Reverend Deacon Father Martin Andrews Arlando was ordained to the priesthood on 29 August 2011 at Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary(NBVM).The ceremony was witnessed by about 2,000 people who came from all over the country to be with Fr.Martin on this most auspicious day in his life.
Going through the album of the his ordination , the one that touched me most was that of Rev.Deacon Fr.Martin prostrating on the floor in front of the Bishop of Penang Reverend Antony Selvanayagam who graced the ordination ceremony that was full of colorful and meaningful rituals.
|Newly ordained Fr.Martin prostrating in front of the bishop|
To the bishop this prostration was a sign of absolute obedience to him as the representative of Christ. While obedience to human authority is important, is it right to observe that absolute obedience which should only be reserved for none other than God Himself?
|Sign of humility|
To me and to many who observed the event, such a prostration was more of a sign of extreme humility which should be the guiding principle for a priest in his service to the people. Christ demonstrated that humility in his life on earth which should be a lesson to all us; particularly his priests who should like Christ lead their people in the virtuous path of love, compassion and humility.
In his address Bishop Antony said the decision to become a priest is not that one makes but it is a call that comes from God. It is a spiritual calling to serve the human race and not be served. He went on to cite the example of John the Baptist who lost his head for speaking the truth during biblical times. These were very powerful words that all priests in particular and Christians in general must take heed and put tpractice in our lives.
It is sad today that many priests forget these words of the bishop soon after their ordination. They observe very strictly their oath of obedience to the hierarchical authorities but fail in the oath to serve the people with humility. We are all familiar with the arrogance of many of our priests in the way they deal with their people. With time they become masters of the very people they are to serve.
Not only should they serve the people with great humility but they should also like John the Baptist, be willing to stand up for truth against all odds. In a materialistic world driven by power, glamour, greed and lust, our priests should stand out as role models for us and our children.
It is significant that Fr.Martin has chosen the meaningful verse from, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13)as the theme of his ordination. We hope that he will continue to depend on Christ to strengthen him to great things in life as a priest and a spiritual and moral guide to the people under his care.
We hope Fr.Martin will carry the image of his prostration at his ordination into his life of priestly service for the rest of his life.
We congratulate him and wish him well and pray that God will guide and guard him always.
Congratulations Fr.Martin and May God bless you