Curia Generalizia CRM, Via Tribuna Campitelli 6A, 00186 - Roma, Italy
My Dearest Friends, this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! To the Members of my Consulta, Fr. JP, Fr. Shino, to the Novice Master Fr. Gilbert, to the assistant Novice Master Fr. Jun, to the dearest superior and religious community of Roccamontepiano, to our priests and sisters, to our parishioners and friends, to Your excellency Madam Myla and company, ambassador of the Phil to the Holy see, to our parishioners and friends and to those joining us via live streaming, May the Peace of the lord be with you!
Padre Kenneth, It has been indeed a long journey, a journey which allowed you to ponder the voice of the Lord who is truly calling you. In your vocation story which you wrote for me, this stirring of the spirit did not happen just recently. It was present in your early years, even before you joined the Diocesan Seminary to be a priest in your local Diocese of Iba. Through your readings of the lives of the saints and your spiritual encounter with John of the Cross, the other Carmelite saints and their spirituality, you found the vocation to consecrated life to be ever more deeper and meaningful. Our Founders were also inspired by the spirit and spirituality of the Carmelites. Many Saints, and even the modern ones, have also been influenced by Carmelite spirituality…., one I immediately recall in my mind is my great Hero, St. John Paul II.
I remember vividly when I first met you at one of our Delegation yearly retreats in St Augustine, Florida in the United States…..I do not remember the year. You were very much impressed by the way we joyfully lived our fraternal life. You witnessed among our senior priests and young fathers about how we treated each other and enjoyed every daily communion together. You experienced that sense of joy. Yet in reality we too have our own challenges and weaknesses.
My dearest friends, brothers and sisters, and Father Kenneth, let me invite you to take a look at the reality of religious life. Let me briefly suggest to reflect on these three points to help us meditate on this occassion. Your journey as I see was composed of these three areas of your life: You are moved by the Shadows, Light and life:
Looking back on your journey, your initial vocation was to become a priest. You clearly understood that it was God who called you and who continuously calls us to deepen our relationship with Him. The shadows of the past life allowed you to recognize more of discovering who you are by recognizing the voice within. The voice is well manifested in our Gospel today. The Gospel speaks about rejoicing in finding the lost cost. You have found something great….a deeper living out of your vocation as a consecrated religious. Dialogue afforded you to see the changing realities of yourself, not the worse of you but what is better. This journey led to wholeness and became an opportunity for you to totally surrender yourself to God. Growing closer to the Lord inspires us to pick up the pieces of our life and continue to journey as we become whole and entire.
being aware of your past helps you to have a better understanding of who you are and what you are about to do tonight. You will profess Temporary vows. Why are they temporary? They are temporary because they will be like a trial for three years and will give you enough time to live this vows authentically and diligently. During these three years, you will still be in formation. You will continue to ponder and polish those things within you that you discovered in you initial formation. Please be aware that the key to living this evangelical counsel is not merely the letters and words of the constitutions, but the very spirit of it. Do not love the historical people, the historical Christ, the historical founders and the historical communities. Love the present community which is composed of the present Order.
In reality we have our own daily human challenges, but these must enrich us rather than make us poor in relating to one another. Bring this light that is rekindle into you as you move forward to your profession. Like before and forever, be available to the lord. Listen to Him as he calls and never say no, be generous always to the spirit and seriously live your vows not in externality, but in liberty and in the lifestyle of the Adorno Fathers. In order to do this, continusosly look into yourself and into your relationship with God. Our psalm from Mass reads “A clean heart create for me O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me”.
Life: what is our life?
Our life a consecrated religious is the community! Never think alone, think together. Never think above everyone else, think within. Never criticize your brothers outside your community, walk and charitably correct if necessary out of love and not of spite. Pray together, this is common for us. Share meals, share what will nourish the community and never think it is mine, …..eternity is reflected not in the Individual mode, but it is always communal in the spirit of sharing. If what you have can’t be shared, then obviously it is not meant for your way of life. Your highest dream is not to be victorious, triumphant, but to be faithful and be able to share your life with one another. Your words become our words and it reflects the charity and the charism of the Order. Wear your habit with pride, but not with a proud mentality. It must not deviate you from the rest, but it must count you among us. Our life is composed of that spirituality reflected in the eucharist. Every day, be thankful, be grateful and be honorable: it is only possible when we fix our eyes alone in Jesus who is in the blessed Sacrament: In the spirit of today’s Gospel, develop continually within yourself that spirit of joy and rejoicing. Our second reading from the First letter of St Paul to Timothy boldly states “Indeed the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus”. St Paul recognized, in his weakness, that the presence of Christ would build him up. May his presence shine through you the living out of our charism in your religious life.
Kenneth, thank you for your generous yes. I am fully aware of what you have given up for the sake of following HIM. But be much fully aware of what Your master has done for you and for us. You can’t outdone his generosity. Therefore be a good disciple of the lord in the CRM way. Never go on your own, but be a follower.
Keneth we love you, we accept you for who you are, now I give you the chance to accept us with our own strength and our own limitations.. I embrace you with brotherly and fatherly care.
Let us go, let us go together to heaven… Amen
Father Ted Kalaw