The Thoughts of Deacon Esmond Chua


Esmond Chua - the pride of Kristus Aman was ordained Deacon at the Church of St Mary of the Angels, Singapore on 12 June 2016. For the interest of KA parishioners, these were the very open answers he gave to questions regarding his calling to the Holy Orders.

1. When did you first get the stirrings of wanting to be in the religious life?

I suppose the stirring towards religious life, which was an option from priesthood, began when I was doing my bachelor studies in the United States.
One summer the university chaplain invited me to follow him to his old seminary
which was run by the Benedictine monks and when I joined them at their evening prayer, it was then that the idea of community living and prayer drew me to search to know more about this way of life.

2. Were you aware of what the life of a religious was like? Was it a daunting view? What kept you going ahead if it had been daunting?

I wasn't fully aware as there is only so much one can know about something just by study. The best way to learn something is to really experience it yourself.
Was it daunting?
I wouldn't say that religious life is a bed of roses, but neither would I say that it is "daunting". It does have its fair share of challenges just like any vocation such as single or married life.
I suppose what kept me going on was to focus on the one who calls. This is where like any other vocation in life, a strong prayer life is important. Without a prayer life, even life in general would not have been easy. Also, I had the help and support of many people's prayers and encouragement. As the saying goes, "it takes a whole village to nurture a child” or something to that effect.

3. What in the Catholic faith attracted you most, so much so that you were willing to give up a worldly life?

To say "give up" worldly life would be rather strong word to use, for it would only imply that this world is "not good enough" and that I wish to seek something better (or vice versa).However, I would rather say that the Catholic Faith inspires me to follow Christ closer in a manner of dedicating myself to Him. It is not so much of "giving up" but rather of one where I feel that perhaps I can give my life to God in the manner He knows me best.

4. Why the Franciscans, why not other orders?

I suppose the charism of the Franciscans was what drew me, and that is to live the Gospel life wherever I am called. Unlike most other congregations that you join, you are joining for a particular purpose (e.g. Redemptorist = preaching, LaSalle = teaching, etc). But for the Franciscans, we are encouraged to go wherever God calls us to and to live our vocation there.
So as Franciscans, parish life is not the only ministry that we are groomed for.
We can minister or be found in various fields such as healthcare, education, etc.

5. How has your journey been so far? What sort of challenges have you met so far? How have you been able to overcome them? Do you foresee yourself ever being "falling out of love" with it?

As shared earlier, the journey so far has been great. However after saying that, it cannot be denied that it has had its ups and downs.
How did / do I overcome them?
Again, as always, it is with a strong prayer life and a very supportive community - both within the order as well as my family and friends in KL (i.e. KA and in Singapore).
For without His guiding hand, the road would have been much tougher.
Do I foresee myself "falling out of love" with it? Well, let's pray it doesn't happen!

6. Anything else you'd like to add - a word for parents and another for the sons and daughters of KA.

A word to the sons and daughters of KA:
Stay close to Him & never stop hearing the soft promptings of His voice stirring in your heart for as St Augustine says, "our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee".
In doing so doesn't mean you are/are not called to religious/priestly life.
It's more of letting Him lead us to where He knows what's best for us. Give God a chance wherever He may be nudging you on.

Some words to parents of KA:
- Be open to whatever and whenever God may call.
- Let Him be in control.