Tita Cory’s Life: One Big FIAT
For many weeks since June 25, 2009 when the announcement that Tita Cory had been brought to the Makati Medical Center because of loss of appetite, the dailies carried this line: "Tita Cory fighting for her life!". I have known Tita Cory for many years now and I can safely say the contrary: Tita Cory has never fought for HER life. She fought for us. She fought our battles for us. Tita Cory’s battle cry was not "Fight!"
Her battle cry was "Fiat!". Let it be. For God. For country. Let it be. The fiat of Mary who allowed God to do wonders in her life even if it was beyond her understanding and her comfort. The many battles she had been invited to fight and her yes to the Lord’s invitation were always for others’ lives. She never fought for her own life. She fought for others’ lives. She fought for us. The selflessness of this woman has given her the strength comparable to that of David as he fought the giant Goliath. Her strength does not come from modern weapons or artillery. Her strength comes from her connectedness to God and the love she has for the Filipino people.
Her "fiat" is what also made her freely surrender her life. She had died a hundred deaths already. Facing the ultimate death was not difficult anymore.. When she gave up a normal family life in favor of Ninoy’s political career, a part of her had died then. She laid down her life when she gave up the privilege of enjoying her husband’s constant company because Ninoy was jailed by his political rivals. A simple life as a homemaker, a role she truly enjoyed, was sacrificed when the Filipinos clamored for her to be the President of the Philippines. Oh what a reluctant President, she was! Tita Cory was such a private person. She was thrust into the limelight as President and this must have caused so much dying from within. The private citizen Cory was now a public figure, constantly under public scrutiny. When her term had ended and she was private citizen Cory again, she had to cut this retirement short because she had to join the rest of us in the streets to stand up for democracy. She could have very well just sat back quietly and enjoyed the comfort and the numerous accolades she had already reaped. All these sacrifices did not seem complete. When diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2008, she chose to do chemotherapy for the sake of her children, grandchildren and certainly for the sake of the Filipino people who she knew were praying and counting on her to live longer as the great icon of democracy and faith.
What then can we say to you now, our dear Tita Cory? We say a resounding THANK YOU. Thank you for fighting for us. Thank you for teaching us how to live for others and die to yourself and your preferences for our sake. In the hospital, I witnessed the greatest irony. Those of us who had the privilege of visiting you, heard the constant refrain from your lips, "Thank you!" you repeatedly told us. After all this you even thank us for the opportunity to fight and die for us. In our heart of hearts we whispered to God to take away your pains and give them to us. Tita Cory, we were willing to suffer instead of you. That is how much we love you!
Perhaps we will not see a woman leader as great as you for a long long while. Nevertheless, move on to heaven, dear Tita Cory. The battle is over; the victory is won. Move on to heaven and be with your beloved Ninoy, forever! Heaven is where the two of you will die no longer. When in heaven, I know you will see my beloved Cardinal Sin. Please bring to him our love and with him pray to God for our cherished country, the Philippines.