Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23: 34)
Yesterday was the birthday of my precious daughter Christy, who left to be with the Lord 3 years ago. Every time I think about her, an ocean of nostalgia washes over me and a mysterious happiness envelops my soul. My heart is filled with an immense gratitude towards God, for having given me the privilege of being her father and having been able to enjoy her laughter and mischiefs, her incredible grace, her fortitude, her intelligence and her faith. I learned a lot from her, because her faith reflected her ineffable love for God, for human beings, and for Creation. I carry her love always inside of me, as an indescribable force that destroys fear and nurtures my own faith.
Christina’s death sealed my conversion, and through this test of great suffering, I learned that God is infinite love. I always saw, in the glittering eyes of my wife, Monica, and of my sons Daniel and David, the daily sacrifice for Christy’s well being. I understood then, through this test of fire, the magnitude of Jesus’s love. He taught us the magnificence of the greatest love of all: sacrificial love. Jesus withstood the flagellation and the crown of thorns and carried his cross with dignity, just to save us. He loved us so much, that for his pure spirit, there was no other option than saving us – even though we were his aggressors.
For pure love, we acquire and exercise the virtues of nobility, prudence, humility, servitude, charity and patience, and the commitment to forgive. Also for love, we align on the side of benevolence, in this constant and colossal battle between good and evil, in which we live. With love, we shed tears of emotion when we renew our marriage vows. With love, we shed tears of happiness with every triumph of our children. With love, we shed tears of gratitude when we contemplate a beautiful sunset.
Even in solitude, I exercise my capacity for loving with a heart full of gratitude. I give thanks for the power of the silence that God gives me; this silence opens a space for my thoughts to flow when I write. I also thank God when I see my hands, hardened by the years, but committed to put into action my growing faith.
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2: 17)
I see the pictures of my loved ones. I sigh and conclude that my family and friends – so innumerable and special – are the true riches that God has provided for me. I possess them and save them in my heart as a precious gem of inestimable value. Every time a loved one suffers or dies, I feel my heart imprisoned, but my soul is energized and freed to be more servile and humble, more willing to risk it all, to give it all, all that I have of nobility, indissolubility, simplicity and compassion.
It does not matter that we’ve lacked precision in our words, during any quarrel of yesterday; that we had felt angry with a friend and that our own gestures would have unmasked our dissatisfaction. This does not matter because the sublime eyes of God penetrate even the most infinitesimal particles of our hearts, searching for our real intentions. The language of the Holy Spirit is merciful love, spread by God throughout the universe. It’s a love filled with sacrifice, forgiveness and peace. Let’s exercise our love of neighbor, the language of God, to secure our entry into eternal life.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (Corinthians 13: 4-7)
Fernando Dangond, MD, was born in Colombia, South America. He and his wife, Monica, live in Weston, MA, and have been blessed with two sons Daniel and David and a beautiful daughter, Christina (the inspiration behind Build the Faith) who left to be with the Lord 5 years ago.
Dr. Dangond, is a neurologist and scientist who works for a pharmaceutical company developing medicines to treat devastating neurological diseases.