Sunday, July 13, 2008

MATTHEW 13:1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.

And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear."

The disciples approached him and said, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He said to them in reply, "Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted, and I heal them.

"But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

"Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."


First of all, let me begin today's post with a very BIG thank you for all the people who prayed for my attending the Jesuit Vocation Seminar. I am very happy that this blog serves as a venue for some people to seek God and at the same time join me in my prayers for my discernment process. Today's seminar was held at the CLC Building, Ateneo de Manila University.

For quite a while, I have been given the chance to interact with members of the Society, and for some weird reason I haven't been given the grace to formally start my vocation discernment. With today's seminar I am very happy that God had finally allowed me to take this first formal step into the journey towards my vocation.

As I made my way to the Ateneo, I was not very sure what to expect. Much so with what to feel after I had gone through the talks, the videos and the sharings from different members of the Society. But I am again very thankful because of the depth with which this call had made itself felt within my soul. I am very happy to feel the call intensify.

Bro. Harvey Mateo, SJ (our group facilitator), my co-participants Mark and Lear, me.

Many thoughts circulated during the seminar, but most especially with how I view my own spirituality. These questions were particularly in my mind, and I would like to enumerate them one by one:

1) Am I too proud of the spiritual growth that I feel I have attained? It is understandable that the opportunity to attend the seminar was presented to each of us participants during the different phases of our own individual discernment processes. But this is what I dread to feel: feeling too confident of the knowledge that my personal search, apart from activities such as this seminar, has allowed me to know.

You see, with this discernment thing, my inner curiosity has propelled me to seek more information about the vocation, and particularly, about the Society and Ignatian spirituality. Sometimes, even coincidence (therefore God's will)!

Just yesterday, as I was accompanying my seminarian-brother to buy his prayerbook at the local Catholic bookstore, we qualified for a free-book promo, and we were given a chance to choose a title. I randomly chose "Men of God, Men for Others" without really knowing what the book might be about. I then found out that it was a book of transcribed interviews with Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ; the former Superior-General of the Society! And the book, in particular, was about the Jesuits! Reading the book proved to be an enjoyable and enlightening experience, yet my inner feelings were at it again. I knew I had to attend the vocation seminar. But I am still very thankful to God for giving the opportunity to have the book. However, nonetheless, I really pray for the grace to humbly get to know His call and His Society one step at a time.

As I have seen today, books can only do so much to inform me of the things I seek.

2) Am I ready to leave everything and die for Christ? I believe that every journey towards attaining perfect Christian spirituality starts with the process of signing away one's rights and privileges, and giving up every single part of oneself to God. With the lessons that God has given to me today, I am really praying hard. I am praying hard for the grace to attain enough humility so that I may accomplish all measures necessary to give up everything for God.

Martyrdom also came to the fore, and I was deeply inspired and at the same time, honestly disturbed. For one, I know that at this point in my life I am not yet ready to die for Christ. There are still so many things to accomplish before I can give them up. What's to give up without really accomplishing anything anyway?

But I was also inspired. With the life experiences that I had related to my spiritual director two days ago, I felt that these type of experiences may really pave the way to preparing a person for a possible religious vocation. Nevertheless, at the end of the seminar, I came into this point: not yet. My previous posts will not fail in reminding me and everyone this fact: I have to be a skilled laborer. A physician, before being a religious.

3) How do I know myself? I love what one sharer told us: you are like a set of ingredients which can be mixed and cooked to make only one dish. What dish am I? God has presented before me the different ingredients--my life experiences--which He had allowed me to possess. What would I make out of these?

Today's Gospel reminds us of the value of becoming receptive to God's message, and actually standing up for what God is calling us to do. I am thankful that God has allowed to scatter the seeds, and allow so much as one seed to germinate in me. The question however remains: will I let it grow? And what fruit, if ever it grows, will this seed produce in me?

Participants of today's Vocation Seminar, with the Seminar Team and the Prenovices of the Arvisu House Jesuit Prenovitiate, Quezon City.

Please continue to pray for me. And rest assured, to all who read this humble web log, that I am praying for you. Thank you very much.


Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier and Blessed Peter Favre, more than ever, pray for us.


photo credits:


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