August 9, 2009

A Trbute to Cory

I have learned that one of the things I need to accept in life is the reality of pain and suffering. Why good people suffer in pain? Why good people whom we love like Cory Aquino, suffered and died of cancer? I guess, we know that in the end, answers to these questions will always evade us.

All of us here are deeply affected with the sudden death of Cory. As we hear from TV and read from the internet the courageous fight of Cory against the big C, we also remember her uphill battle to uphold and preserve democracy for our country. When she was asked if being afflicted with cancer is her greatest fight of her life, she simply said no. She said that her greatest and painful fight was when her husband Ninoy Aquino was imprisoned and when she decided to leave her well secured private life in the United States and decided to run for presidency. Her return was a fight against a different cancer, more lethal and dangerous - the social cancer that almost killed the Philippine democracy.

It is unfortunate that our young people do not have a first hand experience of Cory. In our society today lacks model or living witnesses to emulate and inspire our youth, Cory could be one of the best model to imitate. We have limited faces or images of democracy, dedication to public service, and love for our country. We need heroes like Cory Aquino and her husband Benigno Aquino to inspire us how to fight a seemingly undefeatable social injustices, poverty, and graft and corruption. Cory fought up to the end and never wavered in the advocacy. For Cory, what matters most is fighting up to end.

The battle of Cory against her physical cancer and the cancer of the Philippine society was not an easy one. It was a long painful bout but she took everything in stride with God. Yes, cancer took Cory’s earthly life but not her spirit. She remained a fighter, ever faithful to God. She remained loving mother and grandmother to her family throughout those difficult times. In the midst of her fight against the big C, she remained in touch with us in our advocacies, encouraging and challenging us to fight up to end. During the last days of her life, what made her more admirable was her ability to trust the will of God. Her last days were echoes of St. Paul’s words, “Who can separate us from the love of God? Trials? Sadness? Persecution? Even death cannot separate us from the Love of God.”

When I saw the long queue of Filipinos from all walks of life who wanted to see Cory for the last time, I must admit that what I saw was the Filipinos’ dream of having heroes or inspirations within us. Somehow the death of Cory challenges me to ask myself, how’s my life? How’s my dedication to my country? Am I ready to fight for our country?

When I think of Cory now, I don’t want to think of her as a cancer victim. Every time I remember Cory, it inspires me to trust God the way she trusted God. It inspires me to hold on to Jesus in the middle of my own storm. Cory was indeed a child of God and God is very please with her. Cancer my have killed her but she died healing all of us.

As I look back, Cory taught me how to trust the Lord with all my heart. Cancer had snatched away a hero from the Filipino people but not the wonderful legacy she left for us – Freedom. She is indeed the icon of the Philippine democracy. I will surely treasure her memories… forever grateful to the Lord that He blessed us with Cory… it was a short presidency… but her memories will last for a lifetime.

Cory … please do pray for us

- Fr.Willy M. Samson,SJ
Carmel Monastery
August 4, 2009

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