Sacerdos in Aeternum | Rev. Fr. Rommel Molina Arcilla:

My Greatest Regret

I know I am a normal human being in every aspect. I made good decisions in life and, just the same, I have made a lot of bad mistakes and I am pretty sure that you all know that. Of course, the usual excuse is, because I am just an ordinary human, so prone to commit mistakes and even those sinful ones. But I do not feel comfortable with this fact of life even if it is true to almost everyone. I know I have to rise up and get past from all these false excuses.

I wonder how a policeman will feel if his loved ones were harmed while he is trying to protect somebody else. I wonder how an electrician will feel when, after fixing the electric connections of many houses, he will go home to his family in the dark because he has no electric connections yet. I wonder how a lawyer will feel if he can save an accused person from imprisonment and failed to stand for the rights and liberty of his own family. Well, I am sure they will never feel good and they may even end up in misery and deep regret because of their own failures.

In my life, there is one failure that really affected me so much. It was in March 25, 2014 during the time when I was serving overseas. I went home to attend to my dearest Mama who, during that time, was diagnosed with a Lung Cancer. It was on that day that I was told to report to the satellite office of the company that I was working with, and the office was located somewhere in Pampanga. Before I left the house of my sister in Quezon City where my Mama was recuperating, I asked her if she wanted to confess her sins. She said yes, but she will only avail of the sacrament if another priest will hear her confessions. Looking at her, I did not think that it was her last day on earth. So it goes, she died and I failed to hear her confessions and failed to even give her the Anointing of the Sick.

I had travelled almost every road of this island province, the good ones and the 3rd class rough roads, mostly to attend to the spiritual and sacramental needs of people whom I do not even know. Yes, I know that it is part of my duties and obligations, to attend to their needs, but how on earth can I miss giving the same services to a woman who labored for nine long months just to give birth to me. A woman who sacrificed a lot just to send me to the seminary and be ordained as a priest. After all that she had done for me, I failed to make her avail of the sacraments during her last moments on this earth. How can I forgive myself for this world-class failure?

I tried to forget it everyday by drinking too much alcohol and now I got the first prize which is diabetes. I tried to cover up my failure by doing things unbecoming of my status as a priest. Sorry for all those mistakes and bad decisions. I was just trying to pretend that I am fine even if, deep within, I was so broken, sad, and full of regrets. I even thought that I will never be able to find my way back into the grace of God. Thanks to the support of our Bishop and my brothers in the ministry, the Virac Clergy.

We are not perfect and we all know that. So, we feel sad and regretful and even mourn over some things that we may have missed along the way. Some of those mistakes we may have done intently and with our full knowledge and consent. It is true that we can be really submerged deep down in our sinfulness and carelessness. But it is also clear to us all that, situations like these, can never be for keeps. We must always decide to rise up again, even if we keep on falling down, the decision must always be there. With the grace of God, I am sure that we will end up victorious in the journey of our life.

As of this writing, July 14, 2022, my Mama is celebrating her 78th birthday. She is no longer with us, but I believe that she is still looking after us, her children. Now, for her birthday, I want to make her happy and I want to give her I gift, which I know, is very hard for me to give. The gift that I am giving her is my decision to forget about my failure and hope for the grace of God to fill my life as I serve Him as a priest. I know my Mama will be happy now because, with this, life will be different for me especially regarding my service to my parishioners.

One thing more, in just a matter of days I will be turning 50 years old. I want to show off that gold not only in age but in reality. So, please pray for me, hoping that all these wishes will not remain as wishes but a reality for God’s greater glory.

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