We are featuring a series of nine Faith Sharing of Virtues of St. Anthony of Padua that were presented during the fiesta 9-day novena masses. This will temporarily replace the Sunday Gospel Reflections; after which the Gospel Reflections will return.
by Edmund Lim
My Name is Edmund. Last October just right after the 2013 Francis fest, I had time to reflect on my two years as head of our Music and Worship ministries. It was a busy two years serving here in our parish. While challenging, the job was not without its joys and excitement. How time flies. I am extremely grateful to our past parish priest Father Joel and our past PPC President Mike Limpe for giving me the opportunity to serve our parish in both roles and with this chance, grow my faith in Christ. I would also like to thank Mrs. Abella for teaching me ever so patiently all the Liturgical celebrations and traditions in our parish.
At the end of my two year service, my mother requested that I accompany her to visit Lisbon and Fatima in Portugal. I leapt at the chance to visit a sacred pilgrimage site for our Blessed Mother and what’s more, have a chance to see the birth place of our patron saint Anthony of Padua. Yes, while our patron saint is known to be of Padua, he was actually born in front of the Cathedral in Lisbon and was Portuguese and a Lisboan. In this pilgrimage, I planned to thank St Anthony for all the blessings and answered prayers.
Upon arriving in that cold October day in Lisbon, we set off to attend mass at the birth place of St. Anthony. Praying ever so deeply, my mind started to wonder about the next PPC term. As the last PPC term ended, speculations about the new one began rising as it normally does. I kept hearing my name pop up as a person who can be part of this next PPC. While serving in church is rewarding, the prospect of two more rigorous yeas filled with more responsibilities is not exactly my cup of tea. I saw how our hard our past presidents worked and it is not without fear and apprehension that I look towards the next term with dread. should I be chosen. I prayed hard that day to saint Anthony, to intercede and minimize my church responsibilities. I pleaded with him that since I am here every day serving and attending Mass, singing and praying, lecturing and commentating, and being a Eucharistic minister, there is no need for me to take up more responsibilities. Now I know that this is a selfish request.
After a few pleasant days spent in Portugal, our trip continued on to Santiago de Compostela and on to Paris for a few days of vacation. While on the flight to Paris, all of our group’s luggage got lost en route. Being angry at the airline, a dreadful thought came to my mind. I just went to the birth place of St Anthony, the saint of lost articles, the saint who helps find things which have been lost. Why did he allow my luggage to go missing? Is it because of the selfish prayer I made while in Lisbon? Did he want me to serve more in his church? Could this be why our articles got lost?
At first I refused to believe this idea and set it to the back of my mind. After 2 days, something inside me (it must be the Holy Spirit) made me go to a church. In that church luckily there was a statue of St Anthony. I lit a candle right there and then and prayed once more. This time, I asked for forgiveness –for my selfish request. My prayer at that time was “thy will be done” and “if called I will serve with all my heart and with all my soul”. The bags showed up within 12 hours after that prayer.
From that moment on, I thanked St Anthony for reminding me that we do not choose to serve. We are called to serve. He did find something which I have lost. It was not a bag. That day he found my will to serve, picked it up from the ground where I discarded it out of fear and apprehension and he gave it back to me. In giving my spirit of service back to me, Saint Anthony also protected something more important from getting lost. My FAITH. So here I am, continuing to serve with a Franciscan heart but also with a Benedictine motto of Ora et Labora ringing in my mind. Today being Pentacost, I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to guide me in the next year and a half and I also pray that if the Holy Spirit ever inspires any of you to serve here in our Church in whatever, shape or form, I and all of us here in the Liturgical ministries will welcome you with open arms.