I am in Our Lady of Peace Hospital, on the Coastal Road, and it is really 3:00 a.m. The planes coming and going from the airport are roaring over my head.
Everything is peaceful and quiet. Even the roaring planes add to the feeling of peace and quiet.
I am ten days away from my 93rd birthday. God has been kinder to me than I deserve, giving me such a rich life, in such a beautiful country, among such gentle people. He has blessed me with so many kind, affectionate, generous, loving friends.
I found that the best time for me to write was at 3:00 a.m. My mind is clearer, my heart is warmer, and I am overwhelmed with the goodness of the people God sends to me.
In this column I have always tried to be positive – presenting the goodness of people, and the wisdom of God’s Providence as I saw it.
I have tried to give. . . . . To give the only thing I have to give. . . . Myself. I have tried to share my thoughts, my feelings, the wonderful holiness that I see in the simple, gentle people that God sends to me.
As soon as I came to the Philippines I realized that the Filipinos were the loveliest people in the world. It was a gift of God, a special blessing, that He sent me here.
I have been thanked for giving my life to the Philippines. . . . . But whenever you give, you always get back more than you have given.
• for your gift of friendship through these many long years
• for reading “At 3:00 A.M.” from the time I started writing my column
• for your reactions through letters and phone calls when you liked or did not like what I wrote
• for sharing your stories which inspired me to write them so that they could inspire others
• for your love and concern
• for your prayers which comfort me and which I need.
I have tried to be a priest. A priest is a bridge. . . . a bridge between God and man. . . . . . A channel of God’s love, peace and joy.
What I have found in the Philippines is union. . . . . union of hearts and minds. . . . It is marked by sharing. . . . . The simple, gentle Filipino is willing to share all he has, with everyone.
That is holiness. . . . . That is sanctity. . . . . . That is being like God.
In heaven we will all be one – united in heart and soul. . . . . Loving each other.
In this column written at 3:00 a.m. that was my only message. . . . give. . . . give yourself. . . . . love.
And when I presented this, I discovered what it meant, myself.
Being strong, sometimes, means being able to let go. I know that now is the time to “let go”. I have been up at 3:00 a.m. to write my column for many, many years. It is now time for me to stay in bed until the sun comes up and the birds start to sing.
This is not goodbye. Wherever I am, whatever I do, you are always in my heart and in my prayers. All of you.
The song is ended. . . . but the melody lingers on. . . . and on. . . and on.
I love those who have read this column. . . .And I hope that they love me.
* * *
For those who are interested, here is my prayer that I would like to share with you.
Look down upon us, this day, this hour.
Regardless of what has gone before,
or what will come after,
give us the grace to consecrate this time entirely to You —
all the actions of our body and soul.
May all the thoughts that come to us
May all the things to which our hearts go out
be beautiful, with the beauty of God.
May all the things we want be good.
Give us the light to see Your Will,
the grace to love it
and the courage and strength
to do it.
We ask you this through Christ Our Lord.