Photo by Mark Joseph Mariano

Photo by Mark Mariano

By Genesis Michael Zion C. Pacete

I walk through the halls of the hurt and the broken. The groans of the bleeding desperate for attention are deafening. Here, silence is a luxury. Every corner is filled with the injured and dying. There is no room to spare. Even the stench of the wounds of people, long untreated, occupies the remaining space. The air is thick and the atmosphere heavy. 

How quickly can change catch you off-guard?  This place used to be the residence of the affluent, a club for the proud and elite to gather — a palace teeming with aristocrats who flaunt their bright colored costumes, expensive jewelry, and vast accomplishments. Now, it reeks of distress and bankruptcy. Where have the attractive lounges gone? The fancy furniture, polished floors, and elegantly adorned walls are things of the past. No, not even one suite is left. Everything has been reduced to cheap wards, available only for the impoverished and undesirable.

Despite the place being filled with flaws and horrid conditions, its imperfection is slightly overshadowed by a subtle but amazing transformation. Each person– the hurt, the broken, the bleeding, the injured, the wounded, and the dying –departs restored and full of life from this place. The smile that paints their faces is beyond comprehension. It is as if genuine joy and peace have overflowed from the depths of their souls. How is it that the sick come out well and the broken mended? Gone are the days when this was just an exclusive establishment for the boisterous and extravagant to enter, expecting happiness but only leaving full of sorrow and emptiness. 

Where is this? Ah yes! Such a place exists in the realms of my unconscious state.  How I have desired so long for this fantasy to turn into reality: a home for the orphans, the abused, and the homeless; a shelter for the drifters, the poor and abandoned hopeless; a haven to feed on and drink from a favor-never-failing, where the hungry and thirsty receive a daily supply of hope and an abundance of grace; and finally a secret refuge for the chronically-ill to discover that mercy is the cure and forgiveness a medicine. This is my dream– somewhere for a lonely drifter like me, to reach a sanctuary to rest and as a dying man, to find a place where love is the healing and the healer is my Lord. This is the real Church.

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