It has been a tradition in the seminary to do a “mini-sermon” or sharing of reflection during the Holy Mass whenever one is celebrating his birthday. I never had my chance to deliver one since my birthday always fall on the day when seminarians are still on their summer vacation.
So here am I, writing and sharing to you what I am suppose to deliver in front of the congregation. Join me in my reflection and thanksgiving as I celebrate my 22nd birthday.
It’s an open secret to the people whom I met in the internet that I am a Seminarian, a Prayle-wannabe. And only a few handfuls knew my whole story.
It has been more than 2 years since I left the Seminary to undergo an advised regency – or break – to fix myself in the real world. And supposedly, this year will be my return to pursue my 5-year theological studies before being ordained a deacon, and eventually, a Prayle (or a Damaso, depending on how you view my comrades).
I chose not to return this year for personal reasons. And I still don’t know if I would still return in the seminary to pursue my vocation and dream of being a Priest. Let me share with you some of my reasons.
First, my two (2) years have been wasted. I have no permanent job much more an “alternative career” to weigh down my options if I am really for the Priesthood or not. I only have had contractual jobs, sidelines, and rakets. My last job as an editor was home-based so I had no notion of office, officemates, workplace, etc. Currently, I am still looking for a company to work at and who will give me experience and lessons needed for my growth. (Yes, I am not after for the salary and compensations.)
Second, since I wasted my two years, I still lack the experience which will measure my growth into maturity and balance between Priesthood and a life of an ordinary bachelor. When I graduated last 2009, I promised myself that I will travel, meet new people and do things that I have been deprived of during my eight (8) years in the Seminary. I want to do”a million other things”.
Third, during the past 2 years, I have done things which are not appropriate for a Prayle-wannabe like me. I hurt people. And I still haven’t fixed those broken relationships yet. I don’t want to return to the seminary with a heavy heart and a feeling of guilt.
Fourth, I am still undecided with my vocation. Following the principle in ethics “in doubt, do not act”; I do not want to enter the seminary with a disposition of doubt. I think it will be unfair to God, to the Church, and to her people if I leave the Priesthood just because I pursue my theological studies without being sure of myself (Manangs and those who are forcing me to return immediately to the Seminary, I hope you can read this).
Those are the four major reasons why I opted not to return to the Seminary this year.
But as in all journey, life must go on. Today, I am celebrating my twenty second birthday. Some would say that I look older than my actual age. Some, especially bus conductors and jeepney barkers, would call me “Totoy”.
But if you would ask me, I still feel that I am the same 19-year old young man who graduated in the Seminary more than two years ago. I’m just 37.4 pounds heavier (and yes, I know that it is not healthy).
My life today is not much different from where I left. I am currently a Sunday School teacher in our Parish. Teaching catechism to children ages 12 and below gives me a sense of fulfillment. It is a noble apostolate. I also call it as a “defense Against the Dark Arts” post since teaching those kids prayers and Jesus Christ, his teachings of light and truth, is the best defense against the evil one.
Beat that Severus Snape!
Despite all the bitterness, drama and tragedy, I am still thankful for the 2 years outside that the Prayles gave me to explore the real world. Though lack in experience and incomplete, I have learned to see life in a different perspective. I have learned to see the reality in the eyes of ordinary people - away from the comfort zones of the seminary. My life in the seminary is quite spoon fed. I have learned here in the real world to stand and to do things on my own.
I am thankful to the people who became part of my journey for this past 2 years outside the Seminary. The nurses and staff of ASEAN RISK, Lipid Research Unit of Philippine General Hospital where I first worked. Technically. My comrades, my brother seminarians, my support group who continue to guide their prodigal brother. My Titas, Ates, and Kuyas in Sunday School who continue to inspire me to return to the seminary. To my former boss in the publishing company, thank you for the opportunity Sir Eugene. To the people whom I met here in David Karp’s cyber empire, most especially to the eLBikada - thank you for the laughters, tears, booze, smoke, and love.
I would also like to thank the people who became part of my journey for 22 years.My parents, my family, and the Prayles (where I spent more than half of my life living with them).
I would also like to ask for forgiveness to the people whom I hurt - consciously and unconsciously. I hope we can start a new beginning.
This journey of 22 years has been fun. And I would like to start a new journey with hopes and dreams that this will also be a good one. Let’s aim for 90 years? Why not/ If the Japanese can do it, why can’t I?
Thank you everyone for (wasting) spending your time reading this. I hope that you will also be part of my journey, Let’s walk together into the fullness of life.
May God bless us all today, tomorrow, and forever. Padayon!