We have journeyed quite far now and yet our destination still seems endless. We have sacrificed our time and energy, our whole self because we are convinced that God had called us and He invited us to take a route to a path less traveled. In our venture, we come across the warm of friendship, fraternity, respect and love. Day after day, we learned to reveal our true self and came out from our shell of insecurities and small concerns.
Allow me to site an example from one of my best friends – He was once very shy…he even had difficulty of addressing his concerns, but now, he become comedian of our community- he’s everybody’s best friend. As the butterfly morph from an itchy caterpillar so as we transformed from our cocoon through the grace of God into seminarians…into priest-in-training.
We become seminarians not because we survived the initiation, not because we’re smart nor handsome, or because we pass a certain standard, and truly not because of our love for God… Indeed, our love is weak, and limited…but because of God’s unconditional love for us. He let His divine blood flow through our veins and so we partake in His divinity. As a Franciscan monk once said, “We become what we eat…we become god-like”. Remember the first day you set your foot on the seminary ground? But before that historic event, have you remember how you look forward for months, from the day of your search-in and interview and how you were so excited if you pass or not until you receive the letter that tells you what to bring…I presume it caused you difficulty of sleeping, and sometimes daydream what would a seminary life look like? Funny…I felt that too. Despite our doubts and fears, we still felt confident and assured that everything will turn okay. Remember the first faces you had met and felt comfortable with, “ang magka vibes”. As our Fr. Rector would coined it, “Birds of the same feather look alike”. Now, how’s your relationship going? Are you still each other’s BFF? Through the years we learn to discover our talents, lately Hansson find out he has the voice for opera. We even enhanced the little talents we have…writing, speaking, singing, dancing and many more… I guess being swift as a ninja could be classified as those. It is also an undeniable fact that as a seminarian grow in years his heart also expands…”Si Dodoy nga sip-onon ug yagit, karon naka-uyab na”. It is unimaginable- how a seminarian can manage having two relationships at the same time- relationship with his 2 Gfs- his God-friend and his girlfriend. I used to think that a seminarian should not have girlfriends…but now I learned that having girlfriends or not doesn’t matter at all… what matters most is how we respond to the call of God which is love- we are equated in our faithfulness and fidelity to that call every day. It is also a common scenario where seminarians would share their romantic escapades and sometimes would just craft stories to brag out that when it comes to girls…he has the most talented tongue…
Even the clothes we wear have been improved. Before, our clothes can’t make our closets half full but now…”asenso na ni bai”. From the give-away shirts, advertisement shirts, or even political ads shirts, now we have bench, penshoppe, and more bizarre brands to name. Even our toiletries become complicated…before were just using body soap but now…here comes ponds, skin white, dove, and only Belo touches my skin…what touches yours?
Indeed, a life of a seminarian could be tough and challenging…and in constant change.
There’s a particular seminarian that I am admiring the most… Imagine he gave his money intended for his fare in order that the other seminarian could take the exam…how heroic. There were also times that when I saw him strolling on the busy street of the city, he would just wear plain clothes- a slack, a vintage polo, and paired it with his uncomfortable sandals. If I were in his case…never in my life I would wear those…it doesn’t passed my style…but he doesn’t mind…he doesn’t care what people would think about him because he’s busy thinking about God. While I’m eager to hunt for sale…he’s also eager to meet new people to touch, to inspire. When I’m with him, the tooth of my stupidity consumes me…and I left naked.
Last week I bought a pair of clothes…when I try them on…my best friend lamented…”Ahh…new again?” .“My parents work 8 hours a day in order that they may send their children to a good school, provide them with good food, and of course clothe them. Parents are proud when they see their children look good”, was my reply. And yet he was not convinced and he even added…”Khim if you are going to be a priest you’ll be materialistic”. His words somewhat paralyzed me and deep inside my mind I felt so stupid. Why not giving my extra allowance to the other seminarian who needs it the most? I guess my parents wouldn’t mind where I spend my allowance…I know they will be more proud of me even seeing their only son wearing tattered shirts and yet clothing someone.
My journey of priesthood may still be long…but having survived the waves of difficulties and trials I know it is possible….My seminary journey taught me great lessons and mold me to be what I am now. I am very grateful for the gift of vocation…Sometimes…I still can’t figure it out why had God chose me among many others. Honestly, I cannot imagine a life better than this. Despite my weaknesses, limitations and failures, God is still confident in me. I love Him but He loves me more.
Tomorrow will be the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and He will grant our prayers on that special day. As Jesus had said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be open unto you” What will you ask from Him? Me, I’ll ask Him to turn my heart like His- humble and meek.