Albert Francis E. Domingo, MD

my flight of ideas

On the Third (Working) Day

Posted on | August 22, 2008 | No Comments

The Medical Board Exam was one sure way of testing your emotions to the limits. For four days after the last day of exams I, along with my classmates, friends, and now colleagues from across all the different medical schools languished in the uncertainty of fate. But GOD in his goodness did not forget us. Rather than rely on fate, he taught me to have FAITH.

On the eve of the first day of exams, on that same night when the Olympic torch was lit in Beijing, China, text messages of encouragement came in droves. One particular message that struck me reads thus:

“My child, you’ve done your part in this fight and now it’s time you rest and take a break. Trust not only in your own capabilities but in ME fully. I AM with you always, have been so from day one up to now, and I can feel your worries, fears, and uncertainties. Drop them and take My Hand… I won’t leave you until it’s over. You’ll make it through the board exam. All you have to do is to BELIEVE. With ME, nothing is impossible.”

Another said:

“Reach up as high as you can today, and God will reach down the rest of the way. After months of preparation, it’s finally time. Good luck and God bless.”

Now I am averse to passing on forwarded text/SMS jokes or quotes. I however took exception to the above two and passed them along to fellow examinees. We needed the morale boost that night.

Part of my preparation in terms of prayer included a trip to Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan, along with visits to the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (aka Pink Sisters) in Tagaytay and to the Parish of St. Jude near Malacanang Palace. Perhaps God above smiled through it all, looking at me tormented and running about desperate to offer the most prayers at different earthly shrines dedicated to Him.

It was all an exercise in medical knowledge, but for me it was also a test of FAITH. Everything became spiritually significant and imprinted on my mind and heart.

I could not forget one Sunday’s homily wherein the priest-presider emphasized that what we routinely say before communion: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” The homilist said that healing in this case was only one of infinite things that God can do for us. What is important, he said, is that God only has to say the word.

On the Sundays of the Board Exams, I felt the Gospel to be quite relevant. Maybe it was also because Fr. Francis Gustilo, our regular priest of the 5:00 pm Youth Mass, is a very good homilist.

On August 10, the first Sunday in the Board Exam period, the Gospel was about Jesus walking on the water and Peter coming out of the boat to join Him. A part of it reads thus:

“And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’

After that first weekend of exams wherein Anatomy reared its difficult head, I felt that I was also already sinking. I was crying out repeatedly: Lord, save me! Now that the results have come out, the next line to the above paragraph touched me at my very core:

“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘O man of little faith, why did you doubt?‘”

It is really humbling how God makes himself felt during the most trying times of our lives.

On the second Sunday of the Board Exam period, specifically last August 17, the Gospel was about a Canaanite woman who, in spite of the cultural boundary set-up distinguishing Jews from non-Jews, persisted in asking Jesus to cure – from a distance – her daughter who was tormented by a demon. Jesus tested the woman’s sincerity and even rejected her initially:

“But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ And he answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.'”

I could feel that like that woman in the Gospel story, I was desperate specially after that Surgery Exam that seemed to come from hell. The Canaanite woman did not relent in her prayer:

“She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.”

There again is the scriptural reference to what we always say before communion: “only say the word, and I shall be healed”.

Now I feel that this coming Sunday (August 24), the Gospel again applies to this chapter of my life. In the upcoming Gospel, Jesus will ask:

“‘Who do men say that the Son of man is?’ And [the disciples] said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli’jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'”

I feel that God is also asking all of us Board passers now, as he did when he asked again his disciples:

“But who do you say that I am?”

I would like to answer that question now, as Simon Peter did:

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

THANK YOU to everyone who joined me physically and spiritually in this journey. Congratulations to my colleagues!

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