“To become saints in the midst of ordinary living”, this is the message carried in the hearts of all admirers and followers of Saint Josemaria Escriva. As a faithful witness to the genuineness of the apostolate of Opus Dei, another soul was raised on the road to sainthood, who is none other than St. Josemaria’s first successor, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo. More than a week ago, thousands of members of Opus Dei all over the world anxiously awaited the beatification of Bishop Alvaro in Madrid, Spain. Those who missed watching the beatification in Channel 13 or EWTN can watch it on You Tube.
I came to know Bishop Alvaro through a prayer card I received from a dear friend. Among circles, he was known to be good with finances and project implementation. He was known to be St. Josemaria’s chief executor, such that the good saint would always run to his aid when he wanted a project done. This simple anecdote started my blossoming admiration and friendship with Bishop in the recent months I’ve become acquainted with him.
A Prayer Card was All That’s Needed
When my brother was confined to the hospital this year, I gave a prayer card of Bishop Alvaro to my mother, explaining to her that “this person needs to become a saint”. My mother graciously accepted this and prayed on the card as my brother stayed in the hospital for more than a week. Through his confinement, we were advised that my brother needed an angioplasty, and to do this big money was required. Going home without the procedure was simply out of the question for me; I would have chosen life any time. But after gathering all our family savings, we were still short of the funds needed. I gave the cardiologist the thumbs up even as we were still thinking were to get the rest of the money. All that mattered to me was that my brother took the procedure, which he did so successfully in God’s mercy. I kept moments in prayer at the hospital chapel. I asked for Bishop Alvaro’s intercession.
The bills started coming after the procedure had been done. My brother was advised to stay in the ICU for observations while I was racing to get additional funding. God’s mercy truly has no end! A friend whom I religiously kept praying for learned about my brother’s convalescing after the angioplasty and offered to help me find additional funding. This person whom I had extended help in the past came to help me! What almost seemed amazing to me was that this person was also terminally sick (she is still battling cancer to this day), but she made all the effort to help me get additional funding.
But still the bills were coming in as my brother had to be detained in the hospital. As I looked at the outstanding bill, barely had a finished whispering to myself “what now?” when I heard an interior voice tell me “try again”. Immediately as I heard this, I worked on the figures again to organize the priorities. Now this was not a mean feat for me. I abhorred Math in my youth, and although I am quite comfortable with it now I still avoid it like the plague. But when I had done making a few computations, I began to have a clear picture of what I should do. One after the other, the bills were settled until we were finally discharged.
To this day, I can only attribute this help to the intercession of Blessed Bishop Alvaro. And this is my personal testimony of his guidance and attributes.