I was born into a very strong catholic family. Seeing the example of my grandfather, parish priests and my uncle who is a priest, I too wanted to be a priest from such a young age.
However, when I finished Year 12, I no longer had the desire to become a priest. I ended up attending a Teens Retreat run by Jesus Youth in my parish. I went along thinking that I’d be in the company of girls for three days. I had fun at the retreat. However, on the last day at the anointing prayer I experienced the person of Holy Spirit for the first time. I felt a power inside of me which literally shook me. Ever since I have been in love with the person of the Holy Spirit. It’s then that I thought about priesthood again. I was attracted to the external sides of priesthood, the power, the cassock, the respect and so on but there was no spiritual motivation in me to commit my life.
It was in 2002 that God allowed me to change my mind. I went through many struggles. I was moving around in Bombay, Hyderabad and Banglore in search of a Job. I felt alone in the world for the first time.
I experienced rejection from family and friends. I was discriminated against and experienced being poor, hungry and homeless for the first time. I was moving from friends to friends. It was the hardest time of my life but the most fruitful. I saw the real world; the pain of hunger, the desperation of young people, their helplessness, the bad influences of wrong friendships, the pain of the consequences of sin. I didn’t attend a retreat but I experienced the vivid presence of the Holy Spirit inside of me. The trust, admiration and love for Jesus were growing deep within me. He was forming my heart through those hard times.
The Lord gave me the conviction that the best way I could serve his people is to be a missionary priest. I could sense inside of me a thirst to preach Jesus. I wanted to be a charismatic priest, preaching the Good news and sharing God’s love. He brought me exactly there; to the Missionaries of God’s Love.
It is my great conviction formed out of the scripture that when God calls He does not call randomly. Rather, when He calls, He does in a particular time, to a particular place and for a particular mission.
I struggled to co-operate with his call in my weaknesses. However, the providence of God took me through. I didn’t have an easy journey in the seminary. I had to work hard on my discipline of prayer, I had to work on my stress management, emotional stability, self-esteem, and many other areas. The Lord challenged me and crushed my heart many times. He wanted me just for himself. I am so happy as a religious priest serving the Gospel. My dream is to preach Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit until my last breath.
Fr Bony Abraham MGL is currently the Pastor for JY Australia national youth team and a very busy resource person for all JY events.