Monday, June 20, 2022

Prayer - it is much more than our conversation with God.

Today I celebrate my 21st Anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood.  It was back on 20 June 2001 that Archbishop Gregory Yong celebrated the Mass where I got ordained into the priesthood, and present there were a huge number of friends and parishioners who I had encountered in my weekly encounters with them when I was posted to their parishes as part of my priestly training and exposure.  

One of the things which I often stress in my spiritual exhortations to parishioners is that prayer in the spiritual life is something that is utterly important.  I do not doubt that parishioners know of the importance of prayer, but what many of them fail to understand is that prayer is not just us human beings lifting our minds and hearts to God and telling God what it is that we need from him.  Sure, it is undoubted that that forms a distinctive part of prayer, but it is not the only part.  The other part is how we listen to God communicating to us, either during the moments that we pray, or time that is outside of what we would call formal prayer.  That second part of prayer, which is God’s communication to us, is also what forms prayer.  God can remind us, enlighten us, and strengthen our resolve to live a life that glorifies God.  

A person who is in special need for grace from God could be receiving spiritual aid from God throughout the day, and when it does happen, it may not occur to him or her that the aid that is being given to him or her by the doctor or caregiver is aid that is in fact coming from the grace of God.  Many of you who read my blog may know that in May of last year I encountered an accident when I was out doing my morning exercise walk when I was hit by a motorist as I was crossing a pedestrian crossing at a traffic junction.  The doctor who tended to me in the hospital was very caring in making sure that I recover well from the accident, and it was in January this year that I received the necessary cranioplasty surgery where part of my skull was replaced after two parts of the skull were removed post accident.  

It is now June of this year, and though the trauma of the accident and surgery due to the accident have passed the one year mark, my overall alertness and awareness is still not fully recovered.  My prayer each day isn’t just the Eucharist that I celebrate in the morning in my mother’s residence where I am spending the days in my extended medial leave from parish presence.  That forms a major part of my prayer.  What fills the rest of my day is when I raise my awareness of how God is responding to my plea to him for his divine help to get me to a better reformed and strengthened way of living.  True, sometimes I forget that God is helping me in my post surgery recovery, and I can imagine that this period of time is just myself going through the daily grind of physical recovery and strengthening by my own will.  When I catch myself thinking this way, I am filled with remorse as I have turned away from the need to raise my attention to thank heaven for having been cared for in a supernatural way.  

Prayer of course, is more than just something that a person does by himself.  I have come across many friends and former parishioners who have heard of my accident and surgery, and have reassured me that they had been praying for me and for my speedy recovery.  In this way, prayer is something that is also aided by the loving and caring friends and neighbours whom I have come to know.  Seen in this way, prayer is more than a solo-action.  It is a team effort where the community one knows and shares one’s life with forms a praying effort that is more than something that one does alone.  Each day, part of my prayer is to thank God for these well meaning and generous people that are part of my life.  

In the human way of thinking, attaining 21 years of being or doing anything isn’t a small achievement.  A human reaching 21 years of age is when one reaches adulthood.  I look back at my life as a priest of God for 21 years, and I am filled with gratitude and am truly touched that God has allowed me to serve him and his people for 21 years, despite that some of the years were filled with illness and physical weakness.  I choose to not let those ‘down’ times to tell me that the priesthood is not a time that is exempt from suffering or tensions.  In fact, I have come to learn that these are the very precious experiences of the Cross which all of us are given by God, no matter whether we are ordained or otherwise.  Carrying the cross with elan and grace is an understandable challenge for many who are only interested in doing things that are commendable by others in life.  Jesus’ walk with the patibulum or the crossbar on the Via Dolorosa was not something that Jesus enjoyed doing, but it was definitely something that he did with love - love for humanity and his brothers and sisters.  If the cross you may be carrying in life is a burden and difficult, bear this in mind and do what is unthinkable - thank God for the cross that you carry and you will end up not dragging the cross but carrying it with the grace of God.

To all my friends and parishioners who have been praying for me in the years of my priesthood, I want to say a very big and heartfelt thank you for your charity and generosity.  May God continue to bless you each day as you live your days leading up to the day when it is your time to face the judgment of Jesus before we enter into our sharing the the everlasting joy of heaven.


  1. Dear Fr Luke.. I was at your ordination and felt so blessed to have known you, now 21 years later, still blessed.. thank you for all your prayers .. thank you for bkessing my family.. Hod lives you .

  2. Dearest Fr Luke! Happy Happy 21st! ๐Ÿฅฐ God bless you, Fr; we thank God for the gift of your priesthood! You are our blessing & your life is a gift! Thank you ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป for you! United in prayers, Laura Lim

  3. Cogratulations Fr Luke Fong on your 21 Sacerdotal Anniversary๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™ And thank you father for the reminder to carry the Cross with God's Grace and to thank Him always.๐Ÿ˜Š

  4. Congratulations Father Luke

  5. May our Lord bless you, Fr. Luke!

  6. Fr Luke, thank you for all your candid sharing. You are my inspiration in teaching me how to carry my cross(es) well, and how I can always remain joyful while carrying my cross(es).