Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Patrick Montine describes how his participation in a Youth Rally in Jamaica led to a dramatic wake up call.
I had the opportunity to go to a Youth Rally last weekend in Browns Town, Jamaica. The rally was for teenagers and young people to come together and hear some talks about religious life, married life and how to live a chaste life. There were about 200 people at the event which is a big turnout since only about two percent of the population is Catholic.
The thing I want to talk about isn’t the many great dances, singing, or speakers that were featured at the retreat. I want to talk about the Homily. The priest who gave the Homily was from the US and had come on the retreat to talk about chastity.
The Gospel for the Rally was Matthew 5:1-12, the verses about the Beatitudes. The priest talked about the pure of heart and how to show passion and love to God.
After speaking about the Beatitudes for a while, the priest asked us to turn to the person sitting next to us and tell them they needed more passion. I turned halfheartedly, not really looking at the person next to me. At this point, I was thinking that the retreat really wasn’t for me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the priest inching closer and closer toward me. I didn’t pay very much attention to him because he had been going up and down the aisle during his whole talk. However, the priest had noticed my lack of enthusiasm.
The next thing I knew, he lifted me up out of my seat and put me in a headlock. I went limp because I was confused about what was going on. ‘This would happen to me…’ I thought to myself.
If this was not God telling me to do something outright, then I don’t know what it was. The priest dragged me up to the altar and laid me down at the feet of the Bishop.
“Tell the Bishop to have more passion!!!” he demanded.
I jumped up, touched the Bishop’s arm and said, “Have more Passion, Bishop.” Then I went back to my seat.
By now, people know who I am in the Diocese. This event was a wake up call for me to show more passion. I have been here for six months and I have gotten into a routine. Routine is a good thing, but it was leading to complacency. This event has grabbed hold of me and challenged me to have more passion. It is a call for me to think about my passions, what I think is important, and what God thinks is important.
All people are called to live beyond complacency and be more passionate in their lives. You might not get the same wake up that I did, but it might still be there in your life in a small way. In the book of First Kings, the Prophet Isaiah stands on top of a mountain and listens for God: “And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing” (1 Kings 19:11-12). In all of these dramatic events, God is not in them. Finally, a gentle breeze appears, and God is in the breeze.
God might be speaking to you in your life and you just have to learn to listen. So as I go forward, I must have the passion of the Lord in my heart to do His works and His deeds. In order to this, I must not be frustrated or disheartened by any lack of progress in my ministry. I must bring this faith and passion to the people I serve so that they will also be inspired to go deeper and reach higher in their own lives. It is not easy, but nothing ever is.