“For many are called, but few are chosen.” -Matthew 22:14
Priesthood is one of the kinds of vocation we humans are called for, others may be gravitating towards being married, and or staying single for life. With this vocation, one maybe called on but keeping it together to strengthen your vocation takes time of discernment. It entails years of living inside the seminary, studying philosophy, theology and all that high valuation on chastity and what encompasses religious knowledge and its life within.
It will be a different kind of life. Bounded by rules, norms and expectations of how a religious model should be seen. It will be a culture on its own form.
I was once a boy expected to be a priest. Maybe he was too. My parents weren’t different from other parents wanting to dream for their children when they grow up. Maybe his parents have a dream different from his too. Having a priest in the family in my hometown resonates social status aside from the honorable prestige that it brings to the family. Pardon the pun. Inexcusably, it is the reality. Still rooted to Spanish influence it is fairly given. Peace.
Few weeks before my high school graduation, I traveled with my fellow aspirants. Attending the aspirant’s recollection at the pre-college seminary blew me off. I wasn’t sure for him. The ride was long. He was just silent. The seminary was far from home yet near a beach. I like beaches. I think he likes it too. The quaint town was peaceful yet quite undeveloped compared to my hometown. I like the serenity but I find it boring and not just teeming with vigor for my taste. He doesn’t seem to care for it. The activity was a whole day affair, different seminarians gave small talks about what makes the seminary life and how it build steps towards the path to priesthood. I got bored tired. I was still weighing things. Observing him, I think he got it for himself already.
Wanting and becoming a priest wasn’t going so well for me that time. It was puzzling and confusing. Later on I chose another door.
So the boy who is really expected to become a priest, unexpectedly didn’t turn out to be one, that’s me alright. But there’s this one boy not expected to become grounded himself of becoming like one, and that’s my good friend Ace. I didn’t expect him to lead on that path. Maybe the calling in him was louder than me or was he just actively listening to it. We never got the chance to talk about it.
We were given a couple of weeks after that recollection to continue our discernment. Maybe he was able to get it around himself, nurture his vocation and continuously nourish it. I did get into my own discernment. But I wasn’t able to nurture it. A lot of things were up in my head. I just couldn’t picture myself in isolation, that complete isolation of offering yourself to a great religious service. Then I was settled. We chose to travel different roads.
In few weeks time he will be a newly ordained priest. While I am still a bum, waiting for something. I am proud of him. Maybe he’s proud of me too(laughs). I am still tied to the idea that if we might have traveled the same road, we could have really ended as brothers in multiplying Catholicism. But I still consider him as my brother though.
I am proud of what he has gone through on this religious journey. I am proud too of what I have gone through on that other door. It was an incredible feat for him to reckon with. So was I.
It was a life he endured to be. It was indeed. And how time flies when he would come knocking at our door during those home visits and semestral breaks of him. Because I am just one of his friends who tolerates his silence and off beat antics. Peace, bro!
Now, finally he will offer his life to a priestly vocation. Can you be my spiritual adviser then?
Credits to Bebs Tirao-Riodique for Ace’s photos.