THE Light of Jesus Pastoral Care provides psycho-spiritual support through virtual sessions (audio calls or live chat), for individuals seeking help and prayers as they navigate life’s difficulties .
I serve as what we call in this Ministry pastoral carer, ministering to those who are emotionally and spiritually wounded. And because of the sensitivity of our service, we keep everything we do for our beneficiaries under strict con fidentiality. So that they would find comfort in sharing their personal issues and struggles, assured that we have their welfare in mind as we journey with them toward their healing.
So, for this testimony about our Mercy Ministry, I am using a pseudonym and not providing photos.
Humbly, I feel I’ve been called for this mission.
During my younger days, I served as an altar boy in our parish church. Thus learning about our Catholic Faith, I dreamt to become a priest.
I went on to study in a Catholic school and soon, I became a devotee of our Blessed Virgin Mary. For college, I went to a private school taking up Engineering.
Then, I entered a seminary.
Serviam—I Will Serve
At the seminary, my formator once said, “Ang pagpapari laging dalawang bagay yan, dapat gusto mo at kaya mo.—There are two prerequisites in going into priesthood: you want it and you can hack it. ”
I did want to become a priest, but sad to say, I jus t could not carry it off.
Academically, I didn’t quite make the grade. And worse, I had health issues.
So, I was advised to take a rest, discern about my vocation in the real world outside the seminary.
Still, I held on to my dream of serving t he Church and her people. “Still I have to heed the call,” I firmly told myself.
Instead of pursuing my Engineering career, I found a well -paying job as research assistant in an archdiocese, and even got promoted to the post of administration assi stant.
Monetary perks and privileges, however, were not able to fill the emptiness in my heart, still crying out, “Serviam (Latin for I will serve )!”
Somehow, I quenched this thirst to serve God and others by going into various apostolates — hospital care, jail ministry, street catechesis for children and their parents—doing these, to my own surprise, for almost four years.
Then, one time, in my Jail Ministry, I was tasked to facilitate a Lenten Recollection for our brothers and sisters in the jail.
I felt pressured because I was not that confident to do public speeches — and honestly, I don’t even know how I passed my Public Speaking class back in college.
I was then already 30 years old—hmm, just about the same age that Jesus started His public ministry. So, I was like, Drin, kaya mo yan. Gawain ito ng Diyos kaya hindi ka Niya pababayaan.—Drin, you can pull this off. This is God’s work, so He will not abandon you.”
And true enough, I must had done so well serving as facilitator in that Lenten Recollection that the jail management requested me to hold the same recollection for the prison’s uniformed men.
By Divine Design, I found me a spiritual mentor, a foreign nun. Let’s call her Sister Mae. She encouraged me to pursue Religious Education —to qualify as a Religion teacher. And, again, by God’s grace, Caritas Manila sponsored my studies.
In the Religious Education classes, my classmates were aspirants, seminarians, priests, and nuns—all of them inspiring me to learn not only the methodologies in teaching, but most important, to gain confid ence to become a Religion teacher.
So, just like that, I became a Religion teacher —telling
my students, “I want to be your most unforgettable and coolest teacher you could ever have.”
Yes, I’ve been teaching, serving in my parish as a missionary catechist, joyful every time my former students, their parents, and some parishioners expressed gratitude for my service. And, would you believe, some of my former students entered the seminary as well. I cannot be thankful enough for this great rewa rd.
I even lived a simple lifestyle in Pampanga where I was sent out to be a missionary for the Aeta communities.
In this community, we do not have electricity, no technology, no digital gadgets. But I am simply grateful for this experience to be able to serve our brothers and sisters here even without the convenience of high technology.
Yes, being able to serve those in need is a great blessing I am thankful for.
But this journey is not without, yes, challenges.
Looking back, I went through failed relationships, driving me to depression. Desperately, I asked God, “Do I deserve this? After giving my life in service to
You and Your Church?”
This depression so pushed me to the limit that I felt the Devil himself deceiving me, tempting me to separate from God, telling me, “Kapag ginawa mo ito tapos na lahat ng hirap mo—If you do this, your suffering will be over. ”
By God’s mercy, I did not fall into this temptation. But recovering from my depression was never easy. There were days I could not eat nor sleep—not even take a nap. I didn’t want to get out of my dark room. I did not want to meet with my friends.
I just practically gave up in my faith journey. But God did not give up on me.
Yes, God made a way for me to go back to my dream mission. Little did
I know, that today, God is as techie as a millennial. He connected to me through Facebook.
Nowadays, if you’re depressed, you’re most likely to look for comfort from social media. Well, that’s what I was doing one day I was feeling gloomy.
I picked my phone and just browsed on my Facebook page.
And there it was popping on my wall a clip that says, “Your wounds can help heal other people’s wounds.”
I followed the source of the clip, and as God would have it, I reached the page of the Light of Jesus Pastoral Care. So, I learned its programs and services, and well, they jived with what I am all the while yearning to do in my life.
At first, however, I was hesitant to join, fearing that people there might judge me. But again, thank God, I found everyone there like angels, warmly welcoming me, and then helping me recover from my depression. They simply listened to me, understood my situation, inspired me, equipped me with pastoral care skills so that I could also help others heal their wounds.
At the LOJ Pastoral Care Center, I learned lessons about my previous difficulties.
First, of course, is ministering to Mercy beneficiaries. As a pastoral carer,
I get to meet a lot of people in need. I feel so blessed being able to help them deal with their problems.
Second, I also get to work hand-in-hand with folks from all walks o f life , learning so much from them.
Third, since I’ve been exposed to the public, I am now comfortable with public speaking.
Fourth, it was in the LOJ Pastoral Care Center that I learned to start giving my tithes and I feel so blessed. Because even I don’t have that much money to give, I’ve so experienced being fulfilled for me the promise that God will return whatever I give a hundredfold—which just further deepened my faith in Him.
Aside from serving in LOJ Pastoral Care, with my own resources, I still do my missionary work, encouraging others also to do the same or help me in doing my ministries.
One, I have volunteer groups in the Bureau of Fire Protection, riding enthusiasts in both motorcycles and bikes to go about our Mercy outreaches such as feeding programs for street children.
Two, I work for one of the oldest and most stable organizations, representing the Church’s most respected leaders. Just imagine how I learn so much from them.
God is so generous in providing people and resources for doing the ministries I have.
With God’s blessings, in my own little way, I am hopeful that I wil l be able to make Jesus known and loved.
“I will Serve”
“Gawain ito ng Diyos, hindi ka niya pababayaan.” “Your wounds can help heal other people’s wounds”
Because of these words now deep in my heart, I know I am accepted.
I know I am loved. One humbly dirt poor, sinful serving God.
I am unworthy yet I am chosen.