Saturday, August 27, 2011

Compassion

People often ask me why I became a Chaplain to the Canadian Forces.  Was it for the adventure, the opportunity to take part in a unique ministry, the money…. to get out of civilian ministry?  Though I have no qualms in saying that all these considerations played through my head in my choice to ‘sign up,’ neither is THE reason.

The over-riding reason why I chose to answer this call to ministry is you.  Yes, you, the person reading this.  If you are not a member of the CF, then let me simply say that I am doing this ministry for you, on your behalf.  The men and women in uniform that I work with and offer support to on a daily basis are your family, your friends, your neighbours.  You continually express your support for them in so many different ways and I have the unique opportunity to support them from within the military system.  So I do this for you.

If you are a member of the CF, the answer remains the same.  I do this for you.  I chose to take on the mantle of “Padre” and “Chaplain” because of my growing awareness of the great sacrifices you make as individuals and as families in order to serve Canada.  After joining I became even more aware of the professionalism and extremely high standards you bring to your duties and am humbled to be able to serve you.

There is a favourite Scripture passage of mine from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, which encapsulates my theological understanding of this ministry.  To paraphrase it, I would say, “Jesus said, ‘Be aware that as you care for the most broken people in this world, you are caring for me.’”  I do this for You, my God, as well.

The heart of this ministry is “compassion,” which literally means “to suffer with,” but suffering means far more than pain.  It means to experience the depth of a person’s life with them – their joys AND their sorrows.  That is what I have the privilege of doing on a daily basis, sharing your lives.

So there’s the real answer….if you ever wanted to know.

No comments: