Bishop Alvaro del Portillo: On the Road to Sainthood

don alvaro“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.

prayerThe 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.

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Reliving A Personal Miracle – God TRULY Answers Prayers

Let me tell you about a miracle I’ve had a few weeks ago.  I’ve posted this story before on my Facebook page, and I am telling this again, a longer version of the story, for other interested readers who believe in everyday miracles and how it can transform your life.  To friends who might have read that story and enjoyed, well this is the full length account of that story.

Months before my brother went to the hospital, I had already scheduled myself to attend a three-day retreat.  I had taken pains to save up for this event and file the necessary vacation leave at the office.  However, because of the workload at the office in that week leading to my brother’s checkup, I had to back out the last minute.

LAST MINUTE!  A day before my scheduled retreat!  Because of all the effort I made to get in the retreat, I felt pretty bad I wasn’t going after all because of a workload that I had to prioritize.  I had to call up the coordinator to cancel my schedule and sign up for another date.  That was in the morning.  I was sad about it but I offered this disappointment to God believing that there was a reason for that. By afternoon, I got my reason.  My mother accompanied my brother to the hospital to consult his eyesight which had grown blurred the past few days.  He never got out of the hospital and was ordered to take a complete physical exam.

Rushed to the hospital

During the course of the check ups, my brother eye was diagnosed to have a ruptured or damaged retina as a result of diabetes which he never knew he had.  Further exams also showed he had hypertension and a stroke.  It was a deadly combination of all of these diseases that had my mother and brother were detained at the hospital.  The cardiologist ordered an angiogram be done the soonest to check the condition of his heart.

Now my mother doesn’t have a lot of finances, ditto my brother who didn’t have a job.  They relied on me to help pay for the angiogram.  With the money I had from my paycheck, I paid for the angiogram.  The cardiologist gave us three possible scenarios: one was that the blockage wasn’t so bad that it could be remedied by medication; two, an angioplasty; three (the worst case), a bypass.  We were given a ball park figure how much it would cost.  I was praying for the first case scenario. I had given my mother a prayer card of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, St. Josemaria Escriva’s successor in Opus Dei who was about to be beatified soon.  I asked my mother to help me pray to him for help on the finances.  She said she would.

The results of the angiogram gave dismal news: a major vein was blocked which was why my brother had difficulty breathing normally (he thought the difficulty was because of his cough!).  But because he was young, an angioplasty was the way to go.  I said ok and the procedure was done after an hour.

And now came the hard part….

After the three day observation period, my brother would be free to go.  But then came the hard blow: the enormous bill!  I was completely stupified to see how much we had to pay, and because my mother and brother did not have any, my husband and I were expected to foot the bill.  How will we get that big amount money?

Now, my father-in-law had a friend who was very ill and whom we had extended some help in the past.  Despite her illness (she has cancer and a heart condition too), she helped me find a way to get financial support from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.  She, despite her illness, never left my side until I got the check.  It wasn’t that much, but if you get stuck with a bill that will keep you buried up to your neck, you’d be thankful with any amount.  Look at how a random act of kindness will go!

Still, we were considerably short.  Negotiations with the hospital had keep the amount controllable, but the fact is we couldn’t get my brother out without satisfying the bill.  Where else do we get the money?  I was getting depressed about it.

A Bible verse that seemed to “talk” to me

Now I’ve always had the habit of praying and choosing at random a Bible verse, leafing through the pages with my eyes closed and reading the verse where my finger points to. That particular day, April 10, was a verse in which Jesus asked a blind man: “What do you want me to do for you?”  The message was so clear!  Jesus was talking to ME and asking me what I wanted HIM to do for ME!

Down but not depressed, I wrote in my diary: “Lord, help me get my brother discharged already.”  This happened in the morning.  The picture you see below is the exact entry I wrote down in my diary.

The entry I had in my diary

The entry I had in my diary

I had forgotten it altogether when I received good news from hubby: “Your brother will be disharged today.”   The news came close to three o’clock, the hour of mercy!  God answered my prayer!

Truly, when you look with eyes of faith, you can never go wrong.  To our Blessed Mother, sweet Jesus, Bishop Alvaro, St. Pio and St. Michael (to whom my brother was a devotee), I praise and thank You all for helping us!