The Good News
Father Eduardo had to cough again and knew not to care how remotely comical he appeared having to lower his Gospel book and turn to his sink to spit out what his coughing was well, forcing him to get rid of.
Having cleared his throat, Father Eduardo continued on by again opening his red Gospel and reading before his laptop. Today is the Feast of Saint Bernadette and Father Eduardo had made sure he would be up to give the Liturgy and his sermon. Saint Bernadette is his favorite Saint and he was in no way going to let a little congestion persuade him from honoring Bernadette and her visions.
Later came the best part, the Litany and the Consecration of the Host. Father Eduardo always made sure to remember to think of the Blessed Sacrament as 'new' each time the Holy Sacrifice is delivered back into his hands. How he loved praising: " Through Him, With Him, In Him, In the Unity of the Holy Spirit! All Glory and Honor Is Yours Almighty Father, Forever and Ever!" and even contributing his own harmonized: " Aaaaaaaamennnn!" this all was so joyful and Eduardo hoped was joy for those viewing his private Mass on-line.
Of course, having to use his handkerchief and blow his nose was no joy or even a fun act for Father Eduardo and he found himself having to endure this inconvenience all throughout his celebration this morning making the rites move along rather a bit longer than other mornings. Father Eduardo hoped by the end of today his sniffles and stuffed nose might heal or improve.
A call came in to Eduardo's phone at 12:36 p.m. when he was unsure if he should have some lunch or not. A little stress coming from the fact he had sat down some feet from where he had set his phone last; back in the kitchen.
" I am...I am my own worst enemy." Eduardo had to shake his head at himself when walking with his cold feet to his phone just in time to pick up at the fourth ring: " Good afternoon, Father Eduardo."
" Good afternoon, Father. This is Sarai from Doctor Anton's office wanting to remind you of your phone in appointment with the Doctor tomorrow, okay?"
" Oh yes. I did forget. I will tell Doctor Anton I have become very..ill with some congestion."
" You have. Do you need antibiotics?"
" I might."
" Well I will tell the Doctor to write you a prescription. Do you have any other issues, fever or anything? Are you suffering from the flu?"
" Oh dear, I have been staying up and not sleeping and having headaches and just feeling miserable for days and nights."
" Well sir, please get some rest and your appointment call with Doctor Anton is not until tomorrow morning at eleven a.m. okay?"
" Thank you. I will mark that down."
" No Reverend, do not even do that. Get some rest."
" Thank you. I will."
Father Eduardo told the receptionist 'bye' before she hung up and he was saved from having to hang his phone up. He was now free to just carry his phone with him while he eased his way to his bedroom to remove his white and blue vestments that he tried not to think he looked so favorable in. Father Eduardo knew he was to represent or glorify God in his robes and certainly not himself.
Once having changed into some thinner, more comfortable clothing, Father Eduardo went ahead to do as he promised to the nice receptionist: get some rest. Knowing this would require some assistance on the part of Heaven, Father Eduardo brought his blessed Rosary with him to his bed. This Rosary is a gift from Lourdes and gives Eduardo the connection he loves with Saint Bernadette and more importantly, Our Lady of Lourdes. Father Eduardo prayed to Our Lady and Saint Bernadette to sustain him and protect him from all temptations and from his sickness as he tried to focus on sleeping.
Sleep was what Eduardo was next blessed with. Whenever he actually did sleep some nights or days, Father Eduardo would only allow himself at most four or five hours. Seeing how ill he was, Eduardo slumbered for a long ten hours allowing himself and his under the weathered body to heal and recuperate.
Eduardo was trusting in the safeguarding of the Blessed Mother but all the Communion of Saints as well. Still, Eduardo dreamed that night and like all his dreams since before and during this pandemic crisis, Eduardo has had dreams of very disturbing images.
There Father Eduardo sees himself in his dream. Just now rising out of his own body. Of course, Eduardo is still only dreaming this so he believes he really has left his body.
And outside his body Eduardo now must look with his sight for what awaits him. Will it be the Savior, the Mother of God, the Spirit of the Lord? He is not too surprised by how there is darkness everywhere his spirit wanders yet this darkness should not stretch on forever, oh please, Eduardo thinks by faith, darkness is not all there is.
He is scared to take another step and decides to turn around and look at his dead body one more time, but will it still be there? It is not. Now Eduardo is a spirit with no where to go. Nowhere. He can only wander around forever.
Eduardo wakes not leaping out of his nightmare or screaming loudly. He simply open his eyes to his beautiful and reassuring image of the Immaculate Heart and her smile. It is enough to dampen his eyes and cast away the terrors the dream had just sent his heart. The time felt like close to the next dawn. Eduardo wanted to get out of bed and sing a hymn, at least one. He really did feel too tired to move, so he just stayed as he was.
By eight the next morning, Eduardo felt so rested. He woke again refreshed and even with his cold doing so much better. His nose was less stuffed and his cough would come up only so often. He first felt like getting out of bed with just enough vigor and when he wanted to have motivation for his showering it entered him freely.
Eleven a.m. rolled in as Eduardo sat in his living room chair all feeling orderly and patient waiting that is should Doctor Anton call as scheduled. Eleven thirty came with no call on his cell phone and this is when Eduardo's noble and easy patience shifted to a driving anxiety. He was quick to stand up out of his chair and pace around his home until the Doctor called. As he paced, Eduardo could not help but tell himself: " Be patient for nothing."
The phone rang. Just before Eduardo was entering his bathroom.
" Father Eduardo. How are you? This is Doctor Anton." The rest of the call went well, almost too well. Doctor Anton wasted no time telling Father Eduardo he tested negative for the virus. Eduardo could not believe what he was hearing. He thanked the Doctor with such sincerity it made Doctor Anton laugh.
Earlier, after blowing his nose, Father Eduardo read the Gospel, the Good News for the day:" While he was still speaking, a man from the ruler's house came and said, " Your daughter's dead, do not trouble the Teacher anymore. " But Jesus, upon hearing this, answered him: " Do not fear, only believe, and she shall be well." And when he came to the house, he permitted no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James and the mother and father of the child. And all were weeping and bewailing the child. " Do not weep, for she is not dead, but sleeping."...the Gospel of the Lord."
" Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ." Eduardo answered with the due praise then bowed his head to the Gospel book careful this time not to kiss its golden pages mindful of the condition of his health.