This morning I joined the staff and students of our "Good Shepherd Nursing College" for the Graduation Ceremony. It was the first time since I became bishop of Manzini last January 2014.
Reflecting on the challenges the students will face in their service I shared this with them:
"There is also another challenge which is and will be there all the time. The challenge not to separate your life and your faith. The challenge to separate your professional work and your faith. It is quite a challenge!
- you prayed to God you'd get a place at this Nursing College,
- you thanked God when you got it,
- you prayed each time you had to write an exam (no doubt about this!) and
- you praise the Lord today as you are graduating like you did with the opening hymn.
- You might even pray God to help get a job and a good one.
So, once you get it, do not leave God outside your work. He is the one who called you to be a nurse. He is the one who supported you all the way so that this day may be a reality.
IBe a Christian nurses. Always remember you are Christian nurses formed at a Catholic education centre.
As Fr Makama said in the opening prayer, make sure you show the heart of Jesus to the people. Be Jesus to the people: full of mercy, full of compassion, full of understanding.
Remember the times you were sick and you needed someone to look after you. It will help you understand what people expect from you. Be a clear sign of God's love for the people who put their lives in your hands.
Respect life. Defend life. Protect life.
Remember to help the poor, to care for the poor... and I would like to propose one way you can do this:
'Would you consider starting a bursary fund to support poor students? Would you consider contributing to it from your own salaries? I believe this is what our faith calls us to do.'
This would be a very practical way to thank God for his call, for his grace, for his love. While very easily we might point out to challenges “others” have to deal with (the Church, the College, Government) not leaving God out of your work is yours and I will be praying daily you live your faith to the full.