St Ezequiel Moreno y Díaz

Bishop (entered heaven this day in 1906)

Dear Zeke,

I can almost hear the tremble in your voice as I read over your note.  I wonder if it’s from excitement, or nervousness, maybe a little fear, maybe all of the above?  I know you have been looking forward to this day for a long time. Going off to college is one of those milestones in life.  You have a whole adventure ahead of you, a whole four years of unknown, sure-to-be-fascinating encounters, experiences… I know you’re nervous about the atmosphere on campus.  You don’t need to worry. If you keep your priorities straight, the Holy Spirit will give you the wisdom and fortitude you need to avoid the many, subtle, and deadly traps of sin.  Above all, trust in God. He is not a stranger to this adventure – not at all! You may not be able to see the whole picture, but he does, so if you stay close to him, you won’t go wrong.

If you look at the life of today’s saint as an example, you can see how from the world’s perspective following Christ makes no sense, but from God’s perspective, it makes perfect sense.  Ezequiel followed his brother into the Augustinian Recollects Order in Spain. He was shipped off to the missions in Manila (in the Philippines) soon after. He was ordained there, and served zealously as a military chaplain and a self-appointed missionary to the native peoples who had yet to learn about Christ.  But he fell ill; fevers forced him to take a parish position back on a larger Island, and eventually he was sent back to Spain to be prior of his old convent, where he could form the hearts and souls of future missionaries. When he learned of an initiative to reform the convents in Columbia, however, he volunteered to go, and set sail with six companions.  

Upon arrival, his first goal was to recover fidelity in the existing convents, but his presence, his zeal, and his example soon launched him into another, unforeseen phase of his apostolic career: he was made bishop.  He served in two dioceses, tirelessly watching over the physical and spiritual needs of his flocks, and suffering calumny, humiliation, and opposition (even from other clergy) all the while. Still he longed for more suffering, to be more like Christ.  He got it. He came down with cancer of the nose. The case was horrendous. He refused to go back to Europe for an operation, not wanting to leave his flock untended, but eventually he was pressed to do so, and he went back home. Subject to a series of difficult operations, he always refused anesthesia, wanting to suffer more, in union with Christ, much to the astonishment (and deep edification) of the doctors and nurses.  Nothing could heal him, and he returned to his home convent to die in peace, content that he had been found worthy to suffer something for his Lord.

Not much to show for such a life in the eyes of the world, but now he has been honored for all ages by the Church, and, even more importantly, he is with the Father in the heavenly mansion, in a place of honor that time will never tarnish.  I don’t know where your new adventure will lead, but if you stick close to Christ, I can guarantee it won’t spew you out at a dead end. Keep in touch.

Count on my prayers, Uncle Eddy

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