Last week on Sunday, I was blessed to attend a local pilgrimage in passing through the holy Doors of Mercy at the Church of St Vincent De Paul. It was for me a reminder of God’s mercy and the extension of mercy as a gift to a friend and the people of the writing community as well.
Both of us attended mass and most importantly went early for reconciliation. It was one of the better reconciliations because the priest really spoke to me deeply. How true it is that we are to always turn to Jesus who can forgive, and I can always choose to turn away from sin. It resonated with me as the priest took time to speak to me and assure me of God’s unfailing grace.
The gospel reading was about the sheep – us, Christians, and Jesus, our shepherd. The reading says,“Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish”(John 10:27-30). Jesus knows each and everyone of us. He knows our longings and our shortcomings. The question is “Are we listening to the voice of the world or to Jesus?”
The voice of Jesus guides us in unexpected ways in the situations of life such as through difficult relationships with people. More importantly, it guides us to discern our vocation in our life. There are many options that we can choose from such as single-hood, married life, religious or priestly life. Each one is special because it entails responsibility and there are crosses that we must carry which is inevitable.
Walking through the Doors of Mercy, I felt the silence of the church and the deep realisation that everyone including priests deserve mercy and protection. I know that because priests might have one of the more challenging vocations; they face so many different types of people everyday, and all parishioners seem to have expectations and requests. The priests are the ones in church activities, the passing of someone or at joyous occasions such as weddings. Just like anybody else,they have 24 hours in a day and yet it is the challenge of carrying out their duties well before the end of the day.
The vocation discernment process is a journey that never stops.By embarking on the journey, we are not alone as we encounter people on the journey. They can either bring us closer or further away from God. I feel that I can show people the bridge that connects God and man as its easier for them to cross the bridge. I do not know if it is weakness but I always put people first before me.
Like a shepherd, Jesus watches over us and cares for our needs first. It is comforting and a pleasant experience to know that even though we might be lost sheep, the shepherd will always guide us to be by his side once again. If I cannot do it, God can do it which is why we must always follow Jesus because he knows the right way to eternal salvation.
It is without a doubt that life is no bed of roses and the only hope that I experience is to live to see another day and see the morning light illuminate the curtains in my room.
Prayer to St Joseph for Priests
O glorious St Joseph, who, on the word of the angel speaking to you in the night, put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home, show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests. Protector of the Infant Christ, defend them against every attack of the enemy, preserve them from the dangers that surround them on every side. Remember Herod’s threats against the Child, the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night, and the hardships of your exile. Stand by the accused; stretch out your hand to those who have fallen; comfort the fearful; forsake not the weak; and visit the lonely. Renew the hearts of priests to have a deep love for the Eucharist: that they may build, through the Eucharist a unity among communities that is based on your love. Strengthen Christian families, that we may lend support to those children that you have called to your ministry. Continue, Lord, to send laborers to your harvest so that the evangelical challenge of our time may be fulfilled. Like St John Vianney, may young people of today make of their lives an “I love you” in the service of their brothers and sisters. Amen!
May we continue to keep our priests in prayer and for the young to answer the call to the priestly or religious vocations.
Ps: Thank you Josephine for the spiritual package, the prayers and readings really did help me throughout the week, God Bless!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong