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shepherds-voiceGood evening to you, dear Catholic women of the dioceses of East Malaysia, and welcome to Sabah, Catholic women of Tanjong Selor Diocese, Kalimantan.

On behalf of the local Church, I would like to congratulate each and everyone of you for giving your time over the next few days to look at yourselves as “Women of God.”

This is a serious topic and would require serious reflection.  To do that you will need to set aside some quiet time to listen to the voice of God deep within you.  You would also need to listen to His voice speaking to you through the talks and sharing of others.

In other words, since you have chosen a serious topic, you should also be serious in trying to understand it.  But I tell you, it is worth looking into the topic deeper, because once you have discovered who you are in your relationship with God, you will find a great joy within you.  You will be so thankful that at last life is such a beautiful thing when you live it as women of God.

Of course, this might be the first time for some of you to be in Sandakan, and you may also wish to see the interesting places and people around.  I understand that the organisers have arranged something for you.  But I hope that after knowing who you are in your relationship with God, you will have a different way of looking at things around.  You will see as God sees them.  You will not only see with your eyes but you will also see with your heart.

How does God see the world?  I believe He sees it with a merciful heart.  He sees many evil happenings.  He also sees many people ignoring His love.  But He never gives up in winning over His creatures.  He forgives them again and again, and gives them the chance to come back to Him.  The wonderful thing is, He does not do it from heaven.  He needs you and me to be the signs of His love, forgiveness and mercy to others.  And to do that, we need to be in love with Him first.

It is my prayer and hope that this conference will help you to discover where and who you are in the Plan of God.  I encourage you to be more open to the Holy Spirit, who alone is the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Wisdom, and the Spirit of Love that can help you see beyond the ordinary, to recognise the presence of God in the small things.  Pray that He will guide you throughout your gathering.

Finally, a word of thanks to the organisers for your time and efforts.  I know you have gone through many sleepless nights just to get things ready.  I hope this experience will help you grow further in your love for God and for the Church.  May God bless you in your contributions.  Thank you.

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