I was ordained priest 21 years ago last August 22. I, therefore, intend to write something about me and my priesthood in reference to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
If I will give a definition about myself as an ordinary person, I would say that I talk a lot about things that I see, about words I happen to hear, about people who are a part of me or under my care, and I talk about the realities and situations of life in this world. Some are good and some are bad. Some experiences can inspire and some can only give you regrets and even make a person hopeless. Well, that is part of life… there is always the so-called ups and downs.
Just the day before my 21st Sacerdotal Anniversary, I was asking myself whether or not to celebrate that occasion. I even posted something about this in my Facebook account. I know and I am aware that I have a lot of reasons to just lock myself inside my room, maybe to pray and reflect, and just do away with the people who may want to greet me. The devil inside me is telling me not to be happy on my sacerdotal anniversary, but rather to be ashamed that I have done numerous things unbecoming of a priest like me. Yes, guilty as charged, I have never been a good priest and I even accuse myself to be a wayward priest! So, why should I celebrate it anyway?
But I will not let this little devil win! If I have a lot of reasons NOT to celebrate, I also have more than enough reasons to celebrate the grace of priesthood! I was ordained as an ordinary human being just like anybody else and I am a normal person with equally normal tendencies just like those ordinary guys out there. I can be angry and I can feel sorry for someone’s misfortune. I know how to pray fervently and I also have committed numerous sins which may have prompted our Lord to cry because I have wandered far away from His love. I had been a traitor to my priesthood and I broke all the promises which I have made during my ordination. I am human, but I am also a priest. A priest who was handpicked by God himself from among the many other men who also wished to serve Him but never got to the altar for their ordination as priests.
Why me? Well, right now, I have no clear answer to that question. I have talents and skills and I know that my mind is not below “sea level” and with these, I can really be a priest. But there are a lot of other guys who are better than me in all aspects. I do believe that the gift of the priesthood is a grace from God and it was really meant for me. I have said yes to Him when I was ordained but, up until this time, I have not accepted yet the fullness of that grace. I am still struggling to make my priesthood and the human in me become alive in just one person.
I cannot separate my priesthood from my being human. I must admit, though, that I believe it will take a lifetime before I realize that dream to make myself and my priesthood become one in me. I need your prayers for this intention because I do not have the luxury of time to make this happen. I am not getting any younger and my “health grades” are getting higher that my academic grades.
My personal outlook in life sometimes goes against the measure of what is accepted, of what is legal, and of what is convenient. A lady friend once advised me to stay out of the line of fire so I will not get hit by the stray bullets. Well, it was given as a friendly advice but I just realized that, over and over again, I have not really listened to her sisterly concern. She would always tell me to just keep my mouth shut and never mind what is happening around me for as long as it does not affect me directly. Sorry folks, I am not that type of person… I will always say what for me is morally right and proper and I do not really care where it ends. I may end up in jail, I am aware of that, but who really knows? Maybe my ministry as a priest is needed in that lonely place where misguided people are kept.
Now, I will just do what I need to do as a priest and I will always believe that all those things, good or bad, are part of His plan for me. I will just surrender myself to His will and accept all the challenges that lie ahead. I am a priest for a reason and it may be that the kind of priest I am today is the very reason of my being a priest. Not all priests are fast-drivers. Maybe I drive fast so I can bless the road that I pass through before other people pass them by. Maybe I openly talk about issues, not minding who is on the grind, because not all priests have the guts to do that. Maybe God gave me friends who are powerful so I can tame them when they get addicted and attached to their money and power. Who knows really?
I will always celebrate my ordination anniversary because my being a priest is one of the best gifts I ever received from God! I will no longer think about those bad things that I have done because my God is a forgiving God. I will no longer entertain thoughts about leaving the priesthood because this is the life to which God prepared me for. I will no longer be ashamed that I have done shameful things because God chose me to be a priest for His own purpose. I may not be aware right now as to what that purpose may be, but I am sure that I will understand His choice to appoint me as His priest when I get to enter His kingdom. I am hopeful that I will be part of it because I tried to follow Him down to His cross as a priest.