Is this a foretaste of missionary life? Did God answer my prayer before?
Actually it is my desire and I prayed for it even. I am now a missionary in a foreign land where I am of service in my own little way.
It was over ten months ago when I was seeded on the ground of the Celtics. As I was newly planted, I experienced a lot of challenges. I exerted much effort in adjusting to the new environment because it was totally unusual; it was totally different! This is for real. There were lots of hesitations. I was too young. Questions started to pop out. Will I bear fruit here in Ireland? Will I make it to the end of my pastoral year? Fears and doubts crept in. But holding on to the faith that I am not alone gave me inspiration. God is with me and that is for sure. And certainly he brought me here, planted only to bloom later on.
It was through my “openness” that the new horizon of my entire being appeared before my eyes. It was my openness that helped me open the seed coat so that leaves may come out. I must not be afraid; I should take the risk in the name of love and service for others. Thus, I remember Jesus when he once said: “Do not be afraid.” In this pastoral experience, I learned to open and empty myself so that God may enter in. He serves as the inner voice reverberating from within. As the prophet Jeremiah would say: “Don’t be afraid of them for I am with you and will rescue you” (Jer. 1:8). This led me to total surrender. Now I am resolved, I was planted in foreign soil because God knows I have something to give.
Indeed, it was not easy to be with other people, to deal with different life situations. It was not easy to be in a mission. But, openness and surrendering are the way which led me to maturity. It is God who is in control.
When I was planted here I learned to appreciate their seasons – summer, fall, winter and spring. It is actually close to the reality of life, especially my life: the summer season reminds me that God’s grace is overflowing. His love is strong and constant. Wherever I go during this time all is green, green which calls my attention of the constancy of God’s never-ending presence. The season of fall is the constant challenge of pruning to gain fruit eventually. This I equate with the challenges I had in my exposures which actually took me out from my comfort zones. The season of winter reminds me on the other hand of the times that I want to quit from my journey because of losing hope. Probably, because of loneliness I am confronted with most of the time. However, God sends white flakes from the skies which actually bring joy. They are people and events who guided me along the way. Spring comes next. New life has to come out. Like the daffodils and tulips starting to flower and the trees buds started to come out. A new beginning!
Planted in overseas land, I bloomed in spirit at the same time. With so much joy, I have to go back from time to time to the very source which is Jesus in the Eucharist – the source of my joy and total self-giving. As St. Peter Julian would say: “Return, return to the source: Jesus in the Eucharist.” Thus, I am very thankful to those who helped me become a better person and good religious of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
Admin note: Br. Renoir Oliver is a professed scholastic of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Province of Our Lady of the Assumption (Philippines). He is now on his 4th year of theological studies at San Carlos Seminary, Manila, Philippines.
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