My name is Aristeo Mata. I am 27 years old, currently residing in Mandaue City, Cebu. I was raised by two wonderful God-fearing parents, Arsenio and Amelia, who brought up myself and my older brother Agustin in the faith. We had our fair share of ups and downs in our life, but the deepest struggle we faced as a family was when my mother was diagnosed, and subsequently passed away after a bout with cancer in October 2021. As a momma’s boy through and through, it was a difficult moment in my personal life. My mother was who I shared everything with, my hopes, my dreams, my hurts. She was also someone who encouraged me to pray the Rosary every day and to always find time to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Suddenly she was gone and it was just us three to pick up the pieces and continue on in life. For a little while, everything was going great. Life seemed so upbeat and we certainly felt that everything was on the upswing. Until February of this year, my father abruptly passed away the day after Ash Wednesday. The man who inspired me to love and serve the Lord with so much passion and fervor was now suddenly gone. These two experiences left me with so much pain and confusion. Some of this pain I still deal with to this day. I sometimes find myself asking God why He would allow this to happen. There was still so much more that my parents were supposed to witness. They never even got to experience the joy of having grandchildren.
But by the grace of God and the beauty of the faith, I felt in my heart of hearts that there was so much more to life than all my questions and regrets. As the old saying goes “When there is life, there is hope.” In the midst of all of this pain and anguish, I felt the Lord’s embrace through the very things my parents had bestowed upon me. As a way of coping through my father’s passing, I started frequently visiting the Blessed Sacrament and praying the rosary daily. I also decided to be active again in service in a Catholic charismatic community that my parents had brought me up in. Through these steps, my own path of healing had begun. This, along with the help and prayers of many friends and family, I finally felt a sense of calmness and peace. But more importantly, I felt a renewed sense of Hope. This Hope wasn’t simply for better things to come in my own personal life, but it is a Hope that stems from placing my complete trust in Christ’s promise of the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life (CCC 1817).
This Hope wasn’t simply for better things to come in my own personal life, but it is a Hope that stems from placing my complete trust in Christ’s promise of the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life (CCC 1817).
Many of us in this world are facing different forms of pain or anguish. Whether it be the pain of losing a loved one, losing your job, going through a messy break up, or whatever it may be. May we find solace in the fact that Jesus sees us, he has experienced this pain with us, and he is journeying with us every single day. I hope and pray that this would encourage those reading this to draw themselves closer to Jesus through prayer. And not in a way to simply pray away our problems. But by drawing ourselves closer to Him, we will slowly find the happiness that comes with being close to Jesus in our journey towards our heavenly home.