By Kaelanne Jordan
Metropolitan Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston, Jamaica has invited the faithful to begin 2018 with a New Year’s commitment to imitate Mary by surrendering their lives and doing God’s will because He wills it.
“It cannot be wishful thinking that we make this declaration. There must be definite steps that we must take to show ‘Lord, I am sincere and I seriously want your spirit to fill my life’,” the archbishop said at a Mass to mark the opening of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal’s 21st Caribbean Conference. The conference began Friday, January 5 and closed Sunday 7 at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya. Archbishop Richards was the main celebrant.
In his address to the Caribbean CCR delegates, the archbishop asked, “What are the noble plans, what are the virtuous plans we have for this year?” He continued, “Even if they are virtuous, do we give consideration to God’s will and God’s plans in our lives accordingly? Or am I satisfied with what is good and noble and I never seek or contemplate what will God do with my life?”
“We must submit to him and yield to his will,” he maintained. Commenting on this, the archbishop explained that Mary, like many of us, had other plans for their lives. He, however, believed that one’s instinctive reaction, ‘How can this be? Me?’ causes one to “shut down” and recuse themselves from God’s will and providence.
Archbishop Richards reiterated that the need to have a new mind and an open spirit to recognise God’s desires involves examining one’s life and removing any obstacle that may block or prevent the sincerity of ‘Yes’ and submission to God.
“And we need to make that examination and confront the reason why we sin,” he said, adding that evil manifests itself in varying degrees.
The archbishop drew the comparison to a glass filled with water as “perfect”, but if it holds just a little below the rim, it is imperfect and “evil exists”. In a similar way, he reminded Catholics to identify ways in which they may accommodate evil in their own lives. These ways, he said, occur when Catholics do things that have no relationship to God nor does it seek His will, compare themselves to others and the perception that one is not worthy of God.
He explained, “Sometimes we are only subjected to the perception or the things other people say about us that threaten and enslave us, and shackle us, but sometimes we shackle our own selves by the lack of hope and aspiration we have for ourselves especially when we hear God’s call and God reveals His will to us.”
The opening Mass began with a flag procession ceremony representing US, Grenada, Antigua, St Vincent and the Grenadines, among other islands.
During the offertory procession, Suriname CCR delegates danced and sang in their native language towards the stage.
The day’s agenda continued with praise and worship, prophecies and talks on ‘The Promises of the Father’ and ‘Let anyone who is Thirsty’ by Fr Kingsley Asphall of Jamaica.