the truth. Open my eyes to your deeds, and my ears to the sound of your call, that I may understand your will for my life and live according to it.”
Ester’s State of Wellness — Friday, July 24, 2020
Gospel Matthew 13:18-23 Jesus said to his disciples: “Hear the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom without understanding it, and the Evil One comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed was sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. But the seed was sown on a rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
WORD Today In ancient times, God promised a shepherd to lead His people. A shepherd leads his sheep not with ropes or a whip but with his voice. In the Gospel, Jesus the Shepherd casts His Voice like a farmer sowing His Word into 4 types of soil. The 1st type of soil are people who have no interest at all in the Word of God. They are like cement paths where nothing grows. The 2nd type gladly accepts the Word when it leads to fun and laughter. But when it brings them shame or harassment, they drop it. The 3rd also gladly accepts the Word. But when it conflicts with money matters, or with what the world teaches, the Word is set aside. The 4th type are those who accept the Word in good times and in bad, applying the Word to all aspects of life. This type of soil becomes a bountiful garden, bearing much fruit in God’s Kingdom. Which type of soil are you?
Maruja Paredes Orizon: Lord Jesus, help me to guard the word you have planted in my heart that no doubt or temptation may keep me from believing. May I never fear to speak of you and share the good news of the Gospel – your mercy on Ester’s trials and tribulations and blessings of her healing that evangelized those who knew of her life and death struggle.
“The Christian church is a society of sinners; the only society in the world where membership is based on a single qualification, that the candidate be unworthy of membership.” (Ibid Morrison) We pray for all Pope Francis Prayer: “We are vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and no virus can touch us.” Our Father hallowed be thy name, bless Them All.
Ester’s State of Wellness — Saturday, July 25, 2020
Gospel Matthew 20:20-28 The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Maruja Paredes’ Orizon: “Lord Jesus, may your word take deep root in my heart, and may I bear good fruit for your glory. May I hunger for your righteousness now that I may also look forward to the day of judgment with joy rather than with dismay.
Our 62nd Wedding Anniversary at age 83 — Sunday, July 26, 2020
Pericope Reading 1 1KGS 3; 5, 7-12 The Lord God appeared to Solomon in a dream. God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you. “Solomon answered: “O LORD, my God . . . Give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong?”
Ora pro nobis: Ester and I pray of love for each other and our children for their children.
Today, on our 62nd wedding Anniversary a big butterfly suddenly appeared for the first time since we moved to San Lorenzo as Ester was doing her early morning walk and sun-bathing – also, for the first time, the birds were chirping a cacophony of tunes as if to sing to her. She prays the butterfly was her parent’s holy spirit that was greeting her. Since then have not seen the butterfly.
Real-time zoom video GCQ Covid 19 celebration of Sunday Mass and same lunch menu at the Cumagun brothers’ contiguous houses #22, 24, and 26 Garcia Villa, San Lorenzo Village
The Cumagun family is forever grateful
Namaste – God in me see God in you
As I look back with heartfelt fondness Ester’s journey to life, nostalgic tears of gratitude and humility slide down my cheeks; it was a purifying experience—many families, relatives, and friends to thank, and much to thank for; only God knows when and how to bless you all – “So much owed to so many” for your continuing and incessant prayers to God for Ester’s living and healing through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary, our favorite saints, and for Pope John Paul 1’s intercessory miracle in the papal process of his canonization – the wind beneath our wings of prayers. In the care of Ester, our families’ faith in the Holy Spirit for Divine Mercy was our co-pilot.
We thank Ester’s team of doctors led by Dr. Roxas for their skill and concern for her wellness; her 24/7 PD nurses & Asian Hospital staff for their patience and affection. We know that skill and patience – their job, but concern and affection – their humanity. Ester’s doctors’ release from the hospital was met with awe and joy; the hospital resident doctors and nurses who attended her at the start did not think that she would be released from the hospital sooner than a year. Ester’s courage and grace under pain and pressure during her Dias de peligro and healing process evangelized them to believe prayer power.
Ester’s healing (healing takes time – a miracle is instantaneous, it was so for Ester’s self-healing intestines) was a faith journey; so was it for our children and their children who courageously endured its ups and downs; for Ester and me, the past is present – forever a pilgrimage of faith. We thank the children for insisting that their mother’s recovery period be done at Franjo’s house and Anne’s residence so they could be near and with two pamilya doctors 7/24 available for her; made the ground floor of Franjo’s house and Anne’s residence Ester’s R&R room–their offer was God blest – deliberate and forethoughtful made before the Covid 19 pandemic.
Fr. Cef Ledesma, SDB, religious duty in Cambodia, celebrated Mass for Ester every day when he was in Makati. Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM upon his assignment in Santuario de San Antonio celebrated Mass for Ester every Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation — both kapamilya religious guided and blest the family’s faith journey.
Wedding Anniversary Rings
The Magical Moments of More Than Sixty Happily Married Years
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
“Tony is single-handedly and maybe unwittingly bringing about the inevitable canonization of the next Philippine saint, who will be known as Saint Ester Cumagun, because anyone who can live with Tony for as long as she has, anyone who can put up with Tony for as long as she has, without losing her sanity, certainly deserves to be a saint.” (Spanky Perez: Tribute to a Friend, April 1, 1977)
“If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. If ever wife was happy in a man, compare with me ye women if you can.” (Anne Bradstreet: To My Loving Husband, 1678)
Song of Ester
Looking Back at Serendipity
Life like a dome of many-colored glass
Strains the white radiance of Eternity
Percy Bysshe Shelley: Adonais
When Tony requested me to write the Prologue of his memoirs-autobiography,I asked him why he wanted to write his book of life. He said that his three regrets at the end of the 20th century of the 2nd millennium are: One, that his father did not write an autobiography, which could have helped him know more about the man and his years; Two, that the grandfathers on both sides of our families did not write their life stories for our children to know more about the events and places of our forbearers; Three, that he did not write the book of his life when his father was alive so that his father could edit it––we all admired his literary talent as Tony envied and tried to imitate his writing style. He hopes that one of our grandchildren will write about the lives and times of their generation to preserve the legacy of the Cumagun name. Tony told me: “It might as well be you because nobody can more intimately and truthfully write about me but those who have eaten and drunk and lived in social intercourse with me.”1 Because my marriage vows commit me to be a dutiful wife, I assented to my husband’s request. Had I not consented, he would have been makulit (persistently repetitive in his request). My prologue to his book of life is my work, there were my thoughts, and thus was I.2
The eclectic nature of life produces for each person its rainbow with each respective set of colors of happiness and sadness, joy and dismay, success and failure, faith and hope, for everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.3 Every phase of life brings a fresh set of opportunities to grow in the never-ending search for life’s ultimate meaning. Because opportunities are rare, perishable human resources that are often not recognized and taken advantage of, problems creep in to add color and spice in the living and making of one’s life and the strengthening of one’s soul; even gold has to be put first to the fire to be refined.4 When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear: As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace, so in tribulation is the test of a man. (Sir 27:4-5)
This is my own old wives’ tale (cf. 1 Tim 4:7), neither biased nor emotional, of Tony’s life with me as his partner and companion in life. Tony at the age of 61 is happily married to the one and only woman in his life for more than 40 contiguous years, he tells everyone, especially me––hopefully, not just a shibboleth. We have five children, lost one unborn child, and took in a foster granddaughter when she was very sick at the age of a little less than six months. She is now fourteen years old. At the start of the third millennium, Tony also took into our home a fifteen-year-old street child, TNT (tago ng tago) at the Camp Aguinaldo golf course. Tony is a soft touch for dispossessed children and believes that whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me (MT 18:3).
Two of our children are married––Anthony and Michael have given us five grandchildren. I remember Tony telling our sons when they were single that he will never sleep with a grandmother. I told our sons to get married fast so I can become a grandmother and not be sexually harassed often by a man who behaves like a 30-year-old and believes he is a lion king. There may be some truth to the saying that at 20––the man is a peacock, at 30––a lion, at 40––a camel, at 50––a serpent, at 60––a dog, at 70––an ape, and at 80––nothing.5
The eldest of the children, our only daughter Ann Geralyn, born in 1959 in America and a U.S. citizen, was happily divorced in the United States and is contentedly separated in the Philippines. She has gone on dates with her ex-husband, which aggrieves and bothers Tony. He calls Anne’s ex-husband outlaw instead of son-in-law. Tony is still searching for a prayer that will help him forget and, I hope and pray, forgive his Outlaw; but to his dismay, he has found out there is no form of prayer in the liturgy against bad husbands.6 Anne now lives with us in her former bedroom in our house at Dasmariñas Village, where she grew up before she got married, because she has given her own and personally paid-for Valle Verde townhouse to her paternal grandmother to live in gratis et amore. My daughter’s my daughter all the days of her life, but my son is my son till he has got him a wife.7
Franjo, our eldest boy, also born in America in 1960, and also a U.S. citizen, and John Paul, our youngest son, born in Makati in 1970, live with us in their bedrooms. Tony is the sort of a husband and father who lives for our sons so that our children, relatives, and friends may not see the haunted expression of the burdens we carry for our handicapped children. Son thou art ever with me and all that I have is thine (Lk 15:31).
We have a close relationship with our sons’ acquired families and daughters-in-law. All our children by blood and by law as well as their children are close to each other and their parents, grandparents, and only surviving great grandparents, Tony’s side of our family––Lolita, my mother-in-law. Anthony and Michael reside in San Lorenzo Village as contiguous neighbors in houses that I inherited from my mother. They are good sons and brothers who are the best of friends; a brother may not be a friend but a friend is always brother.8
I, formerly Esther (Ester) Ledesma Jalandoni Montinola, married Antonio (Tony) Herrero Gaffud Cumagun in San Francisco, California, on Saturday, July 26, 1958, his college graduation day. He did not attend his graduation day rites. On the morning of that day, we got married in his Catholic parish church, Star of the Sea, Geary Blvd., Richmond District; in the afternoon, we were on our way to our honeymoon in Carmel by the Sea, Monterey, California. We were both 21 years old, then the legal age, when we became husband and wife. It can be said that we were in love because at 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; at 40 the judgment.9
Tony already had a regular job then. He insisted on paying for all the wedding expenses, even if the tradition in America is for the bride’s family to do so. I should add that he was too proud to let anyone else pay for them. He purposely planned it that way because he did not want any of our children to be able to say to him that they, too, could get married before they graduated, or before they reached the age of 21, or worse before they had a reliable livelihood. Tony strongly believes that a college degree graduates a wise man that will make more opportunities than he finds.10
Before our wedding, he was fair and honest enough to tell me of his mother’s advice to him, in his youth and childhood, of his responsibility as the eldest of the children, in leading his younger brothers and only sister to the right path as well as helping them in the future. Because he has brought up our eldest daughter Anne the way his mother brought him up and trained him, I truly believe that Tony has lived up to his mother’s expectations. She was a disciplinarian who believed that one should train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Prv 22:6). While he worked during the mornings and studied for his post-graduate degree in the afternoons and at nights in San Francisco (1958-1960), I gave birth to two children: a girl, Anne the eldest; and in less than twelve months, Franjo, our first son, born on a leap year day, the 29th of February. Tony claims he is passionate about the love that moves the sun,11 as I am prolific as the stars in the heavenly bodies.
Anthony, the third child, was conceived in San Francisco but was born in Manila, in 1961. The place of birth of our second son, third child, is one of the reasons we returned to the Philippines. We also wanted to permanently settle down in the country of our birth, so Tony could start a new career even though he already had a regular job in the United States. He wanted our third child to enter politics in the future. A politician, no matter how popular, has to be born in the Philippines to have the right to be elected President of the Philippines. Filipino citizenship is based on Jus Sanguinis (right by blood), American citizenship on Jus Soli (right by place of birth). The fourth (Michael) and fifth (John Paul) children were conceived in the Philippines and born in 1963 and 1970, respectively in Greater Manila. Of our five children, two are American citizens by place of birth, and three are Filipino citizens by right of blood. Regardless of our birthplace and citizenship, we know, deep in our hearts, we belong to our country as we belong to our mother.12
John Paul, our youngest son, is autistic. Now 28 years old, he has the mentality of a twelve-year-old child and has good bedroom manners because he attends a special education school (SPED) for gifted children. He exhibits all the mannerisms and ways of an autistic child and therefore has to be closely watched and constantly supervised by Yaya Mai (Maria Cloribel, governess and caregiver) who sleeps in the same room with him and takes care of him on a 24-hour basis as if he were her child. Yaya Mai’s daily vigil for more than 25 years is more than what even the most devoted mother can give; I have my doubts about whether what she does for him every day for 24 hours, I, as John Paul’s blood mother can ever be able to do. The family should never forget but also render to Yaya Mai, Yaya Telly, and all our household domestics the universal grace from God that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but also the parent of all the others.13
We took in a sixth child Michelle, born in Manila in 1986, as a foster-child and consider her, with the consent and agreement of all our children, as a grandchild with all the legal rights and privileges of a Cumagun. Our children, Anne especially, love her; our grandchildren often ask to play with her. Having Michelle for fourteen years has been melodramatic, to say the least. It has become discombobulating as she grows to teenage with her all-girl barkada (peer group), so far without boys. Tonyis almost sure that Michelle’s barkada stick together because of their common interest in boys, and he forgets that one of the most obvious facts about grown-ups to a child is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child.14
In October 2000, before the start of the jubilee year of the third millennium, Tony took into the house a second ward, the seventh child in our family, Christy (Vanessa) Ancheta, his non-regular Sunday golf umbrella girl not related to us by blood or affinity. She was a 15-year-old street child arrested by the Camp Aguinaldo MP (military police) for illegally sleeping in the caddy shack of the camp’s golf course. She was TNT (tago ng tago) at the military camp, a child neglected and left to survive on her own, virtually abandoned by a mother separated from her husband who is married to another girl and now residing in the province. She had no place else to go, so Tony brought her to stay with us, primarily as a companion for Michelle. He seems to pick up kids as Franjo picks up stray cats to bring to the house. Tony is sending Vanessa to high school at his expense, within the weekly stipend and allowance Anne gives him. He also brought her younger brother Alexander to Don Bosco’s Tuloy Po Kayo Foundation for street children founded by Fr. Rocky Evangelista. The Roman Catholic Jubilee Year 2001 is the year of God’s abundant mercy. Plenary indulgences are made for purification of memory, forgiveness, and charity that are so necessary in our times for us to be aware of the needs of the poor and the excluded.15 The sin of the rich is not only in the corrupt or illegal accumulation of wealth but in the apathy for the poor and marginalized. Noted Bible commentator William Barclay said it best: The sin of the rich man was not that he did wrong things but that he did nothing.16
Tony often tells me that at 62, I have aged nicely and grown old well. He proudly tells his friends and our relatives that his love and concern have given me the radiance of a woman in love and the complexion of a lady no more than 30 years of age. Tony prohibits Anne and I wearing make-up, to the chagrin of my mother-in-law, because he believes that virtue does more to preserve youthfulness than all the pomades in Elizabeth Arden’s.17 I look much younger than Tony although I am older by a few months. He tells me that I look as young as Anne, our eldest child, which to my joy she humbly accepts because she does not walk with the sins of her father(1 Kgs 15:3;Ex 20:5). Anne and I are often thought of as sisters. She is frequently mistaken for me and is often called by my name by relatives and friends. Anne does not react favorably when relatives, friends, and acquaintances tell her she looks like me but prefers it to the remark that she, sometimes, in some ways, facially resembles her father. In return, Tony told Anne that her character has failed to replicate her mother’s inner beauty. She appreciates, though, the comment of like mother, like daughter.18
Tony cautions me time and again about having a soft heart so that I am often taken advantage of financially, materially, and emotionally by some acquaintances, friends, and relatives. He says I can never say no to anyone except him, and that I have yet to meet someone I do not like, just as he has yet to meet someone he can like at first encounter. In fairness to Tony, he scarcely hates anyone that we know.19 He feels that I believe that everyone I deal with is honest, sincere, and trustworthy and that I see only the good in people. His observation is that I can be naïve at times, investing in quick and easy profit schemes despite my having been burned many times. He also chides that I try too hard to be as good as my mother was in business speculations and land investments. He always warns me of my penchant to have money, only to spend and give it away. He insists and often reminds me that humanity is the virtue of a woman, generosity of a man.20
My life with Tony can be compared to a rough diamond polished to have numerous facets, all of which give different lights and images when seen from various angles. Only when the different points of view of the lights and images are appreciated does the true picture of our whole life surface.21 To Tony’s friends, my life with him makes me a saint. To my daughter Anne and his mind, he is a suffering husband. To me, Tony’s character is similar to that of a rough and uncut diamond, but a diamond with a flaw is better than a common stone that is perfect.22 I am grateful to God for giving Tony the grace of not entering politics as a career. When we lived in the United States in the first years of our marriage and during the last years of our stay in America (1958-1960), Tony dabbled in U.S. presidential politics. He was so star-struck by Senator John F. Kennedy, who was running for the United States presidency in 1959, that he became a Kennedy volunteer for Northern California covering San Francisco to the Salinas Valley where most of the Filipinos who became American citizens were domiciled. He was part of the Kennedy telephone brigade; on his own volition and initiative, he imported at his expense and distributed the Philippines Free Press Weekly Magazine, which featured Sen. Kennedy on the front cover. One Filipino in the Salinas Valley who received a copy reported his political activities to the U.S. Federal Government. The U.S. State Department called his father’s attention to his son’s political involvement because Tony was not a U.S. citizen and, worse, was carrying a Philippine diplomatic passport. This caused my father-in-law, then Phil. Consul in San Francisco, a diplomatic embarrassment, which ended Tony’s stint as a Kennedy volunteer but did not stop him from attending the Kennedy political rallies in Northern California as an observer. I told Tony that politics is such a torment to me that I would advise everyone I love not to mix with it.23
Upon our return to the Philippines (1961-1962), relatives and friends (his mother’s side) asked him to be their common candidate in the First Congressional District of the Province of Isabela; after martial law, relatives and friends (his father’s side) beseeched him to become the common candidate for Governor in the Province of Cagayan (1987). I was so petrified of his chances of winning, even if they were slim, that I begged him never to enter the political arena for my sake. I do not like and do not know how it is to be in public life. I would have aged fast and might even have gone insane had Tony entered politics. My way of joking is, to tell the truth, it’s the funniest joke in the world.24 For the sake of my sanity, Tony acquiesced; he did not accept any presidential offer for any government position during the presidencies of Mr. Marcos and Mrs. Aquino. The closest he has been in politics was when he became the Chief-of-Staff during the first six-year term (1987-1992) of Senator Nene Pimentel. I must admit that I am lucky because God gave me Tony to be my husband, and blest if only because he sacrificed his childhood political ambition for my sanity. I tell him that though I do not wear my gratefulness in my sleeves, my gratitude will always be in my heart’s memory.25
Except for the possibility that he may still have a lingering political aspiration, nothing worries or bothers me. I leave all the worrying to him. We have had no major disagreements or marital quarrels although he often gets mad and easily loses his temper. This now happens less and less as he grows balder and older; even much less now that he is writing his autobiography. He claims it’s not fun to get mad because I don’t get fazed or bothered. He tells me it is he who gets discombobulated especially when I easily fall asleep even after he gets angry with me. I never argue with him. It is futile to argue with a husband who believes he is always right, and who claims that I am always wrong for doing the right things at the wrong time and the wrong things at the right time. I just let Tony be his natural angry self, and my silence with subdued tears should let the husband render unto the wife due to benevolence(1 Cor 7:3).I tell my friends and relatives that Tony is no worse a husband than the best of men26 when they say that the majority of husbands remind them of an orang-utang (Malay words for a person of the forest: orang for person and utang for forest) trying to play the violin.27
Tony believes in God as I do, but he is not as religious as I would want him to be. I love to go to church daily, and after Mass, to stay for the Holy Hour Vigil (Bishop Fulton J. Sheen originated the vigil when he as a priest was taking up post-graduate studies in Louvain, Belgium), thus often leaving him alone at home. As a wife, I sincerely believe I am not the less human for being a devout Catholic.28 Like many devoted Filipino wives, I am always late for social appointments when I am to be with him except for church. I have, on some occasions, told him that the practice of his religious faith is cerebral, very intellectual, and not heartfelt, and therefore I would pray for his metanoia; I want him to also be a daily church-goer and Mass communicant. Whenever he asks me to pray for his intentions, I flatly but lovingly tell him, “Sariling kayod; please pray for yourself for God helps those who help themselves.”29
Tony’s patron saint is St. Anthony of Padua because his mother had him baptized with the given name of Antonio (messenger in Spanish) even though he was born two months before St. Anthony’s feast day of June 13. He told me that before he entered the Ateneo, the only saint he knew was St. Anthony to whom he prayed for all his difficult-to-achieve temporal needs. At the Ateneo, he was drawn to the Blessed Mother and prayed to her for his physical and spiritual needs. As an infant may be unconscious of a birthmark, he was unconscious of the dedication––but the mark was always there. Like a piece of iron to the magnet, he was drawn to her before he knew her but never drawn to her without Christ.30
When he went for his first Confession and received his first Holy Communion at the Ateneo at the age of thirteen (1950), he consciously dedicated himself to the Blessed Mother and adopted the Ateneo motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the Greater Glory of God) in everything he did as a high school student.
By serendipity, circumstance, or Divine Providence, Tony belongs to the Ateneo de Manila High School Class of 1954––the Class blessed by the Virgin Mary. In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven as Dogma of the Catholic Church. In June that year, 290 boys started their first high school year at the Quonset classrooms of the Ateneo on Padre Faura— half of the class were committed Sodalists who pledged to be faithful children of Our Lady. In 1954, the 100th Anniversary of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception declared in 1854, the boys dedicated their Graduating Class to Our Lady. On April 3, 2005, the 51st Anniversary of its graduation, Class ’54 closed its Golden Jubilee Year and renewed their pledge.31 “Today 03 April 2014 is the sixtieth anniversary of high school graduation of Ateneo de Manila high class 1954 on 03 April 1954. Per records given 169 of the original 290 who started in 1950 graduated in 1954, truly great attrition or drop-out in four years of 41.7%. Is that the meaning of Ateneo quality control? Congratulations! Per data, also, 73 of the 169 have died, or 43.1%. God is indeed good. Deo gratias et laudem.” (Ting, SJ—April 3, 2014 text of Father Antonio Samson, class 54, former President of Ateneo de Davao)
Tony’s concept of religion and God differs from mine. One early morning, he woke me up just to ask what I would do if in the after-life were he in Heaven and me in Purgatory. My answer took him aback: “I would complain to God.” Following the lyrics of a song in a Broadway-movie musical, he told me, “I have grown accustomed to your face, accustomed to your ways.”32 I replied, “I have borne your daughter and four sons . . . and you ask me still the question of do I love you?”33 My strong belief in God’s love does not make me a fatalist but a cockeyed optimist who believes that Tony is content in his life with me. Whenever he is at my side wherever we travel and when I go shopping, I always make it a point to take short views, hope for the best, andtrust in God.34
He admits he is a fortunate man. He tells the children and me that he may not have married an angel or a servile wife or even a devoted mother to his children, but he loves me. He claims that through osmosis, he has inherited my goodness as I have his happiness. He often tells me, sotto voce, Para sa akin, ikaw ang pinakamagandang hayop sa balat ng lupa. I am the prettiest animal on earth; and to him, there are few women whose charm survives their beauty as he feels I have. I say he must be blind and a bolero. Whenever and wherever he kids me, privately or publicly, I tell him joking spoils a wife.35 I also tease him that I think he is covering-up for his secret faults every time he compliments me or tells me he loves me. But he honestly says he loves me so, even if he does not know why. When I press him for the reason, he loves to quote one of his favorite analects when he was courting me, although he now claims that it was I who courted him. The heart has its reasons which Reason does not know; a thousand things declare it. The heart has reasons which Reason can never know.36
He informs me, as often as I ask him, that he has remained a faithful husband in his way. My daughter Anne and I have not heard of any “Pinoy gossip” (tsismis or bulung-bulungan) or “Chinese whispers” (sei bang) about him and so, happily, the family has had no “Russian scandal” (spletnia). A Chinese whisper is a game in which a message gets distorted when passed around in a whisper; this is also known as a Russian scandal. In this light, I have no right to doubt his vow of fidelity. He has extracted a vow of obedience from me in return. I sometimes suspect that he may have had flings, but I seriously doubt that he has indulged in love affairs because he is so scared of his only daughter Ann Geralynand my mother-in-law Lolita. I am content with the fact that he has neither car-barned nor lived-in with another woman. He is to me the best of husbands even though he is the only husband I have had or will ever have, which is how he wants it to be even after God has called him. He keeps on telling me that one good husband is worth two good wives; for the scarcer things are the more they’re valued.37
He is a jealous and possessive type. He insists that I inform him all the time of my whereabouts and who are with me. He is also a man who keeps anything he owns forever. He has not sold anything during our life together, no matter how old, not even a car. I am the opposite; I love to buy and sell. I am not a jealous and possessive type. I let him be the flirt that he is, as long as he doesn’t hurt anyone. He believes that I may be telling the truth to a degree but doesn’t want to take a litmus test on it. Given this, he is quick to quote: Those that tease each other love each other.38 Our married life has been good; it would be blessed, were he to attend daily Mass with me. No man or woman has ever separated us from our conjugal bed, for even a minute. I pray it will always be so, as he promises first to our children, and then to me that he will make sure in his way that he will be fidelis ad urnum, faithful unto death.39
Tony semi-retired in 1998; he is starting to feel his age but not look it. I am glad that he has decided to retire from a full-time job and has left office responsibilities to our children. He deserves to rest and enjoy the fruits of his labor for he is a hard-working man and has lived a hard-driving life. He has worked ever since his young adult life, collegiate, and post-graduate days (1954-1960). He has been a farmworker and fruit picker, baby sitter, hotel bell-boy, movie-house porter, messenger and export clerk, IBM computer machine operator, programmer and systems analyst, Kennedy political volunteer, Corista rallyista and anti-Marcos demonstrator, media manager, marketing consultant, advertising executive, marketing manager, vice-president, treasurer, executive vice-president, president, and chairman. He held all these jobs and positions at different stages in his career path in various fields of endeavor in different enterprises with various companies and corporations in the United States and the Philippines. When we returned to the Philippines, in addition to having a full-time regular job, Tony also assumed a second job. He became an Instructor at the University of the East (1962-1963), the first President Jose P. Laurel Professorial Chair-holder at the University of Santo Tomas (1977-1979), and Professor at AIM, the Asian Institute of Management (1980-1981). In politics, he was the Chief-of-Staff (1987-1992) during the first term of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., and a member of the Presidential Crises Committee under President Corazon Aquino’s administration. Tony in his past has been a man on the go and, in his old age, still believes that the sum of wisdom is, that the time is never lost that is devoted to work.40
His hobbies have always been more in line with his financial capability and his sports activities in accordance to his wallet’s capacity, rather than with his athletic desires and physical abilities. The only recreation attractive to these disciplined individuals born on April 1 is often itself a hobby, which they pursue with such zeal and diligence that others may mistake it for work.41 I must admit that all the Cumagun brothers, even Marielou, their only sister who was a track and field athlete in Sydney, Australia, are athletically gifted, talents our sons inherited from the Cumagun family genes. Brains, brawn, and competitive noise run in their families and our children. They have a strong family network. They can be happy just being with each other; all the members of their family resemble one another 42
In his grade school days (1946-1950), Tony played basketball, softball, and volleyball; in his high school years (1950-1954), soccer and basketball. In college (1954-1958), he played tennis, baseball, and basketball; during his working years (1955-1992), he played basketball, softball, and tennis. After 1990, he played tennis more than the other two sports. Now that he is semi-retired (1998), he has taken up golf. His close friends comment that the balls he plays with are getting smaller and smaller. He tells them that it takes more brain than brawn to play with smaller balls. If there is any game he abhors, it is gambling. He objects to my playing a friendly game of mahjong even with my close friends, which is good but not religious-good.43 He now appreciates classical music. In college, he liked folk songs; in high school, pop music; and in grade school, martial music. He pursues his hobbies as if they were work-related responsibilities. Relaxation to him is dedicated intensity in motion. He is a man always on the go. In the 1950s, Man on the Go was the name of a Chicago-based breakfast radio program broadcast nationwide in the U.S., which he made me religiously listen to for discussion on our weekend dates during our college days in SF. To this day, as when he was courting me, he believes that the desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it.44
On these dates, we also talked about the top-rated television program of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Life Is Worth Living. The show was aired on primetime, simultaneous with the competing network’s show of Milton Berle, the famous television comedian of the time. When Life Is Worth Living still retained the highest viewership despite the Milton Berle Show, the U.S. press asked Berle why. He replied Because my writers are not as good as Bishop Sheen’s writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.45 During the Emmy Awards (the TV equivalent for the Oscars) every award recipient thanked producers, directors, assistants, friends, and colleagues. When Bishop Sheen accepted his award, he was momentarily lost for words. Then he decided to thank people just like the other recipients did: I wish to thank my four writers Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Berle claimed later that that line was his, “but he made up for it by giving me credit for many humorous remarks which I had not the talent to make.” 46
Tony is too busy to harass me nowadays because he presently zealously occupies himself with his computer in the morning writing his memoirs, and does dry golf exercises in the afternoon. In the evening, he continues the writing of his autobiography, which according to him is about his past and our present, and is for the future of our children and grandchildren. The working title of his book is Indian Love Call, the title of one of his few favorite songs, a monomania, lovey-dovey catchphrase that describes his amorous feelings of need for me. He tells me that it is a code for my always not being around when he needs me. I commented that his working title, as well as its meaning, is not original, and suggested to please use a better, if not original, more appropriate, and very meaningful one instead. His reply: He wants to love me first and live incidentally.47
His memoirs are his stories as husband and father; his autobiography tells of his rites of passage from childhood to manhood. “A memoir provides a record not so much of the memoirist as of the memoirist’s world. It must differ from a biography in that the memoirist can never achieve the perspective that a biographer possesses as a matter of course. A biography, if there is such a thing, is like asking a rabbit to tell us what he looks like hopping through the grasses in the field. How would he know? If we want to hear about the field, on the other hand, no one is in a better circumstance to tell us so long as we keep in mind that we are missing all those things the rabbit was in no position to observe.”48
After reading some chapters of the first draft of his book about the two of us and our children, which he had asked us to read and comment on, we asked why he made it a point to put a quotation, proverb, or saying after almost every paragraph. He declared:“For the better understanding and remembrance of my biographical stories, I scoured English (and sometimes the world) literature for analects that would appropriately summarize the paragraphs of my thoughts. If I summarized these paragraphs in my own words, some may not believe me or seriously take what I wrote. If I quote from the writers of the ages, the reader will not only believe me but agree as well with my life’s echo of the past.”The children and I saw his point so I asked him to help me do the same for this prologue. A book that furnishes no quotations is, “me judice,” no book––it is a plaything.49
The children and I have also asked him why it has taken him years to complete his book. According to Anne, their stock reply to relatives and close friends who ask if their father’s book is already finished: “The book will never be finished because he is still living and still writing; for that matter, our mother does not want it published for the public to read.”Tonyretorted that his memoirs and autobiography are a form of his Lenten retreat, akin to spiritual exercises for a parlor confession to God and a general confession to his family. Happy the man who meditates on wisdom, and reasons with good sense, who studies her ways in his heart, and ponders her secrets. (Eccl 14:23)
Tony seriously added that his meditations in examining his life are what is taking so long to write. He believes in his mind and feels in his soul that it is during the writing and rewriting of the events of his past life when God will give him the grace to know His message for saving Tony’s life not only once but thrice. To his way of thinking, miracles are not the proofs, but the necessary results of revelation.50 He explained that quoting writers and authors has helped him grow intellectually and morally. He said that the substitution of a word or words for another makes the message of another person’s writing applicable to one and all, as he did to the definition of Retreat by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.51 Anne, speaking for our children, told him that they hoped he was not more interested in the reading about his life than in the writing of the historical facts and events surrounding it. If it was the former, then it would be a tale of a tub52 or an incredible tale; but were it for the latter, it would be a whole Megillah53 –– a long, tedious and complicated story. An impromptu family conference ensued to discuss the merits for and against the publication of Tony’s memoirs, autobiography for the family, relatives, and close friends but not for general public consumption. The consensus was to publish in a limited edition only, to which I agreed, to Tony’s delight and our children’s relief. The children and I advised him to be judicious in what he writes because just as the Holy Bible is a compilation of God’s letters to humanity, his memoirs, autobiography will become his letters to our children, his amanuensis to our grandchildren. All of us softly and lovingly cautioned him, for he is a difficult man to convince, much less tell what to do, that in a man’s letter his soul lays naked.54
Tony now takes care of the gardening at home, as well as the maintenance and rental of his mother’s house and our real estate properties. He is very active in the Parents-Teachers Association of our foster grandchild’s school, Colegio San Agustin, as the Chairman of the CSA-PTA Board of Trustees (1998-2001). The majority of the CSA-PTA board members are females, which to him is a unique adventure because many of them are hard-headed but rewarding work experience because most of them are hard-working. He enjoys their company despite knowing full well that all women are ambitious naturally.55
He considers himself fortunate in his work endeavors and successful in his jobs when he was in the United States, which proved to be a difficult and winding career path. In 1955, while studying in college, he started his career as a messenger and export clerk for Anderson and Company, a single proprietorship import/export enterprise in San Francisco. He enhanced his job prospects through sheer guts and determination. His first real office job was an IBM electronic machine operator, trained as a computer programmer; then proceeded to become a systems analyst. His life has dramatically shown me that there is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.56
He believes, even in his golden years, in labore et honore; by industry, nothing is impossible.57 While studying at the University of California, Berkeley, for his college degree (1955-1958), Tony took a full-time job with the regular work-hours of 1:00-10:00 P.M., first as an IBM operator, then as a computer programmer, until he was promoted to the position of a systems analyst in the Accounting Department of Balfour Guthrie Ltd. in San Francisco. This enabled him to take a full load of college semester units from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon for his Letters of Science, Major in Economics degree, at the University of California, Berkeley in Oakland. His study and job schedules required him to travel by car from home to school for about 45 minutes in the morning, and another 30 minutes from school to work in the afternoon, Monday to Friday for almost four years, traversing the Oakland Bay Bridge, which was then the longest double span-bridge in the world. He would take lunch in his car while driving from school to work. When we got married in 1958, he weighed only 98 lbs., which made my mother order me to fatten him up. His boss, U.S. Reserve Navy Commander, Mr. Frank T. Coleman, would often remind him to take good care of his health because he was his most intelligent and well-organized psychopath in the computer room fast burning the candle of his life––asking him how he could do both full-time study and full-time work. Tony’s standard reply: “8 hours of work, 6 hours of study, 5 hours for sleep, the balance 5 hours for friendships with the male and female species”––from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.58
He considers his collegiate days (1954-1958) to have been happier than his high school years (1950-1954). He now wonders and reminisces how he was able to have a regular college and young adult life, and have as many girlfriends of different nationalities with his daily hectic schedule––the devil never takes a holiday. He dated often on weekends and, before we were engaged, went out with some of my dormitory schoolmates. When he reminds me that despite the many girls he dated, he married me, my standard reply is no man is happy but by comparison.59 He has told our children that he is proud of the fact that he has not made a mother cry, especially his mother, or taken advantage of a girl. He is very proud to say that he followed his mother’s advice and was a virgin even when we were already married for a week. I feel I can attest to this despite the common belief that a woman’s virginity can be proven but a man can never be—he tells me that man is the saddest animal of all after coitus. Omne animale post coitu triste.60
During their school days, he and his brothers were able to visit all the known and historical places in California but not in the other states due to financial limitations. He was able to help his parents buy on installment a second family car and to maintain a personal savings bank account, most of which he spent on our wedding. His wedding gift to me, which he never lets me forget, was a Spinet Baldwin Piano. I tell him as often as he reminds me that there is no sweetness in a cabbage twice boiled, or in a tale twice told.61
He believes he is an introvert. His close friends and I do not agree because he becomes an extrovert when he is with his close friends and people he likes. He is very selective about the people he goes around with. He is moody at times and gregarious all of a sudden. His pride and vanity have diminished in direct proportion to his age and loss of hair. He once wore a toupee but has now discarded it. I used to see him, in the morning in front of the mirror, with affection beaming in one eye, and calculation shining out of the other,62 as he shaved,talking to himself for me to hear:“You handsome dog, You!” A thick skin is a gift from God.63
In writing this echo of his life, Tony does not claim divine inspiration. I am glad because those who do so are not the easiest to live with––think of Mozart, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and the many others who all did crazy things in the name of God. We may believe them but it is difficult to interact with them in a normal way. They are brilliant, no doubt, but relating and living with them can be tedious.64 Tony is focused, competitive and a workaholic. His friends tell us that other people think he is snooty––unable to conceal his feelings when dealing with someone he considers inferior, he exudes an attitude that makes other people feel belittled. He has few friends. Quite a few do not like him. He has a cold façade that hides feelings of disappointment and pain––from his father, he had derived a strong sense of stoicism.65 Some feelings are to mortals given, with less of earth in them than heaven.66 If there’s anything Tony will ever be remembered for, I would proudly say to all, it is his love and concern for our children, which he unabashedly shows privately to each of them and publicly to relatives and friends. Happy is he that is happy in his children.67
When the children were young and would quarrel amongst each other, he disciplined them the way his mother disciplined him. Not with stern corporal punishment but by making them kneel on mongo seeds or have them carry books in their naughty hands. He felt bad every time he had to discipline them and would often ask me to do it for him. Whenever I declined, he would just loudly and in mock anger tell them, Sleep! I am happy to say that he was quietly proud of our children’s naughtiness and never had in his mind what many unconcerned fathers think of every time their children gave them problems: Oh, for an hour of Herod! 68 Our family friends Rufo Colayco and Tong Payumo have told our children that during their childhood, whenever they were boisterous, Tony would order them to go to sleep regardless of the time of day. He that has no children knows not what is love.69
He has confided to his few close friends and to the children of his request to me that on his burial, the epitaph on his tombstone should read:“Here lies a man who is a virgin to all women except to his wife.”Theelements of human experience that cannot be explained by the collective wisdom of the world.70 We have asked him what we should do with the epitaph in case the What If a scenario arises from someone claiming that he or she was also his child. He has firmly insisted that the probability is not even a possibility; but to make it easier and at the least expense for the family, he says: “Just add to the last line of the epitaph, and one.” If there are two claimants, “Just add to the last line, and two.” If there are three or more claimants, “Just add to the last line, and many more.” In lapidary inscriptions, a man is not upon oath.71 He is confident that the children and I will always have to believe him because he is certain that he is seldom wrong. We do believe him sometimes because of his conviction that he is a legend––in his mind. History has its truth; and so has legend hers.72
When friends and relatives on both sides of our families ask me what made me marry Tony, I tell them that it was not loved at first sight, on my side. If I am pressed to say why I loved him, I feel it can only be explained by replying: Because it was he; because it was me.73 I don’t know what our new-found friends think when they ask me what I saw in Tony that made me marry him, but what matters most now is that I am in love with him. Tony, to me, is somewhat tall (most shoes nowadays have elevator soles), dark (because of his weekend golf), and not so bald-looking (because of Neria’s nightly sabila––Filipino cactus sapapplication on his head). Amor tussique non-celantur; love and a cough cannot be hidden. 74
I bequeath with the best of efforts and to the best of my ability to Tony, my beloved husband since I was 21 years of age, a Japanese proverb: No one else before you, my husband, not even me (except God and our children).
Ester Jalandoni Montinola-Cumagun
December 28, 1999
Ester’s Prologue in Antonio G. Cumagun Autobiography:Song of Myself Memoirs Looking Back at Serendipity, 2000, Unpublished
(Fountainhead of Reference)
1 James Boswell: Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791
2 J. J. Rousseau: Confessions, 1766
3 William Blake: America, 1827
4 Ancient Proverb, Ecclesiasticus 2:5, 180 B.C.
5 Baltazar Gracian: The Art of Worldly Wisdom, 1674
6 George Farquhar: The Beaux’s Stratagem, 1707
7 Thomas Fuller: Gnomologia, 1732
8 Benjamin Franklin: Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1752
10 Francis Bacon: Of Ceremonies and Respects, 1865
11 Dante Alighieri: Divina Commedia ‘Paradiso‘, 1310-1320
12 E. E. Hale: The Man Without a Country, 1863
13 Cicero: Pro Plancio, 54 B.C.
14 Randall Jarrell: Third Book of Criticism, 1965
15 Fr. Gil A. Alinsangan, SSP: The Sign of Charity, Incarnationis Mysterium,
n12, Sambuhay, St. Paul Pastoral missalette, January 28, 2001
16 The parable of the Dives (Latin for rich man) found only in the gospel of Luke 16:10-31 in Sambuhay missalette, September 30, 2001.
17 Bishop Fulton J. Sheen: Treasure in Clay, 1980
18 American Proverb
19 William Hazlitt: Table Talk, 1822
20 Adam Smith: The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759
21 Philip Yancey: The Jesus I Never Knew, 1949
22 Chinese Proverb
23 Thomas Jefferson: Letter to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 1800
24 George Bernard Shaw: John Bull’s Other Island, 1907
25 French Proverb
26 William Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, 1606-1607
27 Balzac: The Physiology of Marriage, 1830
28 Moliere: Le Tartuffe, 1669
29 Aesop, 6th-century Greek philosopher, writer, Animal Fables
30 Loc. cit. Fulton J. Sheen
31 Editorial: High School 1954, Facile Princeps, Golden Jubilee Year 2004 Commemorative Issue,
32 My Fair Lady, 1964 Oscar-winning movie musical based on Pygmalion (George Bernard Shaw)
33 Fiddler on the Roof, 1971 Broadway hit and movie musical based on stories by Sholem
Aleichem––Music by Jerry Rock––Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick––Song by Topol
34 Sydney Smith: Lady Holland Memoir, 1855
35 Hindu Proverb
36 Blaise Pascal: Pensees, 1670
37 Loc. cit. Benjamin Franklin
38 German Proverb
39 Latin Proverb
40 E. W. Emerson: Success, 1877
41 Goldschneider & Elffers: The Secret Language of Birthdays, 1994
42 Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina, 1875-1877
43 Thomas Hardy: Under the Greenwood Tree, 1872
44 Laurence Sterne: Tristram Shandy, 1760
45 CNN World Report, March 21, 2002: Milton Berle, 1908-2002, died on March 21, at age 93,
after having worked on television for 80 years. Labeled Mr. Television by the U.S. press.
46 Fulton J. Sheen: Treasure in Clay,Appendix, 1980: In 1951, Bishop Sheen began a television series entitled Life Is Worth Living.By 1956, Bishop Sheen was appearing on 123 ABC television stations in the United States alone (not counting Canada) and 300 radio stations. Life Is Worth Living radio and TV programs had an audience embracing people of all faiths. Life Is Worth Living TV series ended in 1957. His subsequent series on The Life of Christ,and a second TV series Quo Vadis America, produced in 1964, were shown throughout the USA until the appearance in 1966 of The Bishop Sheen Program in color.
47 Zelda Fitzgerald: Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1919
48 Jakob Haarhuis, Arnold Rusoff Professor of Japanese History, New York
University: Translator’s Note, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, 1999
49 Thomas Love Peacock: Crotchet Castle, 1831
50 S. T. Coleridge: Omniana, 1812
51 Loc. cit. Fulton J. Sheen
52 English Phrase, archaic an apocryphal tale
53 English Phrase, Megillah ––Jewish word that defines each of the five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (The Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther) appointed to be read on certain Jewish notable days.
54 Samuel Johnson: Letter to Hester Thrale, 27 Oct. 1777
55 Christopher Marlowe & George Chapman: Hero and Leander, 1598
56 Honore de Balzac: La Muse du departement, 1850
57 Latin Phrase
58 Karl Marx: The German Ideology, 1883
59 Thomas Shadwell: The Virtuoso, 1676
60 Latin Proverb
61 Loc. cit. Thomas Fuller
62 Charles Dickens: Martin Chuzzlewit, 1844
63 Konrad Adenauer: in the New York Times, 30 December 1959
64 Neale Donald Walsch: Communion with God, 2000
65 Clark Clifford: Counsel to the President, a Memoir, 1991
66 Walter Scott: The Lady of the Lake, 1810
67 Loc. cit. Thomas Fuller
68 Anthony Hope: Denis Mackail The Story of JMB, 1946
69 H. G. Bohn: Handbook of Proverbs, 1855
70 Peter Berger: Signal of Transcendence, in Sambuhay missalette,
March 26, 2000
71 Samuel Johnson: Boswell’s Life, 1775
72 Victor Hugo: Ninety-Three, 1879
73 Michel Eyquem de Montaigne: Le Essais, 1580
74 Latin Proverb