Ben Cubillo, a 70-year-old member of St Martin de Porres community in Darwin, tells his story with tears of joyful gratitude towards the Lord for the gift of mercy.
Ben’s mother was one of the Wadjigan tribe from Bulgul, between Daly River and Darwin.
His dad’s father was Filipino, and his dad’s mother was from the Larrakia tribe. He married in 1957 when he was only 20. They had a son, and then four daughters. Early in his marriage Ben allowed the grog to get the better of him.
He says: “The abuse of alcohol turned me into an irresponsible father and husband which also changed my whole personality… I became a person full of hate and bitterness. I was quarrelsome, and always putting people down and blaming others for my mistakes.”
When the marriage failed Ben was devastated. He became severely depressed and traumatised. All his feeble attempts to be reconciled to his wife were to no avail. He was so emotionally unstable that he was admitted to hospital for a few weeks. After being discharged he found it very difficult cult to cope with life, and had suicidal thoughts.
At this lowest point Ben was invited to a Life in the Spirit seminar at St Martin de Porres parish, which he knew nothing about.
On the night he arrived two priests were hearing confessions. Ben went to the Sacrament for the first time since he was a child.
He says: “God touched me with his mercy. He turned my life around when I least expected it.” After confessing his sins to the priest, Ben then went to some people to be prayed over for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
He can’t remember exactly what happened, except that he had to be assisted back to his seat by those who had laid hands on him.
He recalls: “It was as if I was in a trance.”
Over the next few weeks, he says, “I experienced feelings I had never experienced before in my life… they were feelings of peace, love, happiness and an overflow of joy… I believe I was touched by the Holy Spirit and I experienced a glimpse of the glory of God…”
From being a baptised Catholic who never went to Mass, Ben now found himself inwardly compelled to go to Mass daily for the next six months. He developed a deep love for the Eucharist.
Every time he received the Lord in Communion he would find himself weeping. At first this worried him, but others assured him it was simply the ongoing healing of the Lord.
Ben grew in his love of the Lord, and developed a personal relationship with Jesus in prayer. He found the grace to forgive his wife, and all others who had hurt him in life.
He says: “I thank God that it was only through his mercy, love and grace, that all my immoral faults and bad habits faded away. I stopped blaming my wife for our break-up, and owned my own responsibility for what had happened.”
While Ben and his wife have never come together again, there is forgiveness and friendship between them. These days Ben’s greatest joy is to make music to the Lord with his guitar during the Eucharist at St Martin’s.
Many remark that there is a touch of the Divine anointing on his music. It has the sweet quality of amazing Grace.