You know what; through the years of survival I have realized that life is a matter of choice – whether to live and to give up. And in my case, I chose to live and survive because I believe that if I give up, I would never see the purpose that waits to be discovered with every trial. If I say it’s over, I would never experience ultimate happiness, if I never had the courage to face the challenges one could ever feel. Your life now is the product of your choices. The beauty of it is not about how to live in but on how to survive in uncertain times.
WHY I WISH TO BECOME A PRIEST
I guess my first thought of becoming a Priest was when I was in grade school. I didn’t exactly know what priesthood means but I really like and wanted to wear that white uniform. I am a devotee to Sr. Sto. Niño (a child image of Jesus), and I regularly attended mass on the Sabbath day. In our sitio (a small community within the barangay), I led all young children in our community bringing with us the statue of Sr. Sto. Niño, and the Virgin Mary to neighboring households for a visit and rosary.
My first inkling that God called me was when I was in my senior high school. One day during our Religion class, we had seminarian visitors who talked about priesthood life. I was really struck by the lyrics of the song “Here I am” which they played. “I, who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send? In that instance I felt a passionate desire to follow him, and be that instrument that will bear His light upon His people.
For me, being a person in a religious community is to continue to walk the steps of Jesus on Earth. Becoming a priest is just like Mary’s sister – Martha who chose the right path which is to sit beside the Lord at his feet and listen to Him speak. That is what I want to be, to live life with a purpose, to do something great for God and to answer His call and say, “Here I am, Lord!”
Despite that my parents don’t have enough source of income to educate me to college, still I believe that God will make way and even poverty would not be a hindrance. The determination is still alive in my heart waiting for the right time for it to be realized.
After I graduated from high school I was employed at UTAP (United Technologies Automotive Philippines, Inc.) and now known as Lear Automotive (EEDS) Philippines, Inc. Being the eldest of five, I took the responsibility of supporting my family and tried to make both ends meet w/ my small income. I am financially responsible for the studies (elementary & high school) of my brothers and sisters. In addition to providing for their schooling, I also took care of their daily allowance, and school projects. I’m also obliged to provide all of the basic necessities at home.
I only had the chance to pursue my college education in 1994 by attending night school. However during hard times, I am forced to stop my schooling since I have to prioritize the needs of my family. I could only enroll back for the next semester when I already have enough funds.
My deep love of God is a big boost despite all these sacrifices and inspired me to do something with my life that will make a difference. In 1999 I became an active member of the Charismatic community, SCI (Servant Community International) in Virgin De Regla Parish, Lapu‑Lapu City with the spiritual guidance of Rev. Fr. Rudy Ibale, MSC. This membership involves me in various ministerial activities such as visiting the sick, people in prison and all those who need spiritual healing. Aside from that, I also exercise these ministries through designing Internet web sites to provide wonderful and uplifting spiritual messages to those who need support. I also send inspirational emails through group mailing lists with approximately 100 persons receiving weekly inspirational and uplifting information. I also posted these weekly updates on my Bulletin Board at work to share this information w/ LEAR colleagues. I spearheaded the composition of a solicitation letter entitled “Tabang Kauban” that was now commonly practiced throughout Lear Cebu Operation which asked for prayers and monetary support to help those associates and their loved ones in times of need.
I have been able to compile a collection of experiences from year 1999 to 2003 into a book entitled “Life is a Beautiful Journey” with the purpose of uplifting the hearts and minds of others. The book aims to inspire them and to share their gifts, touch other lives and bring light to those who are in the dark.
Being a search-inner I experienced the community life of the Society of Divine Word, and I had known the charisma of different congregations like Xavierian Missionaries, Piarist Priest, Missionaries of Sacred Heart, Carmelite Priest, PACEM, and Oblates of Virgin Mary. However, since I’m already 36 years old and was not able to finish college, my application to these congregations has never been successful. Last 2003, I was invited by Fr. Tetlow from the Diocese of Jacksonville, Florida, USA for an interview and psychological exam but unfortunately I was denied in the US embassy during my appearance.
I felt disappointed considering all the efforts I have done, wherein I gradually lost my prayer life. That is then the time I started going with friends going bar hopping, taking drugs & engaging with relationship in both sexes. I thought I would find happiness with all these things but there is still an emptiness inside me. Then I realized that only God could fill in this empty life. Now, I know deep in my heart what my mission is and that is to follow and serve Him which for me to be fully happy. One of my lessons I’ve learned from my past experiences is to be patient because maybe it could be that my time has not come yet.
I believe that every human life has a God-given purpose and I am still waiting for mine. I am willing to sacrifice and be faithful to follow the steps of Jesus in volunteering to serve others as I have served my family. I want my life to be significant and pleasing before God and that is to bear the light of Jesus to the world filled with darkness.