There was at a stage of my life when I felt damn self-sufficient and capable, with the belief of having the skills and know-how to do it my way. Perhaps, at some level of consciousness, I reached a decision that God didn’t need to be a part of my life.
In that state of self-sufficiency and independence, there were ups, downs, achievements, failure, joy, despondency, excitement and indifference. I was a prodigal, a sinner, seemingly separated from God. Like the lost son in Jesus’ parable, I found rock-bottom after squandering talents, material possessions and very nearly lost the real treasures of my life, the loved ones who mattered most to me.
In that wayward existence, I went in search for purpose, the meaning of life — not specifically looking for God. At low ebb, I did look to God but hesitated to take the first steps that would bring me back to the Father. There were a couple of false starts, probably something akin to St. Augustine and his famous prayer, “Lord give me chastity and continence, but not yet.” For me, it was more like saying I’m ready to come back, but not just yet!
Then came a terrible time when I felt so alone and lost, with the prospect of losing a loved one, and called out to God in desperation; but could not find God, my heart was still closed.
The Good Shepherd – the name speaks of loving care, gentleness, tenderness and sincere concern. The love and care that Jesus gives are gifts that every single individual can experience personally.
Just as God always does, the Good Shepherd took the initiative, sought me out, found and restored me to the Father’s loving embrace. Although still a sinner, I am fully surrendered to God, trusting completely, relying on God for everything. I know now that even during those prodigal times when away from God, I was the distant one, not God. God watched over me still — I was never alone, not even for an instant. God is with me ALWAYS!
So began the spiritual adventure and … …
Over the past few years the Holy Spirit of Fire and Love, the presence that disturbs, has been at work within, shaking me up, turning my life inside out, challenging -– to make me think, act, and to go beyond the experience of my own personal encounter with God, the encounter that gave my life new meaning.
The words of St Paul burned in my heart: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?” [Romans 10:13-15]
The words too of Pope Francis reached out to challenge me: “Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel … to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet…….The Samaritan woman became a missionary immediately after speaking with Jesus and many Samaritans come to believe in him “because of the woman’s testimony” (Jn 4:39). So too, Saint Paul, after his encounter with Jesus Christ, “immediately proclaimed Jesus” (Acts 9:20; cf. 22:6-21). So what are we waiting for?” [Apostolic Exhortation – Evangelii Gaudium]
Lost & Found: Ministry of the Shepherd is an apostolate that has been formed to respond to that call to share the joy and invite others to discover the fullness of life that Jesus proclaimed.
The work of Lost & Found: Ministry of the Shepherd is to:-