Year of Consecrated Life: A peep into the life of Friar Esmond Chua, OFM
At the recent Conversion Experience Retreat, we did the “Hokey-Pokey”. It brought back fond childhood memories.
Prior to that, it was watching my nieces and nephews enjoy the sights and sounds of fireworks at the National Day Parade in August.
Name an occasion you felt embarrassed or humbled.
The solemn profession of my three brothers and I was a humbling experience. Family, relatives and friends from all around came in large numbers. It was humbling because I did not expect such a crowd, considering it was a weekday (Friday), which meant them taking leave. Their support, prayers and enthusiasm were a very visible sign of God’s love.
Name an occasion when you felt God was far away.
When I took God for granted. I found myself “doing” (ministry, prayer, studies, etc) more than “being” His child. It was then I began feeling as if I was “missing” God that I knew I needed to take a step back and remind myself to “be” rather than “do”.
What do you like best about being a Religious/consecrated person?
Giving myself to the service of building God’s kingdom. I find this manner the most life-giving for me because I am able to avail myself of the promptings and movements of the Spirit through my superiors.
What are the usual distractions in your prayer? What do you do about them?
Dozing off during meditation time. To keep myself awake, each time I catch myself about to nod off, I would refocus on the scripture passage or on images around me.
Pope Francis calls for a Church of the poor, for the poor. How do you live that within your vocation?
By living simply, such as not wasting food, recycling, etc; by not being part of the “use and throw culture”; by being grateful for whatever I have instead of desiring what I don’t.
Favourite book or author?
Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life”. Practical steps to live a life of purpose with God. Jason Evert’s “Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves”. It reminds me that even unfortunate events are in God’s control and that He holds my tomorrow.
Fu chuk (a type of bean curd), durians and seafood.
What do you normally do to relax?
Jog. It’s a time to appreciate and enjoy nature. It also reminds me of the reality of life and not lose touch with people’s struggles as I see them waiting at bus stops and squeezing into packed public transport to get to work early in the morning.
What do you like doing most when you are with your biological family?
Eating! Especially food that I miss. (Nothing can beat Mom’s cooking). In the act of eating together as a family, we catch up on life and how everyone is doing because my family resides in Kuala Lumpur.