LINGAYEN-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has reminded his fellow priests during the renewal of their vows in the Chrism Mass held at the St. John The Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City on March 31 “not to forget their first love, the Lord”.
He said the priest’s parish, his graduate school diploma, new rectory and beautified church, huge parish savings and successful parish projects, as well as his popularity, success, medals “are not your first love, it is the Lord”.
Villegas admonished the priests “The Lord is our first love and we have grown cold. We have forgotten our first love!”
He said they have forgotten their first love, been engrossed and engulfed, swallowed by duties while wallowing in entitlements, reveling in success, jogging in place without getting anywhere.
“We have no more time for the Lord, our first love. The Lord seems to complain, “We have time for everything and everybody. We have no time for Him. We have time for business meetings but we do not meet Him anymore in prayer,” he said.
Villegas also said that the bank book is opened more often than the prayer book. “We have time for the internet and we know when the internet is weak but we hardly notice that our soul is weak and sick,” he said.
Villegas noted that “The first love has been forgotten and forsaken”.
He reminded his priests that to the Church in Ephesus that has forgotten its first love, the Lord said this is what they must do—remember, repent and return.
“We must remember our first love and never again forget Him. The Lord wants us to repent and abandon all the other unimportant false loves,” Villegas stressed.
He told them that , “We need to be sorry for putting the Lord on equal standing with others, with persons, with things, with places, with work. We need to repent for the poor substitutes for our first love.” (Eva Visperas)
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