joe 2

Present


Deacon Joe Owusu-Ansah reflects on his preparedness for the

priesthood a few days before ordination.


Over the last few weeks people have been asking me: 'are you ready?' 
I reflected on this during my silent retreat in preparation for ordination. I have a sense of readiness to go forward for ordination and inspired, I reflected on this sense of readiness in context of the response that I will give when the deacon calls me forward to begin the ordination rite.

The deacon will say: 'Let Joseph Owusu-Ansah to be ordained priest please come forward,' and I respond: 'Present' and then move to stand facing the Archbishop. This response 'present' has a deeper
meaning in itself; and I reflected deeply on this response 'present'.

I reflected on it as meaning: I am here; and I am here ready to be sent; to be sent by the God who has called me.

The task involved in the sending may seem daunting. Some words in  the rite of ordination describe how I have to live my life as a priest - for example, the Archbishop will present me with a paten with the bread
and a chalice filled with wine for consecration during the Mass, and  will say to me:


'Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered to him. Know
what you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your
life on the mystery of the Lord's cross.'

This implies I should seek to be holy as the mystery (Holy Mass) I will celebrate. Moreover to offer myself totally and fully to the service of God's people as Christ did on the cross.

For my ordination I have chosen the gospel reading (you are allowed to choose the readings from a range of options) I am challenged to lay down my life for my sheep like the Good Shepherd.

These challenges sound scary and daunting. However, I will rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to live out my vocation. It is Jesus who has called me. The Church chooses me for ordination. But it is Jesus in
the church who chooses me.

If He has called me then He will give me the gift of the Holy Spirit to live this life -and so in the rite of ordination, when the Archbishop asks me the initial words for what is called Examination of Candidate :

'Are you resolved, with the help of the Holy Spirit to .... 'With the help of the Holy
Spirit' it says - so the Holy Spirit will be with me. My task is to respond to the
promptings of the Holy Spirit.

So on being asked about my readiness  for ordination, I can now say that I am ready with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Deacon Joe Owusu-Ansah,
St John's Seminary
Wonersh
July 2014