The call was there, but I wasn’t listening. For several years, I was studying a degree in college and enjoy the company of my family and friends, but I knew that there was something else I was supposed to be doing with my life. Kneeling at Mass and watching the priest elevate the host; I knew that this is what I called to do.
Though unworthy we all respond to the call of God. The first inclination came when we personally experience God’s love, and in that special moment, we had made a promise to offer ourselves for Him- to live and die for Christ.
So, we decided to give seminary a chance. We inquired; we took the entrance exam and prayed that we may pass the interview. Through God’s grace and mercy, He accepted us and let us experienced a life of a seminarian- a life that is consecrated to God and ONLY to God.
Some had started the journey about 5, 4, or years ago, and for some less than a month. Some are still pursuing their dreams to become holy priests, yet some had given priesthood a break- a rest.
Seminary life is hard. Oh, let me rephrase that: Seminary life is very hard. There are lots of things to be done in a very limited time. I entered the seminary in 2009, and in that year, the Holy Father declared it as Year of Priest, and with my entry, I never been happier.
A seminarian’s joy can never be found in recognition, in medals, in material possession but rather in ordinary things- through the eyes of faith, seeing the ordinary extraordinary- When one hears God’s song of love in a chirp of a bird, His playfulness in the dancing rain, and His care in warmth sunshine.
Jesus had said, unless a seed dies, it will never bear fruit. So, we who aspire to be like Christ must die. We must bring death to our selfishness, to our pride, our wants, our very selves.
Though it is not easy, but that is something we can do, and with God it is very possible. Indeed, dying is the heart of our call. By dying, we become saints to our brothers and sisters.
Though we participate in the Divine Plan, God will test us with struggles and disappointments, with worries and anxieties- and of course homesickness. And only those who are strong can survive- only those who pray more can live and continue to struggle.
Live on what you believe. Trust in Divine Providence. Aspire to become saints. As a Franciscan monk once told me, “Saints are made at the foot of the tabernacle; it is where our Mother Mary leads us”.
Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of Body and Blood of Christ. In the Eucharist, we are encountering and experiencing Jesus himself. It is He, our Lord and Master, who called us, and sent us out, to bring to others what we have received, to share Jesus with others and to be Jesus to the world around us.