On a typical day, sort of inadvertently, I felt a little mass on my left breast and, less than a week later, I was in an operating room to resect a malignant tumor. Can this event change a person’s life? I must say, undoubtedly, yes.
When you are diagnosed with a critical illness it is like time is put on hold, or at least, it’s on hold for the person suffering. The lives of others around you keep going forward while you are stuck in time as you try to accept and understand what’s going on with you. In my particular case, the treatment was tough on my body. After each round of chemotherapy, my bone marrow was slow to recover so, for me, it was a full battle every step of the way. Weeks would go by when I could not work. Depending on test results, I could not have visits from friends or even go out on the streets.
Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of the time alone to talk with the only one who could help me out: God. In the middle of my illness, I learned to appreciate Jesus’ sweet voice in the silence of my heart. Those of you who have felt this personal encounter with Him will know that there is nothing as sublime, as beautiful, or as full of love as being with Jesus. Perhaps you’ll ask if I ever saw Him…the answer is: yes. I saw Jesus in the eyes of my husband, in his loving smile that always gave me peace. I saw Jesus in my doctor as he explained everything and proposed a solution when things were getting worse. I saw Jesus in the nurses that were so careful with me and in those devoted people carrying the stretcher and smiling at me. I saw Jesus in the administrative personnel of the clinics helping me with my admission procedures and in the compassionate words and fraternal love of my friends and relatives. I also saw Jesus in my home at the moment when I most needed Him—in the blessed hands of Eucharistic Ministers—and, of course, I saw Him putting his hands over me when the priests anointed me and prayed for me.
Many people have told me that they wouldn’t be able to withstand a diagnosis like mine. I assure you that God gives you the strength you need when He decides that you have to go through something like this. I just had to do my part…to say, “Yes, I accept all you have for me, I trust in You.”
I remember very well the day in which I lived the most critical moments of my illness. It was late when I had to go for surgery for the fourth time and the surgery was urgent because I had a bad infection and my body was not defending itself. That day I understood that on this earth we are only passengers; that our time here is short and that having taken advantage of it means having done God’s will. I had the certainty that when this life is done there comes a new life which is eternal and that only the love that one applies into every little thing counts. I had the certainty that we will be judged on our love. This new understanding caused me to reflect on my life and see the reality I was living. I was disheartened when I saw only empty hands, so I begged God for a new opportunity. Luckily for me, God, in his infinite mercy, allowed me to stay here on earth for a while longer.
While in those days time stood still for me, today I see that time has once again stopped, but this time it has stopped for us all. Because of the pandemic, you, like me, have the opportunity to see Jesus, to talk to Him and, especially, to listen to what He has been trying to tell you. You see, Jesus is always calling us, knocking at our door, trying to enter into our lives and hoping we will invite Him to stay, but He’ll only come in if we allow Him…so the question is, “Will you let Him in?
Maria Cristina was born in Santa Marta, Colombia to a Catholic family on the day of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. From this gift from Heaven and through the example of her mother, she took a deep love for the Blessed Virgin Mary to whom she has consecrated her life together with her husband and her two children. She knows that Mary is truly her Mom who helps her in every aspect of life.
At the age of 32, Maria was diagnosed with breast cancer and she began a life full of physical suffering, but it was also a life with much grace and many blessings. It was then, in those moments of loneliness and isolation, that she was able to experience the Love of God and hear His Voice deep in her heart. The miracle of healing occurred and since then Maria has dedicated herself to serving the Lord. She does this by sharing her testimony with others in order to bring hope to suffering souls and by leading and participating in different activities such as retreats, Catholic financial ministry, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and activities that help those most in need. She knows that nothing comes from herself, but that everything she does is a product of Divine Grace. Maria is confident that Jesus lives in her house and that He will never leave!