REFLECTION: There’s more fun with God PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 June 2014 11:11

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

I could not help but laugh out loud while listening to a venerable 79-year-old Monsignor tell the story of how he discovered his vocation. I had great fun, and it made me more convinced that fun is actually part of God’s plan for us.

He said that ever since he was a kid, he was already exposed to parish life, since his parents were very active in the church activities. He became an acolyte which was no mean feat at that time since it required great discipline. One had to memorize Latin prayers and do complicated moves.

That early, he already toyed with the idea of becoming a priest himself. But there was a big but. He found the priest of the parish, an old Spanish priest, too serious, too ascetic for comfort. He thought he could not measure up.

“He was always in cassock,” he said of the priest. “He wore it even in his bedroom such that I never had a chance even to see his feet. I only saw his head and hands.”

So the young boy thought priests must be a different kind of people. “The priest was not like my father,” he said of his impressions at that time. His desire to become a priest waned a bit.

Then a Filipino priest replaced the Spanish one. Still the Filipino priest was always wearing the cassock the whole time. The boy found the new priest to be too serious and too rigid also.

He was about to give up with his priestly desire when one day he went with the priest and others to a certain place. It was very hot that day, according to him, so hot that the priest took off his cassock. That was the first time he saw how a priest looked like without a cassock.

Not only that, he saw the priest go to a bush to take a leak, and that was when he finally realized that priests are also like everybody else. That erased whatever doubts he had that he too could become a priest.

Looking at the Monsignor, I was convinced that he had gone light years away from those childhood ideas of priesthood and yet remaining childlike in his simplicity and outlook in life. I was convinced God sometimes plays games and tricks with us to convey his most sublime will for us.

The whole story reminded me of what the Book of Proverbs once said: “Playing in the world and my delights were to be with the children of men.” (8,31)

There definitely is fun to be with God. In fact, there’s more fun with him than with anybody or anything else in the world. Living with God, fully dedicating ourselves to him never lacks moments of exquisite joy, fun and pleasure. Life with God is never dull or boring. It is full of adventure and excitement and fun.

Yes, living with God also has its big share of suffering due to our sin. But if we consider the whole message of the Christian gospel, we know that everything will always turn out for the good. So there’s really no serious and permanent reason to be sad or troubled or disturbed.

We have to learn how to be game and sport in the drama of our life here on earth. Problems, difficulties and contradictions just offer us occasions to have excitement and suspense, knowing that no matter how things end humanly speaking, we would always win if we strive to be with God.

St. Paul said it. “For those who love God, all things work together unto good.” (Rom 8,28) As a consequence, we have reason to be hopeful and optimistic. We can even afford to face the drama of life with humor and elegance without neglecting the requirements of continuous self-giving and sacrifice. It’s a matter of choice.

St. Josemaria Escriva also narrated the funny story of a juggler who wanted to become a cleric. Since he was poor both money-wise and intellectually, he felt inferior to the other aspirants who were endowed with great talents.

Not knowing what to give our Lady on one of her feasts, he thought that at the middle of the night he would get to the chapel in secret and do his juggling before her image.

He did it, but his superior caught him in the act. But before calling his attention, the superior saw that the image of our Lady was smiling and even moved to wipe the sweat from the juggler. He let the juggler finish his act.