Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It is faith that made you well-Father Fernando Suarez

As I have narrated in my testimonial,I did not see Father Fernando Suarez personally. But it is my faith in God thru his prayer which did.

This confirms my belief.

‘I am not a healer’

By Willy E. Arcilla, Contributor

THE AWARENESS and popularity of Canadian-based Fr. Fernando Suarez has been soaring in recent weeks as increasingly more Filipino faithful and Christians worldwide attend and bear witness to his healing ministry at which the disabled walk, the visually-impaired see, the deaf hear and the mute speak. There are patients with cancer and other diseases who are cured. Yet, despite a cult following that seems to rival local celebrities, Father Suarez remains admirably humble, insisting that “I am not a healer” amid persistent labels as the “healing priest” or “miracle priest.” Raising his voice somewhat to emphasize the point and ensure that all can hear clearly, “it is not me who heals, but our Lord Jesus Christ, and He uses me merely as an instrument for His grace.” He draws an analogy to Christ’s healing power with “water passing through one’s hands.”

During a healing mass held recently at SM Megamall’s Trade Hall, Father Suarez repeatedly said in his homily, “I feel so embarrassed whenever people reach out to touch my robes,” again emphasizing it is God’s omnipotence that heals both the body and spirit. But despite this self-effacing attitude, he urged all the faithful present “not to feel embarrassed in praying for compassion and healing” for all afflictions — physical or spiritual — for nothing is impossible with God. He explains that the miracles people see or personally experience are demonstrations of God’s love that serve to help strengthen the people’s faith. If the source of all evil in this world is pride, manifested in being self-centered and an egoistic “ownership” of one’s accomplishments, he says the source of all good must lie in being “Christ-centered” and complete abandonment and surrender to God. “If we rely on Jesus, we will not be disappointed based on His promise that He will not fail us if we trust in Him.” However, while he urged all brethren to implore good health and a fullness of life with total confidence as children of God, he also admonished that God wants “holistic healing,” and not just “partial healing,” including the healing of one’s heart and conversion of one’s soul. He went on to pray for the moral illnesses and social injustices that bedevil the country, specifically the graft and corruption plaguing government and the wrenching poverty oppressing millions; for the deepest divisions to be healed and discrimination of all forms banished. In offering a reason for why God does not seem to answer all our supplications, he said perhaps “sometimes, what we ask for may not be good for us.”

In an interview prior to the mass, this writer asked Father Suarez if he can share what God tells him in his personal conversations during private moments of prayer, to which he replied, “God says He loves me, and He is happy with what I do in sharing the gift of healing with all the faithful.” This writer later learned that Father Suarez interacts, touches and prays over each and every person in all of his healing services — regardless of how long it takes or how exhausting it can get.

Before an audience consisting of the sick and the curious, the faithful and the skeptics, captured on digital cameras and video recorders, shown live on closed-circuit TV and later on nationwide TV, Father Suarez performed his individualized healing ministry on thousands, moving constantly and laying his hands on the old and the young, many of whom rose from wheelchairs and spontaneously shared poignant stories, testifying to God’s goodness through Father Suarez.

When this writer asked Father Suarez what he would like to tell the millions of Filipinos who may have desperately wished to attend his healing sessions, but cannot because they are preoccupied with earning a living or do not possess the means, he says reassuringly, “God heals in different ways, so we must all believe in his goodness. While it is God who heals, it is faith that saves.” Fittingly, Father Suarez reminds us of the gospel passages when Jesus brings back to life a grief-stricken father’s only daughter, and a woman suffering from years of debilitating illness touches the hem of His cloak, in which He says “Take courage… your faith has made you well.”