Monday, October 18, 2004

Letter from a seminarian

Letter from a seminarian

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Monday, October 18, 2004 12:58 AM

A while ago, I gave a talk about the tough demands of the priesthood to a group of major seminarians. I threw one challenge after another at them. I emphasized just how difficult it is to live the priestly lifestyle as it should be. Too many seminarians have a lot of naïve ideas about what it takes to be a quality priest, a priest who is a man of God.

Later, I received an e-mail from one of the seminarians who attended that talk. I want to share it with you because it reflects all that is good, noble and inspiring in the commitment of seminarians who want to serve God and His people for all the right reasons.

* * *

Dear Bob:

I just want to thank you for your great concern for the mother church we both love. The church that was entrusted in our charge! I was deeply moved by the woundedness of our priests today. Now at least I know the whole reality of the priesthood that I so desire to receive. Thank you very much.

I have become more aware of its demands and was challenged to do more and to change the things I have been doing mechanically.

Sometimes, things in the seminary become so familiar that most of us fail to see their importance and take them for granted. In my prayers today and every time I sit or kneel inside the chapel, I bear all those reminders you have given me.

At the start of the school year during the Holy Spirit mass here, I asked for one thing from the Lord. I don’t know why I asked that but I felt the need for it. That is the gift of courage. After you came here. I realized why God inspired me to ask for it. It is really needed badly! And I thank God too for making me realize that. God has something to say now for all of us and I will let Him speak! And I will listen.

I also believe that the spirit is moving now, putting things in order once again, and I want to become a part of it. Bob, there are thousands of reasons to become worried and afraid, but I will take the risk, the challenge if this is the only way to please God whom I believe called me to serve Him.

From my childhood I dreamed of nothing but to become a priest and dreamt of being a martyr (like Bishop Romero). Now I am 24 years of age and I still want it. I tried hard to become a good seminarian and journeyed a lot. My many failures saddened the Lord, but His inspirations kept me on my feet. But I don’t know how long it will take me. There are so many uncertainties in life, but there is only one thing I am certain of: that God loves me.

In my whole life, I felt God and I still feel Him working in my life, and I don’t want to lose my grip on that experience. And yet, I cannot know what lies ahead. I want the best for my priesthood, but I cannot do it alone. I need people around me, people who constantly remind me to keep God’s greatest gift, the priesthood.I thought before that the priesthood doesn’t have any problem at all simply because it was God’s, but I was wrong. Anyone who would take it must, at the same time, carry the cross that Jesus carried and is still carrying until now. It is because of this that a simple dream that I had in my childhood will become a mission to fulfill. God Bless Us All!

Bro. Marchito H. Oriño
Prelature of Libmanan

* * *

Yes, Marchito, it’s true that “there are thousands of reasons to become worried and afraid.” This is why it is so inspiring to read your letter and feel the sincerity with which you wrote it. I can sense that you are on fire with God’s love and are determined to serve Him and God’s people in ways that are befitting of your high calling.

Your ability to do this will depend on how close you stay to the Lord you insist you love so dearly. Unless you can do this by maintaining a deeply rooted spirituality that is nurtured by an intense, I repeat, intense prayer life, you will fail and all those beautiful ideals found in your message will be thrown by the wayside.

When you leave the seminary, it will be testing time. This is when you will have to deal with multiple temptations, distractions and every sort of obstacles to keeping your spirituality on track.

This is why nothing, I repeat, nothing must be allowed to get in the way of your prayer life. It is what will sustain you and keep you close to God. Nothing else can do so.

We need more seminarians like you who are burning with zeal and whose noble ideals urge you on to serve God and us, His people. I wish you all God’s very best.


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