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Keynote Address of Manila Abp. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association General Assembly at Grand Cobo Events Place, Marikina City

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Manila Abp. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association General Assembly
Grand Cobo Events Place, Marikina City
August 29, 2018

First of all, we want to praise God for MAPSA and for this gathering. We want to thank also the Diocese of Antipolo for hosting us and for organizing this event and most especially, to all of you who are here to… not only participate but to learn, to contribute to the learning of others.

So, the theme of our General Assembly, The Catholic School and Nurturing Community for Vocations, I believe is in line with the Year of Clergy and Consecrated People declared by the CBCP and it is part of our journey towards 2021- the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival in the Philippines of Christianity.

The theme itself tells us that Catholic Schools have a role to play in the discernment and the nurturing of vocations. There was a time; I don’t know whether it is true. There was a time when Catholic schools were one of the main sources kumbaga of vocations to priesthood and consecrated life.

Mayroon panahon po na yung mga madre pumapasok sa congregation ng mga madre na nag-administer ng kanilang eskwela. Kaya ang most of the vocations… noon, ng mga religious men and women, galing din sa kanilang mga estudyante sa kanilang schools.

Ang tanong, gano’n pa ba ngayon? Sa mga gruma-graduate sa ating Catholic schools, ilan kaya ang pumapasok sa pagpa-pari o sa religious life? Is the priesthood still one of the options for a future life even for students of Catholic schools? Kasi po ngayon, kapag tinanong natin ang maraming kabataan in terms of employment, ang mga options ay yung trabaho na makakapag-abroad, yung trabaho na kikita nang medyo malaki. Kapag yun ang naririnig ko, sabi ko, di nga mag-madre ka at mag-pari ka. Gusto mo palang mag-abroad di mag-madre ka. Gusto mo pala nang medyo maayos-ayos na kita, mag-pari ka.

Kayo naman di na mabiro. Pero kapag sinabi nila, “hindi” so it is not going abroad. It is not a comfortable life that you are looking for or are you resisting, just resisting priesthood and religious life? This is a mystery that we have to enter into. So, if we go to the theme itself, if Catholic schools are to nurture vocations, then Catholic schools must look at their vocation in another perspective.

Catholic schools also have a vocation. Catholic schools have a calling and a mission. If nurturing vocations is part of our mission, then, we have to also clarify for ourselves, what is the calling, the vocation of a Catholic School? Kapag binasa ninyo yung inyong mga vision and mission statements, nando’n ba yung nurturing and promoting vocations? O tema lang ito ng convention at pagkatapos ng tema, goodbye.

Goodbye. That’s why I am challenging ourselves, How do we look at our educational vocation if we are serious about nurturing vocations also? With the theme, the challenge of the theme, we are made to realize that the Catholic school is not just about the business of imparting knowledge, imparting information and developing skills. If the school is a nurturing community for vocations then, the school is a center of formation as well. Not just education in the narrow academic, intellectual dimension but formation in the broader sense.

The formation of persons, persons with the sense of a purpose in life. Persons who know that they have to search of a meaning to which they will donate their life, their efforts. Persons who will be good citizens who will contribute to the transformation of society. Persons who will promote the kingdom of God in their daily lives.

Schools are center of formation of persons not just education in the academic sense. And this is, I think, important to recover, to retrieve, not only because the theme calls for schools to be nurturing communities for vocations but even not for vocations. Some phenomena bring to the attention of our Catholic schools to be nurturing formative communities to help people pursue a meaning, a purpose in life.

There are reports of suicide, mga attempts and even consummated suicides among students of Catholic schools. That should bring us to examination of conscious, consciousness. Why do young people find it more meaningful to die rather than to continue living?

Which means that most probably for them, their lives are meaningless. Meaning has been depleted and they enter the abyss of darkness and abyss of darkness that we can only imagine. And in that darkness, they will say, “Nowhere to go but to lastingness.” We’re not even talking here about vocations. We’re talking about basic human existence and appreciation for life. But life is worth living only when there is a purpose, not necessarily a religious purpose. If you have someone to live for, if you have something to live for, then you live until you die for that someone. But, if you have nothing to live for, then you cut that life short. And then our young people are exposed to daily killings. Our life is not anymore valuable.

Makindatan mo lang nang hindi tama, puwede ka nang patayin. Papatayin ka walang kalaban-laban, di mo nga alam kung sino yung pumatay sayo kasi naka-bonnet. Pero bottomline ang buhay puwede pala namang mawala? Kaya yung iba sasabihin, ba’t pa ako maghihintay na ako’y patayin di ako na lang ang kikitil ng buhay ko kaysa iba pa?

And then the men falls, false meanings of life being proposed. Many diversionary tactics to make us feel that our life is good and meaningful. Yung mga tinatawag nating mga raket, nag-aagawan ang mga mundo ng advertising para sabihan tayo, “Subukan mo ito para gumanda ang buhay mo, tayo naman lalo na ang kabataan, the young people are vulnerable to all of those pretentions. Kaya yung design, world ang lagi nilang tinitingnan, ano ang magki-click sa mga bata. Yung jeans, yung maong na gutay-gutay, putol-putol na may mga hiwa, aba’y mas mahal yun kaysa doon sa buo. Mas mahal pero yung ka-generation ko, “Ano ba yan?” Pero successful yung iba na maibenta na kapag suot mo itong gutay-gutay na ito, you are alive.

Kapag ang buhok mo ganito ang style, yan buhay ka kasi maraming papansin sa iyo, maraming magpapahalaga sa iyo. So we would really locate life and its meaningfulness. So the development, the formation of a person with a purpose in life. But additionally, Catholic schools are also schools for the development of the Christian vocation and so not just for the formation but also for Christian (inaudible) So that ourselves, especially the Christians will be able to discern what is God’s purpose for them? Not just, what I want to be the purpose of my life but what is God’s purpose for us?

Where does God want us to find true life, true meaning? Katulad nung gospel last Sunday, the disciples were leaving Jesus. And Jesus turned to the 12 apostles, sabi niya, Kayo ba rin, iiwan niyo ba rin ako? No. And Peter said, “To whom shall we go, You have the words of eternal life.”

Yung mga estudyante ba natin kapag sinabi natin, mamili kayo, benediction o concert ni Madonna? Sasagutin ba nila, “Where else will we go? Tinatanong niyo pa yan. Kanino pa? Kay Madonna.”

Sana kapag graduate ng Catholic sabihin, “Sir, Ma’am nakaka-insulto ho naman yan siyempre sa adoration ako.” Sana hindi joke ‘yon ano. Sana hindi.

Am I still making sense to you? Introduction pa lang kasi ‘yon kasi I really have to spend time on that to you have rethink what Catholic education is and what a school is in terms of its vocation and the challenge is the theme ‘no; a school that nurtures vocation. Now, the word “vocation,” I know that this word, “vocation” for us in the church is primarily associated with the priesthood and consecrated life.

Kaya kapag tinanong, “Sino sa inyo may vocation? nagtataas lang ng kamay yung nag-iisip na mag-pari, mag-madre, mag-religious. But we know even from the New Testament that there are many gifts of the Holy Spirit and many different callings to different ministries. Technically, every baptized is called by God. Everyone has a vocation. All of us, together we have a common vocation, a common calling, to follow Jesus. But then, each one has a specific vocation and that vocation if it comes from the Holy Spirit and it is translated into service and ministry it is a legitimate vocation within the church.

Every vocation, specific vocation is personal. Very intimate to me hindi pu-pwedeng kukuha tayo ng substitute para sa vocation. Hindi pu-pwede na gusto ko mag-pari pero parang ayaw ko na. Magbabayad ako ng substitute para siyang ordinahan in my name. Hindi puwede yun, ikaw.

Kaya nagsisimula ang ordination rite by the calling of the name. Ikaw, at dapat sumagot ka “Present.” Simple lang kapag tinawag ka wala nang mga alibi, alibi, “Ako ba? Ako yung tinawag mo? so, present. And nobody has that identity. You, pati sa kasal, ano ho? Kaya tinatanong po? Ma’am ano ho ang pangalan ninyo? Edna. May asawa ho ba kayo? Anong pangalan ng asawa niyo? Jerwin? Jerolee? Sa kasal di ba tinatanong na, “Edna, tinatanggap mo ba si Jerolee? Hindi sinasabing, “Edna, tinatanggap mo ba itong representative ni Jerolee? Hindi, personal yan.

Every vocation is personal. Yet, this is the beauty of it all, personal vocations bloom in a communal setting because every person is also a social and communal person. So, the person recognizes and discovers the most intimate calling to her or to him in the context of the community, basic ay family. Yung barangay niyo, yung neighborhood.

Ngayon the cyber community, may mga tao walang oras makipag-community nang harapan, yung kainan o tayo magkape, tayo mamasyal. Mas marami silang ka-community sa internet. So it is becoming one community and it is quite influential.

Sinabi ko nga kanina sa mga kausap ko before coming here mayroon akong naharap na suicide case na yung suicide was guided by a mysterious person online. Inamin nung mga kaibigan nung nagpakamatay, gabi-gabi, at an appointed time, lahat sila magkakaibigan nagko-connect sa isang parang chat room and mayroong nagga-guide sa kanila. Para silang inaano yung peer counseling. Kumusta ang araw mo? At kapag may kinuwento ka na napagalitan ka ng tatay mo, ng nanay mo, itong guide ‘yun daw ang sinasabi, “Your father is an evil person. Your mother is an evil person. You must punish them at ang pinakamagandang parusa sa kanila, magpakamatay ka. Para habang buhay makonsensya sila.

Ganyan, so there is a community formed in the cyber space and that influences. This community influences choices, decisions, parang vocations, social media, television, the world of advertisement, vices, lahat yan. They are different forms of communities influencing our purpose in life, our choices in life, our so-called vocations.

Kaya po yung theme natin is very realistic. The Catholic school is only one of the many communities that can promote or hinder choices in life. Hindi naman makatarungan na ibubuhos ang lahat ng responsibilidad para sa nurturance of vocation sa Catholic school lang. Hindi ‘yon kasi hindi lang naman Catholic school ang may impluwensya sa mga tao. But, if we do not do our role, if we will leave there a vacuum, another community will occupy the space and will influence our young people.

Kaya let us occupy that space given to Catholic schools, nurturing young people so that they could make and discern choices in life.

I will give three parang possible contributions of Catholic schools in the nurturance of vocation. Ito po, the first is the Catholic schools must nurture the basic vocation to be human.

Hindi ba lahat tayo tinatawag nilalang ng Diyos at tinatawag ng Diyos para maging tao? Tunay at ganap na tao. We Filipino, we say that madaling maging tao mahirap magpakatao. But that is the calling, it is a dynamic process. We were born as human beings then, respond to the call everyday.

Be more humanlike. How? How can the school be or community nurturing the vocation to be human? In the teachings of the church, especially in Vatican II, the educational mission is first and foremost directed to human development. Most clearly through intellectual development, pero kapag sinabing intellectual development it is not just passing on information na maraming alam, kasama rin ‘yon.

Mahirap naman yung ga-graduate na “anong pangalan mo? Hindi ko po alam pero mabait ho ako. Kailangan naman may alam kasi ang tao may utak, kaya kasama sa human development lumago rin ang kaalaman. Opo, pero pakiusap ko sa ating lahat dito when we talk about intellectual development, it is not just pouring parang ine-embudo, pouring in information such that the students become walking encyclopedias ‘no. Hindi lang iyon when we talk of intellectual development sana we teach them how to think.

Yung iba ang alam lang mag-memorize, hindi marunong mag-isip. Kaya yung hindi na mame, kapag hindi kasama do’n sa minemorize hindi na alam kasi hindi tinuruan mag-isip. Pati yung mga pets nakaka-memorize, tao lang ang makakapag-isip.

May pinuntahan nga akong bahay, mayroon silang pet parang parrot o ano ba yon mayla, pagpasok namin may narinig ako, “Pangit, pangit, pangit”. Iyong Mayna kasi yun ang na-memorize niya. Siguro yung ang naririnig niya lagi doon. So intellectual development, we harness their capacity to think, to ask the right question and to search, help them to understand issues and even to be critical at the same time, creative.

Kasi kapag ang pinag-usapan na direksyon sa buhay, hindi na yan mine-memorize. Kailangan handa ka maghanap, handa ka mag-isip, handa ka magnilay. But, aside from intellectual development, part of human development, integral human development is growth in values, ethics, morals kasi po minsan yung pinaka-marurunong kapag walang values gagamitin yung kanilang karunungan sa masama.

Kaya hindi sapat na maraming alam, yung maraming alam na walang values, delikado yan. Okay, so value formation, when we talk of values, it helping our students especially to determine what is really important.

Important for humanity, important for personhood; important for the world of justice, love, truth and peace. Kasi po ang mundo natin ngayon medyo nagkakagulo yung ano ba ang mahalaga, ano ba yung kailangan, ano ba yung kapritso, ano ba yung need, ano ba yung want, what is the value.

Medyo magulo po doon, but as human beings, we can bloom as humans if we also are guided but what is important- values. But part of education is not only to instruct our young or to inform them about values.

Talking about values is one matter but choosing the value and living according to the values is another thing. Puwede akong magbigay ng isang lecture tungkol sa respect for human beings, respect for human life pero hindi pa rin automatic na dahil nakakapagsalita ako about the value of life. It’s not automatic that that is already my operating value. Halimbawa, yung teacher sasabihin niya sa estudyante, dapat punctual kayo. It’s one thing to talk about it pero sa iyo ba, value yon. Makikita iyon kung punctual ka rin. Pero kung lagi kang late, hindi mo pa rin ‘yon value. Magiging value if I choose it and I act on it repeatedly. That’s why the school community must instill that. Choosing the value of the many, many choices, I choose a value and after choosing it, I act on it repeatedly then it becomes a lifestyle. It becomes an operative value. Diyan na rin papasok ‘yong formation of conscience and being responsible.

Another aspect of human development is relationships. Guiding our students in mature, respectful and accountable relationships. That means the calling to be other centered, not self-centered, the calling to be available to serve without conditions.

The calling to love the poor, the marginalized, the neglected, the calling to be stewards of creation and stewards of human life; they’re all part of a mature relationship. Ito po yung ilang suggestions sa unang vocation, the vocation to be fully human. Kaya tingnan po natin yung ating schools, how do we nurture the vocation to be human? Tingnan natin yung ating structures, tingnan natin yung ating mga policies. Tingnan din nating yung quality of relationships in our schools. What type of being human are we promoting in our school? Sana kapag nalaman pa lang ng iba na ang isang bata ay galing sa isang Catholic school sana sabihin agad nila, graduate ka pala ng Catholic school. Sigurado ako, makatao ka.Sana.Sana. Ano pa naman yan malakas diyan modeling.

Kaya para sa ating administrators, sa ating mga teachers and even the non-teaching staff, we cannot make the vocation to be human simply a topic in a seminar, in a recollection, in a course. In the end, our young people will grow in being human if they experience true human beings in us. Lalo na mga teachers kasi 8 oras kayong kasa-kasama nung mga estudyante. Ako ho naging teacher ko iyong si Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, Jesuit. Siya yung composer nung “Pananagutan, yang mga “Papuri sa Diyos” lahat yan, “Hesus na aking kapatid”.

So, teacher ko siya and then sinasama-sama niya pa ako doon sa kanyang music ministry. So, bukod sa klase doon pati sa mga projects magkasama. Hindi ko namamalayan, di mo namamalayan you are acquiring some of his traits. Tinawag lang yung attention ko nung isa kong kaibigan sabi, “Ikaw, minsan para ka nang si Father Hontiveros.

Sabi ko hindi ah. Sabi niya, napapansin namin” Sabi ko, “Bakit? Ano ang napansin niyo?” Kasi kapag bumababa raw itong salamin ko dati raw kapag bumababa tinataas ko lang. Mula noong nakasama ko nang matagal yang si Father Hontiveros, kapag bumababa raw itong aking salamin, ang ginagawa ko ngayon, ganito. Ganun nga si Father. Biruin niyo, yung lang pagtataas ng salamin napi-pick up ko nang hindi ako tinuruan ha.

Walang seminar na ganito ninyo itataas ang salamin. Imagine yung mga ugali, yung response to the calling, magpakatao, hindi iyan nakukuha sa isang subject. Nakukuha yan through osmosis, through the atmosphere, the milieu that we generate and that’s how we nurture kaya lahat tayo dapat magtanong, “Papano ba ako bilang tao? Papaano ba ako bilang nagpapakatao?

Nakikita ng estudyante ang ating mga values. At kapag nakita nila puwede naman pala iyan, di sasabihin nila ginagawa nga nung teacher ko. Kapag nakita nila ang relationships could be irresponsible, then hindi nila yan nakikita na mali. Kapag nakita nila na yung mga teachers at tsaka yung staff really other-centered, caring then, they pick it up and they remember that and late on they will hopefully transmit that to other people.

So, ito po yung unang vocation, the vocation to be human. So we, Catholic schools must nurture the calling to be human.

The second, the calling to be disciples of Christ which does not contradict being human. Sabi nga nila, Grace builds on nature. So, kung nandyan na yung humanity, mayroon nang material, solid material for the vocation to be Christ-like, to be built. After all, Christ was fully human. Para sa atin magkasabay na yan following Christ and becoming human magkasama kasi ang model natin ng being fully human ay si Jesus Christ.

So, when we follow Jesus, we fulfill our vocation to be Christian, disciple. But, we also become more human in the way of Jesus. Hindi na yung being human na kung sino-sino ang model.

Ang model natin is the son of God who became human. Kaya how do we nurture the Christian vocation? The vocation to be Christian. Mahalaga po ‘to paulit-ulit ang mga Papa from Pope John XXIII up to Pope Francis today, a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Yung sabi nila, encounter with Jesus, a personal encounter with Jesus. Kaya importante yung catechetical classes, importante yung Christian living courses, importante yung biblical courses for us to get to know Jesus. Pero hindi lamang again intellectual kundi a living encounter that they get to know Jesus and experience Jesus in prayer, in adoration, during the mass, in the sacraments that they will make it the habit to talk to God and to befriend the Holy Ones of God.

So that they could learn from them the way to follow Jesus. Kasama po dito sa nurturance ng vocation to be a disciple of Christ is to guide our young people to love Jesus. To make Jesus for them as special friend and presence, that they will fall in love with Jesus that they will follow Jesus that they will imitate Jesus, and they will serve Jesus. So hindi lamang parang notional, conceptual knowledge of Jesus but the biblical knowledge which means union with Jesus.

Doon umuuwi, alam niyo ho, produkto rin naman ako ng parochial school, baka nandito yung ibang mga ano, elementary, high school. Ako sa St. Andrews sa Parañaque. Meron ba dito? nandiyan kayo sa taas, nasa langit na kayo ha?

Ngayon Obispo na ako kapag misa ng Obispo lagi kapag sa mga fiesta, may okasyon, solemnest, solemn mass. At may kasama yang insenso. Alam niyo ho, kahit matanda na ako kapag nagsimula akong maglagay ng insenso at umuusok para akong grade 1, grade 2. Parang bumabalik ako dun sa simbahan ng St. Andrews and I can imagine myself with my classmates kneeling. During the benediction, hindi namin naiintindihan yung mga real presence, hindi namin maipapaliwanag yang transubstantiation, but in our tender minds and hearts we were given experiences, signs, the senses were awaken, even the sense of smell.

Such that, incense, brings me back to this encounter with the Eucharistic Lord. Noon, hindi ko yun maipaliwanag, ngayon baka hindi ko pa rin maipaliwanag. Pero I know, it might be a small detail, a small thing, incense, but for an innocent child, it could speak of the presence of someone, with whom you can talk, with whom you could open your heart to Him. Minsan napapagalitan kami kasi maingay, pero pati yung shh, pati yon was teaching us reverence, you are before a presence that deserves your attentiveness, your attention, your silence. And then slowly slowly, the relationship, hopefully deepened.

Union with Christ, pero another part of Christian vocation is to love the Church. Kasi meron pong iba, sabi, ‘basta I will follow Jesus, pero ayoko makisama dyan sa community, kami na lang dalawa ni Lord’. Hindi, for us the vocation to follow Jesus who is the Head of the body, also means I will be united with His Body. Hindi naman pupuwedeng I will be united with the Head, and then putol hindi ako kaisa ng kanyang katawan.

So it is the Total Christ, Totus Christus, kahapon piyesta ni Saint Agustin, yun ang isang laging inaano ni Saint Agustin na kapag sinabing Christ, it is the whole Christ. Jesus as the head and His body. So, to love the church with all its glories and all its faults. To consider the church as our maternal womb. We were all born into Christian life from the womb of the church. The church that will be our family. The church that prays for us. The church that will share our joys and sorrows. So, we serve in the church and we serve in the name of the church.

Kasama po iyon sa Christian vocation, nurturing our calling to be Christian sa schools po natin, papano ba natin po nanu-nurture yung pagsunod kay Kristo, makilala si Kristo at tsaka mahalin ang simbahan. Maging bahagi ng buhay na simbahan, maging bahagi ng misyon ng simbahan. Minsan kasi naririnig ko, yung mga pari naman na yan mga ganyan as though the priests are the only ones na sinasabi nating church. Kapag sinabing church, lahat tayo iyon.

Kaya lahat tayo nagiging bahagi ng katawan ni Kristo. Sina-suggest ko nga po noon yung nagtuturo sa Catholic school baka maganda na mayroon ding corresponding ministry in the name of the church. Halimbawa, yung mga math teachers ‘yon, baka puwede kayong maging accountant doon sa parokya. Iyong mga music teacher sa school baka puwede kayong mag ano sa music ministry din sa parokya. Yung mga nasa canteen baka puwede kayo sa feeding program ng parokya. Yung mga principal, baka sa parokya puwede kayo doon sa pintuan, kayo yung taga-welcome, “Late ka, see me.”Iyong ministry mo, yung trabaho mo sa school, may corresponding ano rin yan doon sa church, sa ministry.

So the vocation to be human, so the schools as school of humanity. The vocation to be Christians, so the school as the school of discipleship and ecclesial membership.

And the third, strict vocational discernment. Ito po iyong “Ikaw” saan ka tinatawag ng Diyos? This is very personal na, I am a human being, I am a follower of Christ and together as one church, as one body, we have only one goal, to serve God, to love God and our neighbors, to promote the kingdom of God, to spread the word of God.

But, iba-iba ang daan para magawa yung misyon na iyon. Sabi nga ni Saint Paul, “There is one body but many members and the different members have different functions but though they are many, they are one body.

Iyong kaninang second vocation na discipleship and membership in the church, common iyan pero bawat isa maghahanap, “Ano ba ang itinatalaga ng Diyos para sa akin?” And the school must be able to help our young people. If not to complete, at least to start the process of determining their specific callings within the general, common calling to be human and the common calling to be Christian.

Malaking guidance ito kasi that means we will help the young people to achieve a decent level of self knowledge, pagkilala sa sarili. And here, because the schools have an effective, we have an a system in place of feedbacking of giving critic or even giving affirmation, grade system, evaluation. Hopefully, the school could help our students achieve a certain level, a decent level of self knowledge, makilala nila kung sino sila. That is fundamental in the discernment of a specific vocation.

Self-knowledge, but not only self-knowledge, self acceptance kasi po kung minsan kilala, alam naman nung estudyante kung sino siya pero hindi matanggap. Pero ang tanong ko baka kasi hindi nila nararamdaman s’atin na tinatanggap din natin sila for whoever they are. So, they will start or continue living in an illusion. Kapag isang tao, ilusyonado hindi makikita ang kanyang vocation, specific vocation in life. Lagi ko ‘yang napapansin maraming members ng choir, hindi makakanta. Sabi ko, anong ginagawa nito dito? Bakit ito naging member ng choir? Hindi matanggap na sintunado siya. Oo, tanggapin mo.

Magtatayo ako ng bagong ministry, hindi na choir. Parang ano kayo, yung parang sa greek theater na nagre-recite. Huwag kayong tumawa kasi ginawa ko iyan noong choir master ako nun sa seminaryo sa Tagaytay. Taon-taon kasi ano na lang yan suwertihan, may school year na halos lahat ng seminarista nakakakanta. Mayroong isang taon, parang tatlo lang yung nakakakanta kailangang tanggapin. May ordination yung ordination di ba may Lithany? Hindi nga makakanta di ginawa ko nakahanap ako nung Tagalog na lithany na mayroong description.

Mahal na Inang Maria, napupuno ka ng grasya, Ikaw ay pinagpala maging Ina ng tagapagligtas. Mayroong grupo na binabasa nila ‘yon patula, yung tatlo pakanta (SINGS) Ipanalangin mo kami. I respected them but I did not insult them. They were given a new ministry, poetry. Kaysa sa mag-ano pa, bakit ako inalis sa choir? Hindi. Hinati ko yung choir, may choir na patula, may choir na pakanta. Kaya huwag ka na mag-ambisyon kumanta, tinanggap na kita, tumula ka nang tumula, hindi kita pipigilan.

Pero without self acceptance, hindi naman kaya magpari pero pagpipilitan. Hindi, tanggapin mo. You are not less human and less worthwhile because you canoot become a priest. Just accept it. Yung namang isa, Hindi ho maga-asawa ako.” Hindi ka puwede mag-asawa, mukhang magma-madre ka. Tanggapin mo na yun. Hindi ho pangarap ko maraming anak.” Hindi, tanggapin mo yun, pang-madre ka. So, yung self acceptance, minsan ayaw, hindi mangyari kasi maraming nambo-bombard na ano-ano.

But the school through our feedback system, our system of affirmation, our reward and even critic. Hopefully kapag nagpupuna tayo sana hindi devastating. Sana affirming kahit na negative. “Alam mo may sasabihin ako sa iyo, medyo disintunado ka. Oh bakit? okay lang yun pangit naman kung lahat ng tao, singer. Kailangan din natin ng hindi nakakakanta.

Mapangit ang mundo na lahat kumakanta. Maganda yung iba naman nakakasigaw, nakaka-ano. Iyan ang gift mo, hirap na hirap nga ako. Ikaw ang una kong nakita.” Sabi niya, talaga ho, Father? Sige hindi na ako kakanta. You don’t break them, you affirm them, and then they will discover direction, their calling in life.

Pero proseso ito ho kasi nurturing, hindi ito walang recipe dito. Each one must make it a choice, how do I participate in the nurturance of self-knowledge, self acceptance. And then, also, prayer. Listening to my heart and listening to God kasi in the end it is the slow process of discovering what God is telling me through the voices of my heart, of other people, the events in my life and the community that is taking care of me. Kaya dito po malaki ang papel ng mga peers, papel nung mga teachers, papel ng guidance counselor, papel ng confessors, the whole community working together to help a person.

Parang sa high school mayroon yatang mga career, career path minsan ano ho? Puwede kaya na yung career path na yun ay kahit hindi niyo baguhin yung term, career path. Pero puwede kaya at the back of your minds na gawin iyon talaga as a process to help defect and nurture different vocations, specific vocations in the church.

Nung isang araw ho nag-misa ako sa isang parokya ginagawa ko na iyan pagkakatapos kapag may mga humahalik ng kamay, sino dito magpa-pari? Sino dito magma-madre? May humalik ng kamay, sabi ko, “Ikaw mukhang magpa-pari ka. Naano yung bata, sabi niya, Cardinal 3 years ago sa misa mo sa Quiapo, humalik ako ng kamay, sinabi mo rin yan sa akin. Sabi ko Talaga? Sabi niya, natatakot tuloy ako. Huwag kang matakot sabi ko, mukhang nagsasalita ang Diyos sa iyo. Kasi hindi naman kita kilala, nasasalubong lang kita malay ko ba na nasabihan na kita niyan.

Tawa siya nang tawa, sabi ko huwag kang tumawa, nasa akin ang huling halakhak. Pero may times you trust your gut na I don’t know na… what is my heart telling me. Kapag may nakikita ko diyan, bakit ko nasasabi, Ikaw mukhang magpa-pari and mukhang may consistency. Hindi ko naman siya kilala, so you in the schools, part of it is cannot be reciped, a lot of it is the purity of your heart also. Are bent on nurturing their humanity?

Their Christian life and their specific calling. Many young people honestly, earnestly are looking for their place in the church and in the world. But, it’s a life that’s very confusing and confused. Yung mga ka-edad ko masuwerte pa rin tayo kasi yung panahon natin medyo simple ang buhay, hindi kumplikado ang magdesisyon. Ang toothpaste colgate lang yan, ang colgate toothpaste lang yan.

Kapag kailangan mo ng toothpaste, colgate yan. Ngayon iba ibang flavor ng colgate, iba ibang flavor ng happee, iba ibang flavor ng close up, iba ibang ganyan. Nandun ka ano ba dito? No, toothpaste lang yan. Papano na yung mga mas malalalim pang bahagi ng buhay. So, let us not be impatient with them. Let us emphatize with them and let us patiently nurture the desire to be human, to be Christian and to find their specific calling based on their gifts, based on who they are, based on God’s choice for them.

So, that they could bloom as a human being, as a Christian, and also, as hopefully, a priest, a sister, a married person, a teacher, a tindera, a policeman, as a driver, as a military person, as a politician. Sana kapag nakita nila yung papel nila dun, they will exercise their work, their vocation, fully human and fully Christian.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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