Part of our human formation program is to have a counselor. In my counseling sessions, I am reminded of my true self; of who I am completely. I am known by the community to be intelligent and analytical, quiet and reserved, slow and shy, responsible and critical. But the Lord does not call just this part of me. When a man is ordained to the priesthood, or at least called initially to discern for the priesthood, it is not only one hand that God wants. God calls everything in us, the fullness of our being. My counseling sessions are often painful and tearful, but these give me a sense of inner joy and relief for these bring out in me the “hidden truth” about me that I need to integrate in myself as I journey to the call to priesthood.
Seminary formation has been showing me what should be inside my heart. The Heart of
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is different from my heart. His Heart is a Sacred Heart, a heart that can understand the pain and suffering, a heart that is always obedient and willing to follow the Father. I pray that my heart will be patterned and integrated to His Sacred Heart.
Today’s Gospel is an apt reminder for me to always be true in front of the God who calls.
To be true to myself sometimes gives me aches over the failures and weaknesses I have
experienced. All the activities in the seminary are my opportunity to know the hidden me, by going out of my comfort zones and trusting in the wisdom of the formators and the brothers of the community. As Saint Paul said to the Galatians, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” I believe that to become a true individual, one has to become or have the mind and heart of Christ. To develop a mind and a heart like Christ means to completely surrender our very lives and existence to God. The key to imitate Christ is through prayer. This is what I am constantly experiencing in my seminary formation. Prayer shows me the way to Christ. Prayer guides me to the way of Christ. This Lenten season, I am invited to be more prayerful for in opening myself to God, I can
be true to myself.
By Sem. Keith Buenaventura
THE GOSPEL TODAY
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”