LISTEN TO THE LORD’S VOICE- ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD OF FATHER JORGE MATEOS, OAR
Dear brothers, God is love and to participate in his love is no small thing. Time is needed to meditate, time to listen and time for silence and internal peace. Listening isn’t hearing that one calling, responding to the vocation; it is listening every day, committing to growing closer to the Lord, personally growing in God’s love. I am Father Jorge Mateos-Perez, OAR, ordained four months ago, and my priestly ministry is as parochial vicar at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Ana, California.
My vocational history begins in my childhood as I discovered the grace of God through the help and guidance of my family. My years as a seminarian were quite formative for me. They were years of joy, discovery, friendship, prayer and reflecting, but mainly time to revel in the feeling of being invited and called by God. I don’t mean to say that this was an easy time. I would be lying to say it was all rose-colored. Nonetheless, the tests always served as great challenges to keep going. There were moments of uncertainty, heartache, and doubts, but throughout, Jesus was always present. While at the seminary I learned that God provides just what we need in the moment, and that to hear him one must be silent, especially in that great quiet of night. I also learned that God is present in the simplest aspects of daily living, and that following him is the greatest adventure I could undertake in my life. Before I was in the seminary, when I was asked if I could imagine myself becoming a priest, the answer was no. Moreover, even once in the seminary, I still hadn’t envisioned myself as a priest until the last years, when in the midst of a crisis, I discovered that the vocation of priesthood is a call to participate in an adventure with my Lord, a call to the complete abandonment of misery, and that I am not who I chose to be, but rather who He has already chosen, humbled, to follow him. My heart was hesitant, responding to the call: Why not? If you want me to do this, then this is also what I want. Ever since that moment, things have been different. My experience of being ordained as a priest has been and continues to be, the greatest blessing that I have received in my life. I plead daily to be able to carry out God’s work, with the aid of prayer and the grace of God. Only God can call us to a vocation where the mission is greater than our own strength and human capacity. Only with Him, and in his graces, can we persevere day in and day out, carrying out his works. So now when I feel the enormity of the demands and my own and many weaknesses, I humbly ask for His help (We carry the treasure in clay vessels. 2 Cor. 4, 7), recalling that nothing is impossible when I render my heart, mind, and my will completely to the priestly ministry for God.
My first act as a priest was to give communion to my parents, in thankfulness for having given me life, and so I gave them the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, the bread of life. At this time, my hope is always in the goodness of God; if he has chosen me, it’s because he wants me to live for others. To be a priest means to be of God, and God is for all, and hence a priest must be for all, the village of God and for all in the village of God.
May God bless you,
Father Jorge Mateos-Perez, OAR
Ordained to the Priesthood, March 7, 2015