By: Fr. Santo Andreas, CM
When I was studying in the junior high school, during the Easter holiday my friends and I joined the priest of my parish visiting a village. The village name is Riyoi and my priest of parish was Father Sabbas,CM. Oneday in the afternoon, we went to the village by a car. Two hours later we arrived at the other village and had to wait for the other car to bring us to the village. We waited for two hours but the car didn’t show up. Finally, Father Sabbas said to us: “I think let’s do the walking.” When we heard that, some of us didn’t agree, it was still far, and we had to walk for 15 Km. So, with reluctance we all agreed with Father Sabbas’s idea. We walked for 3 hours again and arrived at Riyoi at 20.00 pm. When we arrived there, some of villagers welcame us and brought us to their home. We took a bath and had dinner together and after that we all went to bed room and went to slept. But, before we slept I asked Father Sabbas some questions like these. Why did you want to walk this far away? Why did you not wait for tomorrow and rode a car, so that we didn’t feel tired. But he said to me: “Do you know that, I am a priest and it is my responsibility as a priest to visited and to strengthen them so that they can be loyal with their faith to Jesus Christ. It is just a little problem for me, becoming a priest is a choice, and that is my vocation to serve God by serving one another. We are called to serve, remember it!”
From that experience, I realized about the values of life. That is to serve with love. As Father Sabbas told to me, I think that is very true. When people have problems they feel they are powerless. Everyone has a responsibility in his/her life. Becoming a teacher, farmer, seller, laborer are all the same, it involves responsibility. The choice to become a priest is a choice to be a servant, the servant of God who serves others in love. Especially becoming a priest of the Congregation of the Mission, the purpose of the Congregation of the Mission is to follow Christ evangelizing the poor. The spirit of the Congregation of the Mission is a participation in the spirit of Christ himself, as proposed by our holy founder St.Vincent: ”He sent me to preach the good news to the poor”(luk 4:18). Everyone thinks that it is enough to help the poor financially. In the first, we must know the kinds of the poor. Many people think that being poor means not having money, houses, good clothes, cars ect. The meaning of the poor in this era is more than that, the poors are not only the ones who don’t have those materialistic things. The poor can be the one who needs attention, affection, and love.
St.Vincent has given us examples how to serve and love poor people like we love God himself. St.Vincent told us: “The poor people are our masters.” Why did St.Vincent said so? Because God presents in the life of the poor and he said: “What we do for the poor people, we do for God.” We know that is not easy to do. But, if we really realize and live in the spirit of the St.Vincent our holy founder, I believe we will be able to serve each other like we serve God himself. St.Vincent has handed it down for us the 5 virtues to remind us to have a spirit loyalty to follow God. They are humility, simplicity, meekness, mortification, and zeals for souls. I give thank to God because I can know the poor people better from HOM (hari orang miskin) program. I know I can not help them by giving them money, but I believe that, becoming their friend and stay with them for a while will give a little color in their life . I learn more from them about the virtues of life. Many people just talk about the poor people but just a few of them want to do somethings for the poor. They are merely objects. I realize some questions in my temptation, do I really love them like I love God? Affectively? All that I can do is giving myself with all my heart. Maybe just come, sit, chat, and hear their story. Sometime poor people need someone to listen, and to appreciate them.
In them I find true happiness although they live in a very simple way. But, they can laugh and give thanks to God. On the other way round, many people are not satisfied with what they have, in fact many people desire to have more and more. In them I find humility inspire of the fact that they run a very simple life. In them, I learn how to be grateful to God by their words and actions. For example, when I met my HOM friends on every Sunday, I often hear they give thanks to God, although for just simple things. From that all, I can say we learn more of the poor people. So, the important question for us, what can we do to participate in their life? in reality, we do not evangelize them but indeed they evangelize us and we must learn more from their life. So, we must remember that and save it in our hearts “we are called to serve”, to serve each other especially for the poor because God presents in the life of the every human being.
Happiness seems small if you just keep it in your hand but when you share it you will realize how big and precious it is