CBCP chief tells priests: Don't forget your ‘first love’ | Inquirer News

CBCP chief tells priests: Don’t forget your ‘first love’

/ 04:32 PM March 24, 2016

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Maundy Thursday urged his fellow priests to take a look back at their roots and always remember the joy of falling in love with their vocation.

Villegas lamented that some priests had forgotten their “first love” amid a sense of entitlement and power, replacing it with the “idolatry of convenience and comfort.”

“This is the heavy price of forgetting that we are priests of the mercy of God. We become like employees of God rather than his grateful servants. We feel entitled to Church money because of our advanced age and higher academic degrees. We have forgotten our first love, we have lost our first fire; we have blurred our vision with comfort and jumbled our priorities to accommodate our whims,” Villegas said in a statement.


“When this sense of sin is lost, when this sense of unworthiness is replaced by a sense of entitlement, when the excitement about our ordination fades away and the cross of monotony takes over us, we become cold and forgetful. We get bored with having to repeat ‘Do this in memory of me.’ We become sad priests; we become annoyed and annoying ministers; we become clanging cymbals at the pulpit and paid hirelings at the altar,” he said.


The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also called on Filipino priests to revisit milestones in their life of service, such as their ordination day and first night in seminary, in order to remember the excitement that came with the vocation.

“In the beginning we were always happy. In the beginning we were so full of excitement. In the beginning our feet had wings and our heart had fire. In the beginning our face was aglow and our eyes had a purpose. In the beginning God looked at us and found us very good and didn’t we feel good about ourselves too? Ano ang nangyari? Bakit naging ganito? I have only one answer: We have forgotten,” Villegas said.

“Gratitude is now drowned by complaint. Obedience is now a victim of dialogue. Prayer is now duty not a joy. Joy in ministry is a thing of the past replaced by taking exotic vacations. The branded shirt is preferred to the Roman collar. What was once a gift we have now considered as our right! Christ is in the back burner and vanity is in the front stage. The care and reverence is replaced by contempt and rush. The well is dry and the fire is now cold,” he added.

The CBCP chief also reminded priests to be humble and grateful and to remember their “first love” and “first fire” amid all the perks and privileges of their chosen life.

“We have forgotten. We have compromised. We have invented excuses. And God knows we can forget so quickly that is why he told us to ‘Do this in memory of me,'” he said.

“Let us return to our first love and remember our first fire. Let us not allow the awards and titles, the position and the experience to blur our memory of our wretched and wicked roots. If we are fragrant it is because we have axed the Lord. If we have sweetness it is not us, it is the Lord.” RC

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TAGS: Holy Week, Lent

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