Today I was graced to visit Friar Phil. Over the past couple weeks of my summer assignment I have visited Phil six or seven times either while in the hospital or at Francis House. Here is essentially what Francis house is from their website "Francis House provides a home and an extended family to people with terminal illnesses so they can die with dignity and experience the unconditional love of God. Our mission is carried out in two houses located on Michaels Avenue on the north side of Syracuse, New York."
It is difficult for me to describe what it was like to visit Br. Phil this last before I leave to go to San Antonio and most likely the last time I will ever see Phil alive and well. It was a moment of grace, blessing, learning, and God's power. Yesterday I visited him with Fr. Jeffery and today I visited him with Fr. Linus and I was nearly crying as I heard Br. Phil speak. To hear a man who's life is being cut short by earthly standards (aka my standards) be filled with such "joy and peace" at the last weeks of his life is awe-inspiring.
Friar Phil told us the story about when the doctor informed him that his cancer was worse than originally thought and that it was terminal. He described the conversation as envisioning three doors: Door 1 - Chemotherapy, Door 2 - Radiation, and Door 3 - Hospice/End-of-Life Care. When he heard that it was Door 3 in which he would be walking through he said that this was the door he wanted. Upon entering that door he has only felt "joy and peace." I wish and long for that sense of "joy and peace" to be so confident in God is utterly amazing. I am teary-eyed just writing this post. I hope and pray that I too can be as trusting and as reliant on God as Phil is when I approach death and in each day. There is nothing more than I can say except "Peace and all good things to you and to Friar Phil."
Peace be with you!
My name is Nader Ata. I am a Conventual Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of Angels Province, USA. I am a transitional deacon preparing for Priesthood Ordination in the fall.
Seeking to live with Franciscan Joy each and every day!
*All of photos on this blog were taken by me unless noted otherwise. Please ask permission before using them. Thank You!*
*Also I am not the greatest speller or writer in the world, so please let me know if something is misspelled. Thank you!"