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Pain and Loss

By: FR. FRANCIS ONGKINGCO November 16,2018 - 09:40 PM

There wasn’t enough space to properly settle down in the cemetery.

Luckily, there was no one visiting their beloved relatives close to my grandparent’s grave.

Ed, as though he were in the beach, nonchalantly unfurled the mantle over a number of gravestones and proudly planted the umbrella like a flagpole.

[GRUMBLE!] His stomach excitedly said as Ed opened the picnic basket, laid the food, distributed the utensils and sat down.

We tried our best to huddle under the umbrella’s shade, since it practically could only cover Ed.

[GRUMBLE!] This was perhaps his tummy’s last plea as Ed started gobbling the sandwiches prepared by his wife Natalie.

“Have some, Fathu!” He dragged the basket towards me.

“Thanks Ed, I’m sure Natalie’s sandwiches are going to be great!”

“Ye bet, Fathu! Sides, she said it will help me lose some weight.”

I rummaged through the basket and took what looked like a homemade quarter-pounder (only double that size).

“Lose weight?” I eyeball-rolled at him jokingly.

“That’s fer dessert, Fathu.” He laughed as he grabbed another sandwich.

At this point he surveyed the cemetery and with a pensive look said, “I guess, when we die, we don’t haft ta worry ‘bout eatin and drinkin, right, Father?”

“Yep,” I replied as I munched on a ham and cheese sandwich.

“But what do the souls feel, Father?”

“Actually, they can’t feel because spirits can’t feel like we do,” I said.

“Isn’t there a pain of sense and loss?” Ed clarified as he fished out another sandwich.

“Yes, but pain here is more spiritual than physical, Ed,” I opened a can of beer discretely so no one would notice.

“How can the soul feel when the body is no longer there to feel for it?” Ed said.

“Wow! You still remember the catechism classes I gave you before your Baptism. At least it was useful for something.” I laughed.

“Well, that’s mostly what I can recall for now,” he scratched his balding head.

“We can’t really say how they feel. But even now, we can experience things that are not felt by the body but deeply affects the entire person.”

“Like what, Father?”

“Take for example, sadness, longing for appreciation, joyful fulfillment and more. These experiences that are more spiritual than material,” I emptied my can of beer.

“But isn’t there some sort of fire that will burn or purify you?” He wiped a torrent of sweat from his face with an already drenched towel.

“There is no way of knowing exactly what that fire is, Ed. But somehow, God may allow the soul to suffer this spiritual fire, either to purify those in purgatory or to punish those in hell.”

“I’d rather have the pain of sense than of loss,” he remarked.

“Indeed, for the realization of having lost heaven forever, makes the soul suffer in an infinitely indescribable way. At least those in purgatory are filled with hope that after the torments they suffer, they will be able to enter heaven.”

“Just the thought of eternally regretting something I could have temporally done here on earth makes me shudder, Father.”

“I know what you mean, Ed. But that’s precisely the mystery of our freedom. St. Augustine once said that two loves built two cities, the first, self-love – the city of man, and the second, love for God – the city of God. So, our life’s destiny is pretty much in our hands, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.”

“Can we go straight to Heaven, Father?”

“Sure!!! But it depends on our choice to already purify ourselves here on earth, so that we needn’t queue in purgatory.”
“Oh, yeah, like prayers, making penances and stuff like that, right?”


Ed reached into the picnic basket again. Suddenly, he paused for a second and gently withdrew it emptyhanded.

“Not having another sandwich?” I smiled at him.

“Nah! Maybe next time, Father. I’ll save that one for Heaven.”


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TAGS: loss, pain

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