Pillars of Seminary Life

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Called to Love "Unconditionally"

As a Fourth Year Seminarian in the initial stage of formation, I have experienced being assigned to different apostolate areas: San Vicente, Kalayaan, and Southville 8C in Montalban. I have also served in Botocan (one of APC's of PLDM - Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy) as I have lived there for two months.

Being assigned to different areas made me realized that there are two kinds of people in the area: those who love you and those who don't care for you.


    These people are sweet, kind and affectionate. They are the comfort zone to every seminarian for they are deemed to be inspiring and encourage him to persevere. I am more connected to these people because I received affections that every person needs.


     These people are grumpy, demanding, mean and insensitive. They are the uncomfortable zone to every seminarian for they are deemed to be challenging. I am more distant to these people because I felt discouraged, inefficient, unimportant, failure and disappointment.

Upon hearing the homily of Fr. Restituto Audal, one of my formators, I realized an important characteristic of a missionary, A MAN OF SACRIFICE which for him has to find the lost sheep of Israel. Most lost sheep are those people who don’t care for you. Sadly speaking, I have to bear the cross of serving them even they would not repay you, ignore you, hurt you, and degrade you.

How would I be a missionary if the human tendency is to seek comfort? – Then the definition of a missionary by Saint Anthony Mary Claret would answer: “ Nothing daunts him: he delights in privations, welcomes work, embraces sacrifices, smiles at slander, rejoices in all the torments and sorrows he suffers, and glories in the cross of Jesus Christ.” One should rejoice if he is tormented, smile if slandered. That is a beautiful irony of being a true servant of the WORD because for a missionary nothing should daunt him to spread the LOVE of God.

I have to bear with the calling to become a missionary as I, too, respond to the call of loving “unconditionally.” Even though it’s hard but a missionary would always be called for transcendence as to go beyond the line of humanity.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Halina't Sama-Sama

Halina’t sama-sama
Purihin natin Siya 
Halina’t sama-sama 
Awitan natin Siya 

Ipalakpak ang inyong kamay
Itaas at ikaway 
Lahat ay magsabing Diyos ay buhay 

Kumayaw-kayaw, sumayaw-sayaw 
Sumayaw-sayaw, kumayaw-kayaw
Kumayaw-kayaw, sumayaw-sayaw
At magpapuri sa ating Diyos

Kumayaw-kayaw, sumayaw-sayaw 
Sumayaw-sayaw, kumayaw-kayaw
Kumayaw-kayaw, sumayaw-sayaw
ng papuri

This song has been the OST of our batch. Since I had been a Freshman, we had been noted to be the leaders of such craziness in the seminary.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Thousand Needs and Smiles of Kalayaan

“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.”
-Denis Waitly

I was assigned to San Vicente before and there I found fascination with the things I’m doing. When 2nd Semester came, the reshuffling of areas happened. I felt frustrated because I have a new area and I felt that I haven’t finished what I have started there. However, I should accept it because there’s no way of rejecting it. Moreover, that time I learned that my area is Kalayaan. Whenever I heard stories about Kalayaan I can’t miss hearing the words “No lunch.” That’s why my initial implication to Kalayaan is that the work is hard.

It was the third Sunday of October 2014 when I’ve been to Kalayaan. I never expected that my first day in the area would change my perspective on the mission I am assigned. When I was in San Vicente I can say, yes, we do eat lunch there, and the mission we’re doing was OK, but in Kalayaan even though no lunch, the call for mission out-stands. I felt ashamed of the prejudices I have because what defines the real mission is not the fact that someone sustains our needs, but the fact that someone shares the needs and smiles. Needs and Smiles, these two things made me thought a lot of times. 

Smiles. When I got there, I was welcomed with a smile. When we walked for an area orientation, smiles are what I received. What can I ask for more from them, if a single smile makes my day, and a thousand smiles make my life? Though it’s not a literal thousand, looking from the smiles of some people, they worth thousands. I feel blessed and came to realize I love now this area and it deserves something special from me. I am challenged to justify what they have given to us and for that, I am really willing to give my best efforts and time for them. Even though, I’ve been there for only two days (the third Sunday of October and November) the calling for the mission is always heard.

Needs. Facing the problems of the people there, I can say it is a financial matter. The challenge is posed because of the sharing of stories they have. The people are rich in spirituality that they can say it is the will of God. There was an old lady who lives in her house all alone and inflicted with an illness.  When we came to her, she has shown her medicines, prescriptions, bills, etc. It really broke my heart to see that kind of condition. She is alone in life and no one supports her. She said, “Kakatapos ko nga lang umiyak, buti nga at nabisita kayo’t gumaan ang loob ko.” That time I realize that we somehow bring joy to some people in the places we have been assigned. We are capable of touching lives.

I am willing to walk an extra mile for the people of Kalayaan. The BEC coordinator is enthusiastic, their Vice-Coordinator is so caring, the people indeed there are full of good values which I’m more inspired to continue my vocation. The two visits I had there left a great impact on my personality and spirituality. It also brought me to other questions such as, how to be a missionary to them? What are those things that can I do more? and How can I return the goodness they have shown me?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Socrates’ “Know Thyself and My Vocational Growth”

The calling of man is inevitable. Everyone has its call. Everyone has its path to take. Everyone has to determine for himself the life, the life that he should be living. The call or vocation is the one’s fulfillment in life.

As the river flows and the sun shines, many things will grow. The plant that is nourished with water and energized by the sun as well as the animals that the same causes affects them in their growth. Knowing oneself or simply self-examination, too, affects my vocational growth. Self-examination is the sun that gives light to my being. My being that was darkened, the being that was hidden. Now it is a being illumined and opened. Even the day of the dawn of Socrates in my life, self-examination is no longer new to me. I came to know Socrates when I got in touched with philosophy, but self-examination was practiced for I came to determine my vocation. Knowing oneself is like stairs of events. It is based upon levels. Each level will prepare me for the other level which is more difficult and more concentration requires. My vocation grows as I know myself. The moment that I determined my vocation opened the avenue of maturity. Maturity in a way that my life must have direction, must have conviction and must have the satisfaction of who I am, where I am and what I can do. Then self-examination again, then it brought me to another level and so on and so forth.

Self-examination is integral to vocation. It is a process. It is dynamic. Knowing oneself will be unlimited, and on the time that I’ll die then it would stop.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Obedient Heroism

A Reflection about the Book of Esther

Esther, a courageous Jewish woman. She was the one who replaced Vashti from her throne. By her grace and beauty, she captivated the king. Her story made me think about my life as a seminarian and as a Christian.

As I became a Claretian seminarian, I learned and knew the dos and don’ts. Queen Vashti was dethroned because of her disobedience and ignorance. In seminary, obedience is a very important virtue that each seminarian should possess. We obey because there is a commandment and that commandment came from an authority. The formators are the authorities in the seminary. I am trying not to be like Vashti, rather follow Esther who knows how to follow rules. I am not a perfect follower. I admit that I became Vashti sometimes. It’s not my intention to break the rules. I just became tired of following rules and I, too have some break, a rest. I admit that I became late, sometimes I didn’t submit my work on time, and I became noisy and insensitive. I always do my best to abide the rules, but sometimes it made me ask – What is the need for this kind of rules? Sometimes I want to ignore it, reject it and not follow it. I came to realize if I’ll ignore it, reject it and won’t follow it what would happen to my life. For certain it would make me worse. For sure it won’t help me to become a good person. I forgot that the rules are not there just to obey. Rules are there as an expression of love, expressed concern. Rules help people to be good. To follow rules is to understand also the essence, of why the rule is made. I have known these and why I became ignorant? The time I became ignorant was also the time I forgot the essence of rules. I forgot that they are expressions of love and concern for me. It’s like I had slapped on my left-and-right cheek when I became ignorant. I felt ashamed and because of it, I may be dethroned as well. There is no perfect follower, but I’m striving hard to be obedient as I need time for practice and mastery.

To be a great follower requires practice and mastery, but being a Christian is no need. Living as Christian is the one that requires practice and mastery. To live as Christian is to be brave. When her cousin Mordecai told Esther that the Jews, her race was in danger of termination, she made a move to save them. The first thing she did was to pray to Yahweh. Then after that, she dressed well and met the king. Meeting the king without an appointment was very dangerous that once violated, the violator’s life is at risk. Even Esther knew this danger and she was ready to sacrifice herself to save the Jews. Just like being Christian. To live as Christian, we entailed ourselves to be brave, to be courageous. When we have problems, we often than not we pray. After praying is the time to face the challenge. To face the challenge is to dress well like Esther. We should be prepared. Challenges we encounter requires our bravery to overcome it. We always encounter challenges in our daily lives. Those challenges we have is to sacrifice. We experienced being deprived or the one to stand firm to fight. Being brave is to sacrifice. Being brave is to be deprived and stand firm to fight. When we have problems, we are tested for what the things we can sacrifice. If we sacrifice things and is very painful for us the Lord knows that. He is the one to return good things after our losses. Even Esther saved the Jews and hadn’t so much loss maybe it’s because she suffered already. She was in suffering when she was not with her family. She was in suffering when she became queen as she needs to be faithful to the commandments. Maybe the Lord intervened with the king’s decision whether to save or not the Jews. Maybe the Lord repaid Esther’s sacrifices and bravery and He answered her prayer. Just like Esther, I wish I could be faithful as she was. I wish I will be a faithful Christian. After that Esther asked for a Thanksgiving feast. It shows after facing a problem we shouldn’t forget to give thanks to our God.

To become a hero doesn’t mean to fight with a sword and kill the enemies. Let us say our enemies are our problems. We can become a hero just like Esther who is obedient. Though obedience we are trained to be patient. If we become patient we see the ways to overcome. We see the ways to fight. Being a hero is to be BRAVE. To overcome problems in life is to be obedient, which leads to patience, faithfulness and bravery, which teach us to sacrifice great things.