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STAND ERECT AND RAISE YOUR HEAD

(Reflections During the MSP Annual Retreat November 23-27, 2015)

Allow me to use this biblical phrase for a reflection from the gospel of St. Luke 21:28. It depicts a picture of people who are about to experience various kinds of terrible calamities and think that the world is about to end. Jesus says and I quote: “Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” What a beautiful encouragement from our Lord that each person should listen to! The Lord knows exactly what to do when there are extraordinary events that take place on earth, and are beyond one’s capacity to control, to apprehend and to counter act. One has to let go of the fears and let God be the One to handle the irrepressible situations. Thus, we really have to trust in Him and be hopeful that everything will be in good hands with our Loving God. After all, God is more powerful than any worldly tribulations and mightier than the workings of the devil.

As an outcome of the clergy retreat which I attended, I want to have my personal self-assessment - to be able to respond to the following questions: Have I grown spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally as an MSP priest for the past one year and a half? What factors have sustained me to remain in the priestly ministry?  These are some of the significant questions that trigger me to review and assess my past as a priest and identify the factors that have kept me in this vocation up to this time.

My answers to these questions are: “Yes, I have grown gradually as an MSP missionary priest, fully convinced of my chosen vocation. I learned a lot from my various missionary assignments and more importantly, I have developed this spiritual disposition and habit of trusting and believing in God amidst problems, difficulties, trials, and challenges that come along my missionary endeavor. My faith in Him inspires me to think that while standing still, God has been my true source of strength in times of typhoons in life. I may get tired easily and be affected with life’s problems sometimes, but it does not mean that the Lord is tired. Thus to stand erect, to stand still and to raise my head implies that I get my source of strength and energy from Him. His overflowing grace and love will surely sustain me as His MSP missionary priest.  

While listening to one of the prominent speakers in Ateneo, Dr. Bong conveyed with his convincing words how to deal with problems and difficulties in life. He said: “It is not a matter of how big your problems are or how deep your frustrations and difficulties are; what matters most is how you learn to stand still amidst all of these things and to face each one of them with faith; that you are not alone in dealing with them; you have our loving and compassionate God who is our source of hope and our strength; for sure you will be able to persevere in various hardships that come along your way.” Truly, this is my faith - that wherever I will be sent for my mission, God is my ultimate source of strength and my reason for standing still.

Fr. Rodney M. Mondido, MSP


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