For the last forty years, I always woke up receiving the day as a gift, a new gift to be lived in a special way, thanking God for it. The most immediate effect has been that I embraced it every time with joy and beauty: As a new opportunity to make the day another joyful experience.
So you wonder, what happened? Just after my novitiate, doctors discovered a tumour in my neck which was attached to my glands and vocal chords. I was still young, and free-spirited, not thinking too much on what the situation really meant, however, I sensed that this was serious. I ended up at Royal Marsden in England, knowing that a major intervention was needed to start treating the problem.
Life is a gift, let it be a joyful journey, no matter what!
My first day at the hospital, I met a Doctor Palmer who was going to do the intervention. While explaining my diagnosis and exploring the various possibilities, he asked me: “Are you becoming a priest? And if you lose your vocal chords, what would you do?” We had a long discussion and all throughout I could see that he was such a good man. Finally, he bluntly stated: ‘”Let us pray so what I cannot do, God will do.” And we prayed. My mother is a great devotee of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu and it was only afterwards that I got to know that she had been going every single day in pilgrimage, interceding to our Lady.
The intervention was successful and the doctor did save my vocal chords. It took me some months of agony and a few years of recovery to be completely healed. However, here I am today, much older and healthy.
But in the misery of that hospital bed, I learnt something so beautiful which today is engraved deeply in my heart: Life is beautiful – live it to the full. This became the eternal alignment of my happiness, the compass of a true journey to my joy. Life is a gift, let it be a joyful journey, no matter what!