The Good Shepherd and My Vocation Story

jesus-the-good-shepherdI am the good shepherd…I will lay down my life for the sheep (John 10:11, 15)

These are the words that caught my attention as I reflect on the gospel yesterday.  Seeing the connection of these words into my life, I cannot but refer it in my vocation story since it was also the celebration of the 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations yesterday.  As I do my very best to connect the words that made me reflect yesterday into my state as a religious soon to be priest; allow me to share to you my vocation story.

When I was a high school student, I don’t have any interest on priesthood.  My dream was to become a Chemical Engineer and get off my parents from poverty.  It’s normal and common to dream big like this especially when you came from a poor and underprivileged family.  So, during my high school days I study hard and really did my very best to pursue my dreams and not lose my focus.  In order to be self-motivated, I always say to my self during those times that I should never give up in achieving my dreams and goals in life which will serve as a means for my family to have a better life.  But, everything has changed when God suddenly intervened as I am chasing my own plans, goals, and dreams in life simply because He has a better plans, goals, and dreams for me.

I entered in the seminary out of curiosity.  At first, I don’t have any intention to pursue this kind of life because I just want to try it and find out the mystery behind the walls of the seminary.  But then, the mystery that I am searching for inside the seminary is the same mystery that made me like the seminary and continues the journey that I have started.  Now, I just have two years left before I become a full-fledge priest.  As time passes by, and as I continue this journey I realized that God calls me to pursue his dreams, i.e. to make me an instrument of love, hope, and empowerment for the people.  He made used my dreams to see his dreams in a bigger picture.  He used my miserable situation to be a wounded-healer for those who are also miserable and underprivileged like me.  As I ponder these things, I cannot but say these words; “It’s a tough and challenging call, but providential.”

Revisiting my vocation story I asked myself; “Why He called me in this kind of life despite the fact that I am a sinner and I am not worthy?  Why He chooses me among those who are the best, the most intelligent, the most pious, etc.?”  Simply because, He trusts me and He used my vulnerabilities for establishing a message that His call and love is not just for the righteous but for all.  Hence, He is a good shepherd; a shepherd that is ready to lay down his life for all of us.  It’s the same thing that the Lord is challenging us to do, i.e. to be a good shepherd for others especially for those who called by God for priestly and religious vocation.  God pastured me as His sheep in my seminary formation; now, he challenges me to do the same, i.e. to pasture the people who longs for love, hope, and empowerment.  It’s really a challenging task, but with the help of God nothing is impossible.  Henceforth, the message of the good shepherd is not just only for us who follow His path, but for each and every one of us.  To be like Him is a universal call that all of us must consider because we have the responsibility and the duty for our brothers and sisters who are longing for love, hope, and empowerment.  Let us also include on our prayers that Lord of the Harvest may always send good and holy laborers in the Church.  Also, include me in your prayers that I may be a good and holy laborer of God in his vast Harvest.

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