Obviously my vocation is not the same with story in the movie. But there is one common denominator that caused me and Evan to really choose and live a life that does not conform to what is normal. It is the power of God that would transform the life of the person; a power which is incomprehensible by human capacity.
I am 22 years old right now, with a bachelor’s degree. In the normal way of life after graduation, people would look for a stable job for living and at a certain point of maturity decides to settle down and raise a family. But where I am right now? I am still a student and chose to remain being a student and sacrifice even at the middle of the night reading some articles, bible, church documents, composing essays for theological reflections and spend more time in studying and memorizing Greek vocabularies while most of my contemporaries have already landed a job and gained their monthly salary, setting in a comfortable office The world is offering bigger opportunities but why I still chose to stay in the vicinity of the seminary. Sometimes I was ashamed to ask financial assistance to my parents because I know in my heart that they already accomplish their obligation to send me to school and finish a degree. Supposedly, it is already my time to help them in providing the needs of our family. I understand when people asked me “why I chose this “impractical” way of life?” It is simply because of the POWER that I feel deep within; a power of pure grace that is not self-generated or a matter of imagination or fantasy.
This power was not only working in me but it was also the same power that made the early Christians zealous in proclaiming the word of God even on the midst of threats and violence. It was also the same power that inspires the evangelist to write the sacred scripture. This power is still present in this present time. It is this power that moved the formators to work hard in forming the seminarians in a holistic manner. Before when I saw older priest and even now with Fr. Antonio for example, I would really ask myself how this person reached this far in his ministry? Where did he get his strength that until now he is still active in his ministry? But now I realized it is because of this power that made them survive. It is this power that made them like an athlete who runs the race with hearts ablaze. Bisan tigulang na, maglisod na ug buhat sa mga buluhaton pero padayon pa gihapon sa pagserbisyo isip alagad sa simbahan. In other words, tumanda na’t nakuba pero nandyan parin sila. There presence is really a concrete evidence of God’s grace that is given to man. Yes, I would agree I am not qualified with what it is to be an ideal seminarian but by the grace of God working in me my faith tells me and gives me strength that eventually I would be standing in front of the congregation as a visible instrument of His presence. Indeed, God did not call the qualified but he qualifies the called.
Tempus fugit. Time flies. The semester is about to end but the memory seem to be so fresh when I first saw my classmates carrying their bags and busy putting up their things in their cabinets. The time wherein Cocoy first decided to leave the formation and just recently when all shared the loneliness brought about by the decision of Bemboy to leave the house of Xavier. Sometimes I would ask myself, who will be the next? Ako? Siya? Sila? Kami?... only God knows the answer. But whatever happens I am still holding on to my dream with earnest prayer that in an unexpected and surprise moment of our lives we, the Panis batch, will be together with Fr. Manol breaking bread in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The power made it happen!
Till the ends of my days, O Lord,
I will bless your name.
Sing your praise, give you thanks,
All my days.
You have blessed me with good things and plenty
And surround my table with friends
Their love and their laughter enrich me; together we sing…