Doing God’s work to the very end
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison () - March 14, 2003 - 12:00am
Last Friday, I wrote about our only daughter Joyce, 38 years, eight months and sixteen days old to be exact. Today I write about her again after the Lord in all His goodness and mercy has decided to call her into His bosom four days ago. I cannot help but write about her again after being overwhelmed by the touching accounts of those who walked with her in her short journey on this earth.

Hearing those poignant reminiscences gave me a feeling of great joy and extreme gratitude to our Lord for the precious gift of a daughter He had sent. I found myself unable to hold back tears as I go down memory lane recalling the pleasant moments we had together. The more I dwell on them and on the sharings of those whose lives she had affected later on when she joined Opus Dei, the more I learned of so many other facets in her life, and her virtues, which all these years remain unknown to me simply because she did her work not to gain the applause of the gallery but solely to please God. "Lets do the work of God to please Him not to please anybody else. In this way we will never go wrong", are the words which one of her sisters in Opus Dei remembered having heard from Joyce as she tearfully recalled their times of working together in the Opus Dei.

All the inspiring stories I heard about Joyce tell of her love for what she had set out to do, big or small. And she literally gave her heart and soul and all her strength into all of them. She loved to work for the sake of others so she loved life and had the extraordinary zest for it until "time is up". The badges she wore expressing that love were a friendly smile and a caring and compassionate heart.

Being stricken with cancer may have slowed her down but she did not stop working for the Lord. She must have been undergoing a lot of pain but she tried her utmost not to show it. She maintained that gentle look and friendly smile in her face even in the most trying situations. During my almost daily visits to her, I came face to face with the "cross" and learned how to take it up in peace and joy, and follow Christ. Truly, she continued to bear witness to the gospel teachings of Christ even from her sickbed. She brought Christ closer to us and to many others who came to know her.

Her concern for others much more than for the unperceived but real pain she was undergoing, is so remarkable. It may be the single and most overwhelming reason why my wife and I and her brothers will miss her so much. Last September, I was confined in the hospital for a quadruple heart by-pass. At that time, she was already sick, in wheelchair, and in such a physically fragile condition. But she took care of me and stayed with me in the hospital during the operation and thereafter. She would wake up in the middle of the night just to find if I was comfortable. Later on, she would constantly remind her mommy and me about our scheduled check-ups and the prescribed medicines to take. Greater love than this no daughter had than to take care of her parents when she herself was already afflicted. That was Joyce: when she loves, she loves all the way; and when she works she works all the way, offering the last ounce of her strength up to the very end.

Her many friends and co-workers in Opus Dei and those whose lives she had touched extend congratulations instead of condolences, saying that Joyce has earned her place in heaven. We fully agree with them. But in our bereavement for the loss of a loved one, the congratulations seemed momentarily incomprehensible. Until we realize that Joyce cannot go to heaven without dying first. Until St. Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei fully eased the lingering traces of grief in our hearts with his comforting words that "God takes good care of His flowers and waters them and only cuts them when they’re at their best, in full bloom. God take souls to Himself when they are ripe."
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