God never promised you a rose garden, archbishop tells priests
“What happened to that zeal when we were first ordained? Where’s that joy?” Archbishop William Goh asked priests on June 11.
At least 100 priests and Religious attended the Day of Prayer for Sanctification of Priests at St Joseph’s Church (Victoria St).
The three-and-a-half hour event comprised spiritual input by the archbishop, Holy Hour which included Benediction, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Mass.
During Archbishop Goh’s input, he spoke about how St Paul thought about the love of Jesus and this made him want to give up his life for God.
Just like how St Paul gave up his life to serve God, we as priests “also want to give our life for others”.
But “this depth of experiencing God’s love is dependent on our own unworthiness of His love”, he added.
Many priests have a “wounded heart”, said Archbishop Goh.
“We get hurt. We are angry. We are bitter. We are resent-ful.”
“As if Jesus was always understood. As if He was truly appreciated,” he pointed out.
“God never promised you a rose garden,” he said. “The call of priesthood is also to suffer.”
“Many of us are carrying woundedness in our hearts. If we don’t acknowledge our woundedness, then no forgiveness can take place,” he said.
So “if you really want to be an effective priest, make sure that your own wounds are healed before you help others. If not, you will hurt them.”
In order to be an effective priest, “don’t just spend time with the Divine Office. Don’t have a shallow prayer life. One hour is not enough,” said Archbishop Goh.
“You must spend time everyday to preach. Preaching comes from deep prayer and it will make you more enthusiastic” when spreading the Good News, he said.
“You must also minister to the wounded,” he said.
“When you personally heal the wounds of others, it will help you know the love of God.”
Holy Hour, Benediction and the Sacrament of Reconciliation then followed.
Priests were seen confessing their sins to fellow priests, while nuns and laypeople also approached priests to confess their sins in the main church hall.
Archbishop Goh in his homily during Mass reiterated what he said earlier. He also said that “we need to regain our priestly ministry through preaching, teaching and governance.
“But we are the worst in governance as we are not meant to be CEOs. We don’t live in the corporate world.”
He ended by suggesting that “we can get the lay people to help us in administration so that we can focus on preaching and ministering.”
At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Goh thanked the Religious for their prayers and support. He also gave special thanks to Fr Andre Christophe for playing the organ during the celebration.
Special mention was also given to Fr William Lim, who attended the Mass despite being on medical leave.
By Lorna O’Hara