The first and the most valuable asset that any living being has is that of “life” itself. Breathing seems to be a very passive and effortless activity but it is the most important activity of every living being. If one stops to breath, we know that they are no more. Human beings are the only breathing creatures that God gave free will. This means that men and women can choose what kind of life they would like to live. However, every choice that a man or a woman makes comes with its full measure of responsibilities and demands. These, if not well understood and undertaken, can cloud all the joys that comes in the package of life.
In Mathew 19: 11-12, Jesus, responding to the astonishment of his disciples about the demands of marriage, tells them that not everyone can accept the teaching and that indeed, there are some who are eunuchs by natural causes, others have been made so by people and yet others have made themselves so for the sake of the Kingdom of God; here we underline the “Kingdom of God”. These are celibate men and women who have chosen not to bring up families of their own in the institution of marriage, but rather to bring up many more families for the kingdom of God. Here I will quickly add also like Jesus, that not everyone in our times can understand this kind of life either. For some it is madness of the highest order and for others an impossibility that breeds hypocrites. Well, not everyone can understand this.
Just as the life of matrimony needs to be spiced up everyday and the “I DO” said on the day of the wedding need to be revitalized everyday for the marriage to stand against numerous storms, so also is the life of those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sack of bringing souls of many to the Love of God.
The last one week a group of Divine Word Missionaries from Kenya-Tanzania Province, went up “Tabor Hill”, a retreat center in the Northern part of Kenya, to recharge the batteries of their apostleship. The retreat was preached by Fr. Xene Sanchez, A Philipino Divine Word Missionary working in DR. Congo for more than 30 years now. It was a wonderful quiet and reflective moment for every participant to rekindle the very “first motivation” that led them to choose this kind of life. This Fr. Xene reffered to as “The First Love” quoting the book of Apocalypse chapter 2, the letter to the Church of Ephesus, whereby the recipient of the letter is being exalted for the dedication and perseverance in the ministry of the Kingdom of God, yet being at the same time reproached for having abandoned his “First Love”.
For any Priest of religious person to remain faithful to the mission given to them by our Lord Jesus, he or she cannot afford to forget the very “first motive” for which he or she felt the urge and the conviction to devote their entire life to Serve God in His people.
It was indeed a wonderful opportunity to rejuvenate our energies so that we may find fulfilment in our mission whether we fail or succeed, because the measure of righteousness is not in terms of successes of failures but rather the faithfulness of the individual person to his or her call.
We want to thank God for the golden opportunity and Fr. Xene for his wonderful insights.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD.