Dear Father Roca,
Exactly a week ago my family and I visited and attended Mass at the Santuario of Chimayo. I had heard of the healing stories of Santuario of Chimayo and wanted to visit it on our back to Colorado Springs with my mother-in-law. As I was drawn to the church grounds we found Mass was to begin and I just felt like we should go. I was especially drawn to you and on the spot asked God to Bless You during mass because I felt the peace and love that came forth from you.
My family had heard of the stories of great miracles of healing and I’m sure their prayers were for healing me of my walking problems caused by Multiple Sclerosis. My prayers were for God to heal me if that was his plan or at least heal me of the most troublesome problems and to protect my good leg from any damage. So now I will share with you how I view this affliction.
After Mass on Thanksgiving in 2006, my mother-in-law who was visiting asked our priest to bless me as we left. I just remember Father saying something about my suffering and I thought, "What suffering?" I consider this ailment a Blessing from God.
One day I was traveling with a co-worker and we were discussing my disease. He said that if this had happened to him, he "probably would look in the mirror and ask, ‘God, why me?’" I took a deep breath and felt I should explain how I felt to him. I said, "I’ll try not to cry while I tell you this. I consider this a Blessing from God because I have grown spiritually, have more compassion for physically impaired people and, if people try to help me, it brings out the best in them and makes them feel good." (This requires a great amount of humility of me to allow others to help me.) He said to stop telling him or he would start to cry.
I now freely share my story about God’s blessing if I sense that they need to hear it. So there was a great conflict as I sat during Mass at Chimayo; why would I ask for God to heal a blessing he gave me? So I leave it up to God to heal me if he is done using me for his purpose. I know God won’t give me more than I can handle.
I purchased your book and would never have guessed the little priest I just me had such an eventful life.
Thank you for your Blessing and I like you too. Pray for me that I serve God well.
2 April 2008
Dear Ms. Trotter:
Thank you very much for your letter of 2 April 2008, which I received this past week. You are most kind to share your experience of the Santuario de Chimayo with me.
Yes, many people seem to know some kind of healing, whether physical, spiritual or emotional after they visit the Santuario. Others do not, yet still treasure the opportunity to visit this sacred shrine.
In praying for all forms of healing, I believe, as you do, that we must pray first of all for God’s will for us again, whether that be for actual healing of some suffering, incapacity or loss, or for the strength and courage to bear that pain/loss.
You have, in addition, the gift of being able to see your affliction as a blessing from God so that you could grow spiritually and so that you now have more compassion for other people who are physically impaired. Two other gifts you seem to have are those of 1) openness to whatever God’s plans are for you and 2) your trust that God will not give you more than you can handle.
God bless you for sharing your gift with me and with others. I will continue to pray for you, that you may keep on serving God well and that you may always know God’s presence with you, no matter what physical health or ailments you have.
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Casimiro Roca, S.F.