A Message To A Priest

by Jose Joel Robles

“Shall the day of parting 
be the day of gathering?” 
Kahlil Gibran asked
a similar question today 
as one shepherd 
leaves the flock. 

Parting hurts…  
and more painful when 
the one who departs
            is a friend, 
            or a brother, 
            or someone who 
                        and cries with us.  

The assembly speaks 
about your worth in our hearts.  
A temptation sprouts
            to whisper you to stay, 
            to lengthen our way.  

Now, we understand 
that you’re a priest—
called to shepherd 
            the lost, 
            the last, 
            the least. 
A part of your calling, 
the admission of your vows.  
             This is always real…
            This is always true 
despite drops of tears.

What consoles us?
You’re leaving now
            for the greater purpose, 
            for the mission, 
            for the good of the Church.  
This is not about us. 
This is about God 
and His plans.

Take the first steps forward 
and bring with you 
our wishes and hopes:
            to continue being a good priest, 
            to include this community 
in your prayers,  
and, most importantly, 
            to meet us again someday.

God bless you always.

While teaching Religious Studies to senior high students at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan in the Philippines, Jose Joel Robles loves to write poems and stories.  As a husband and a father of one, he utilizes some of his spare time for writing. His published pieces appeared in Teach. Write.Anak Sastra 47, 50-word stories, and Organic Ink: Volume 5 by Dragon Soul Press (forthcoming).

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