You shall Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all mind… You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Mt. 22:37-40)
This is the greatest commandment – TO LOVE. It is just a four letter word but connotes an abundant meaning. Perhaps, it is already an abuse word; many people are using it in different purposes with a various inner motivation.
Facing the crises experience by the Filipino people of today the Catholic Church made her initiative to uplift the quality of life of the Filipino people. The pastoral exhortation for the Year of Social concerns entitle Building a Civilization of Love provides important steps for attaining a renewed society. Since we Filipino Catholics constitute the great majority of our nation, our primary responsibility is to build a just and loving society. These points that the pastoral exhortation presented really concretize the word of God that is to love ourselves and our neighbors as well. The Golden Rules, give – take principle is change into a more personal and more responsible relationship. The latter says that you do some good things so that others may also do the same but the former clearly emphasis that man should be viewed with great respect which is rooted on love. To love not because you want to be loved but to love even those people who are unlovable. With this mindset we can attain what the church aspire and it must begin with us seminarians who will be the future servant leader. As I tried to ponder on it, I have discovered that many seminary activities that somehow related to the concept presented by the pastoral exhortation and because of this I feel the sense of value of what I am doing.
By building of Character. The essential point in order to create a just and a loving society is to begin with ourselves. There is a crisis because we are the one who creates it. It is a product of our personality and so building of character is necessary. In the seminary, human formation is the foundation of all aspect of formation to heal those wounded and broken personality. Having a good character presupposes a good relationship to others. Here in the seminary, sense of camaraderie is developed through sports, community outing, programs and some communal activities. The seminary does not only aim to build community among seminarians but also with the formators. This is the unique identity of Vianney that can be seen concretely during meal time. Seminarians and formators joined together in one table. With this kind of practice more or less the formators would able to know their semianirians and the seminarians with their formators. Personally, I have a feeling of authority hang-up with formators because of my college experiences but now there is somehow a sense of transformation within me I no longer see myself keeping way with the formators. Eating together with formators is a sign of solidarity and equality. Formators are not just superiors but a companion, a friend, and a brother. Furthermore the seminary trained the seminarians to be responsible not only to the task that is given to them but also the responsibility to reach out to others. This is evident in our pastoral formation. We are sent to different apostolate areas to perform our responsibility to educate the people especially the youth. It is our duty to educate and it is a sin of omission if we failed to do what we suppose to do.
By building Capacity. The church tries find means to empower the people to have a better living. She provides training programs, institutions and organization to develop different abilities because it plays an important role in building a progressive society. In the same way, the seminary also provides a systematic and intensive academic formation to equip the seminarians for his future ministry to give justice to the needs of the faithful people of God. Propaedeutic English is an extra effort by the formators to really cater the needs to the seminarians in the field of English language. Capacity is not innate, it is acquired that must be cultivated with great attention.
By building community. The rise of terrorism and communism is very much prevalent in our times. Rallies here and there to destabilize the government. Some people wants to rule to satisfy there unquenchable thirst of power and money. Filipino people somehow getting into being individualistic “makasarili” seeing only there personal interest and not being “makabayan”. With these problems the church encourages the faithful to be responsible for our country in participating social and political matters. The seminary also invites the seminarians to be participative in all communal activities in creating a solid sense of brotherhood. Coffee break during Thursday night is one of the many activities that promote building a community. †