New Carmelite priest Fr Edward Lim says lessons he learnt as a doctor could be useful in his priestly ministry
Recently ordained Carmelite priest Fr Edward Lim gave up a promising career as a doctor to answer the call to the priesthood.
The 39-year-old was ordained by Archbishop Nicholas Chia at the Church of Christ the King on Oct 15.
Speaking to CatholicNews a few days after his ordination, Fr Lim, a convert, said that the call to the Religious vocation had always been there, and he wanted to answer it.
The prompting came after he was baptised as a teenager.
He had read a lot about Carmelite nun St Therese of Lisieux soon after his baptism, and was attracted to her spirituality, and to silence and prayer.
He approached the Carmelite nuns and received encouragement from them.
However, as he was still young and needed time to explore the Religious vocation, he ventured into medicine as he wanted “to be able to heal [and] help people”.
He said he enjoyed speaking to his patients and being with them. “But I realised too that what I can do is also ... limited,” he said, adding that his patients had much to teach him themselves.
There were lessons Fr Lim said he learnt as a doctor which could be useful to his priestly ministry, such as the realisation of the fragility and uncertainty of life, how people are more important than science, and being able to multitask and stay focused.
Fr Lim joined the Carmelites in 2005 after completing his bond with the government.
But the journey towards priesthood was not without difficulty.
There were times when he questioned himself about what he was doing and the “meaning of it all”. There were other sacrifices such as “financial deprivation, enforced life in the monastery…contacts with friends and family had to be kept low or even minimum, having to travel overseas for studies”.
These questions lingered even before he took his solemn profession.
However, with the help of his spiritual directors and friends in the Religious life, he was able to maintain his focus, he shared.
The most difficult part of his journey was joining the Religious life without the blessings of his non-Catholic parents who could not accept his decision.
“So I just packed my bags and left,” he said.
“It was very difficult for them and also for me because there were many things that could not be said, or were not able to be said at that point of time.”
Nevertheless, his parents attended his ordination.
“Well it seems as if they are [accepting]…but they never said so. But I suppose by them being present, it meant a lot to them and also to me,” he said.
Now that he is a priest, he said he prays that he would be able to “show what God wants me to show to His people, to ... communicate His love for His people in the way I think He wants me to”.
Fr Lim says he still hopes to still be able to work as a doctor but not on a fulltime basis so as not to affect his priestly duties.
By Darren Boon