I am entering into a time of reflection during the pandemic, after the reopening of our Church with regards my priesthood. There has been several times in which I have asked the Lord in my prayer the why Lord you have chosen me with all the defects and weakness I have. Most of the time, the answer is embedded in the question: I kind of hear the voice of the Lord telling me “because of your weaknesses, I chose you”; that is something that reminds me of the words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2, Cor 12,9. I have been questioning myself about my priesthood during this challenging times because I have been more by myself with the Lord. I felt impotent when I was unable to be physically with the community, when I had to celebrate the Mass by myself or in front of the camera without the community. I really missed the People of God who where at home waiting for a moment to come back. Now that we are back, sometimes I am feeling that I am not doing enough. Most of my prayers are questions to the Lord. Most of the time I end up my prayer with a prayer of thanksgiving. I know that the Lord is guiding me but sometimes I refuse to listen to the Lord.
This week, I heard from a fellow priest some words of comfort: “I did not choose the Priesthood, the Priesthood chose me”. How important is to understand and feel by heart that is the Lord who shape my live as a priest. Often times, I neglect my relationship with the Lord; either I keep busy or I entertained during time of leisure and I am not able to contemplate the whole picture and the miracles the Lord has performed in my life. Most of the time I take things for granted and I do not value the wisdom that comes from the Lord. This is not a confession from my part, but I am putting in writing my struggles and how merciful the Lord has been with me. When I was a seminarian, I had many obstacles starting with some members of my family who did not understand my calling including my dad. With all the internal and external obstacles, three years ago, I was ordained a priest. In my unworthiness even today it is difficult for me to believe that he called me to be a priest and that his calling for this vocation is eternal. In my failures and my lack of faith the Lord has been great. He is the one who has lifted me up when I am down. He is the one who has helped me to lift fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering in this valley of tears.
When I see many people (either virtually or in confession) anxious, depressed, angry or sad for the consequences of the pandemic, I ask the Lord for his wisdom. When I am preaching, I invoke the Holy Spirit to help me say what the Lord want to say. Lately, I have met people even online or for confession who are struggling with the social unrest and their political views on top of the pandemic. I am called to be a good listener and I would like to be really present in everything I do. I get distracted easily and I always pray the Lord to help me to be focus and disciplined. Sometimes I think that would be better for me to be a monk because I love solitude, but I see to the needs of my people and I want to keep serving my community even with all my weaknesses. I would like to share an article published couple of months ago; August Turak explains what monks are doing everyday to make sense of seclusion and isolation with a purpose. I highly recommend you this book in which Turak, a lay man, explains how his encounter with a monk helped him during his middle-life crisis, something that I experienced last year.
Finally, I want leave you with a question. What is the question you most ask the Lord in your prayer? You are part of my journey; I appreciate your comments.