Through this piece, Sir Erbert V. dela Resma allows us to access the internal struggles he experienced in a recent life crisis, and his realization how God’s all knowing presence can help soothe the pain. This, he attributes to the guidance of our beloved Saint, Don Bosco.
There was this one time when I gazed at this eerie picture of Jesus. He is looking straight and He is serious. Not angry. Not smiling. Just serious. What was eerie is that, wherever you turn or go, Jesus’ stare follows. It’s as if He is telling me “I see you. I’m watching.” No wonder the picture was given the name, “the Eye.”
“God Sees You”
I first learned of this statement when I was in grade school at Mary Help of Christians School, here in Canlubang, Laguna. Our teachers told us that Mama Margaret taught Don Bosco, then a little boy, the saying “God sees you.”
However, recent events in our life as a family taught me that God does not just see things. He does not just watch. He joins. He goes along. He participates. I learned that just last November. Mom had her longest sleep which started November 9 and lasted until November 17.
During those times, we were anxious and very worried. Although we were busy trying to manage things for her, we were very much afraid. As we were waiting in fear of the unwanted, we were praying. Praying that whatever it is that we were afraid of will not happen. We were praying that God would give us one more chance to be complete as a family, just one more chance.
But as the days went on, we were lead to praying that whatever happens, we will all be ready.
The days that passed became days of preparation. We were made prepared for the inevitable. The process was very painful because we had to wait and watch mom suffer in her sleep. It would have been easier for me if she could talk. At least we could get some response. At least we could make her respond. It would have been easier. Or so I thought.
But then again, we felt we were being prepared. Mom’s favorite people started coming: from her long-lost friends and then-workmates, to all of her friends from the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians here in Don Bosco College. And from the time when mom was brought to the central ICU until she was finally transferred to a private room, the moments were filled with chit-chats and prayer moments. (And even the ICU sounded like “I SEE YOU.”) Those were days when God watched – He watched and was fully present. He knew our inner stirrings: our worries, our anxieties, our fears and our unwillingness to surrender everything. And he understood. He even felt with us. And, I might have guessed, He even cried at our tired-and-sleepless-silence. He was watching. He was never far. He was with us all the way, through the people He sent and the other interventions that happened.
Mom had her longest sleep and it ended early morning of November 17, Sunday, when she finally woke up in heaven.
I would believe now that what Mama Margaret really meant when she told little Johnny “God Sees You” was that God IS WITH you. He watches. He sees deep. And He is never far. And I also believe that this is what Don Bosco also meant when he developed the Salesian Presence and the Salesian Assistance. God sees you. And He does so with the help of the Salesian priests and brothers, and the teachers when they go to the Bosconians during break times and assist them. Maybe join their games, laugh with them, and even help them pick up trash here-and-there. At first I thought of Salesian Assistance purely as a task and a workload. But now I fully realized its main point: God sees us. God IS WITH us. He joins us. He goes along with us. He participates in our activities. He assists us. He does not judge, but He surely makes us better. I realize now that He has called me to be the same for the young.
Erbert V. dela Resma is a Salesian Educator in Don Bosco College – Canlubang. The family is actively serving in the Diocesan Shrine of Mary Help of Christians as members of the Choir and Music Ministry, the Knights of the Altar, and the Lectors and Commentators Ministry.