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Absolute Grace…Forever Grateful

Rev. Fr. Alan Gozo Bondoc, SVD

P.O.G.I. (Presence Of God Inside)

The gift of numbers: 41 years of age; 180 months in religious vows, 480 weeks in the priesthood, 21, 549, 600 minutes …from my humble beginnings towards a simple yet grateful existence of living life, which God has gifted me with.

My heart is forever faithful to God for His absolute grace.

I thank the Lord for He has been with me throughout the years of my priestly vocation and missionary life. I am forever grateful for my grandparents for it was through them that I learned about my faith in God. My Lolo Ben’s teachings by example has ignited my desire to be a servant priest and my family helped sustain my priestly vocation. Indeed, family is a seed bed of one’s vocation. Their prayers and sacrifices have sustained me through my formative experiences.

I am forever grateful to the Lord for the gift of 9 years of missionary experiences in Timor Leste for it became my home away from home. Through those 9 years in the mission land, the Lord has taught me to be brave for it entails the sacrifice of country, mother tongue and cultural milieu. The spirit of the evangelical vows were tried and tested in the midst of war. He taught me to be faithful in prayers especially in moments of my life’s crisis. In the mission, He taught me to value community in unity and respect the culture of the people.

As my journey continues from foreign mission to my homeland, I am forever grateful to the Lord for leading me back to the SVD Postulancy in Tagaytay City, Philippines where it all started. I am grateful for being part of the formation ministry.

Actually, I prayed for this kind of assignment because it is my ardent desire to work in formation. And I thank God for answering my prayer. I believe this is what God is asking us in the Postulancy, “TO BE WHAT HE DESIRES” because if there is NO desire, there is NO real giving of oneself. To be what GOD desires begins with a YES. It is through the YES of Mary that the desire of God to save humanity became a realization.

This is precisely what God asked Mary, “that she could be the mother of His Son.” And with a grateful and trusting heart, she accepted and owned the desire of God to be hers. It was by her self-giving that joy became the song of her soul. It was through her “Fiat” that she experienced the power and presence of God in her.

As she embraced her vocation to be the Mother of God, her heart was filled with grateful joy and she was blessed among women because she responded to the call of God.
God was with Mary throughout her life, all the way and all the time.

Just like Mary, every postulant is called and chosen for a higher purpose, that is, following the desire of God.

In my few months of being with the postulants, I felt that God is also transforming me along the way in following His own heart’s desire.

In the formation, the postulants were led to willingly transcend their own desires and needs for God’s desire in their life. It needs a gracious heart to do this.

Life feels good and hearts feel light when a person responds with a grateful heart to the calling of God for him/her. For only it is only with a heart that is filled with joyful thanks that a person is led to utter his/her “Fiat” to God.

Let our hearts always be filled with thanksgiving, as we desire the desire of God in our life.

This is the absolute grace from HIM who called us makes us forever grateful.

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