Since I am a seminarian, here's an interesting piece written by me on seminarians' life.
Maybe this is not timely, for it is not any more themonth for vocations. While it is true that I am a seminarian, I am neither todeter nor persuade young people to enter the seminary, whether religious ordiocesan, with this composition. Let me just share some of my experience-turnedlearnings in my 3 years of being a seminarian. Yes, every chosen path is uniquefrom the other, but to a certain extent, this life is not at all different fromother lives of vivacious and wonderful youth out there.
Various friends and relatives of mine have differentconception about my living in the seminary. Here are some: “O you lucky guy,being jailed with God and His Mother.” “Surely, you’re professors and formatorsare very lenient with you, for you are seminarians.” and my favorite “What acomfy life, you don’t encounter problems with other seminarians, for all of youhave a certain goal, to be a priest!” I say no! However, while it is true thatwe are blessed (since all people are blessed), seminary life is not the best ofall possible lives. Yes, it is pleasant, if one has faith. But to those whowould be joining our army solely because they perceive our life as somethingcomfy or just to abscond the chaos of the world, ponder again and again!
There are myriad of problems and even ordeals that I haveencountered and will be encountered and confronted. Some of these are: leavingmy emotional and material roots, giving up my ambition ( which is to be a humanrights lawyer or a well-known advocate for human rights and the marginalized),combating with my ego, and dealing with others, co-seminarians, priests andchurchgoers. All these are on the minds of the seminarians. Hoping theultra-conservative people will not judge me and say, “No, that isn’t a problem!Seminarians ought to pray; they don’t have problems” But no, we, too arehumans. As Dr. Robert Picart would always drill on our minds, “Can you denyyour humanity?” All these I have experienced. Though, candidly, I don’t yethave thephronesis (wisdom learnedfrom experiences) but I am working on that.
And so, while meditation, I pondered and questionedmyself, “Why is it so hard to cope up with this life? Why do some of them don’tlike me? Why do problems bug me? I thought this is a seminary, a haven of peaceof mind and body? Why do I have to give up my foreshadowed visions?” So manywhys! Then a personal and wild answer came up: Exit this life! Want an instantescape? Go out! Then, ofcourse, I have to re-ask myself, will this result tosomething better atleast if not the best? Then, I came up with an epiphany thatlife here and life there is not at all very different, it’s same same. Howeveryes, every man’s story is unique, indeed, every man is unique withanother.
Before I entered the seminary, I studied Psychology in LaSalle Antipolo (LSCA) for a year. Isn’t that I realized that life back then wasnot that easy as well? I also had problems dealing with others, I had problemsin budgeting my time in studying and doing errands in the campus, in theinternet as a social advocate, at home and outside home. I also had to succumbwith the robust temptations that a typical college student confronts. Asmentioned earlier, I am vocal in social networking sites decrying events andpeople who are inimical to human rights, equality, progressive-reforms and themarginalized. Isn’t that some netizens will brazenly embarrass you and sternlyopposing your insights and sometimes with a weapon called “ad hominem”? Then, Iasked what if I exit, then work, as a call center agent, for instance? Problemsand worries are there too! First thing: am I sure that a company would acceptme? Let’s be pragmatic! Isn’t that I would worry too about my finances? Isn’tthat I’ll be having adjustments dealing with my co-workers? Even in marriedlife or whatever life is that, problems and ordeals will follow us!
To those who want to join us because they label theseminary as a haven of peace think again and for my co-seminarians, whereveryou are, who feel like giving up because of problems and ordeals, think twice!When problems disturb us, and ordeals and anxieties flood us, indeed, faith issorely tested. Character too is being put to proof. Hoping some will notmisconstrue me. Seminary life is not to escape with one’s problems and issuesin life. Plain and simple: seminary is for young men who felt a palpable lovingand compassionate calling from God and who answered to his call. It is a placeof formation. And for those who are musing to exit now because of truckload ofproblems, Lo and Behold, whatever path you’ll be trudging they will follow you,maybe not the same problems but they will incarnate through other problems. Aswhat I learned from Prof. PJ Strebel, my professor in Medieval Philosophy, St.Agustine’s concept of vere esse exhorts us to cling to Him and to Him alone,especially in times of troubles, because He’s the only being whose being willnever be exhausted. In Tagalog, God is “Yaong Meron na Meron Talaga!”
Please don’t misconstrue, I am not avowing that we,seminarians are continuing to stay in our seminaries and be formed justbecause, “aha, whatever path we trudge there are problems, who knows problemsout there are more complicated, better stay here.” No, we continue to say yesbecause of faith; that we are called in this life and above all to discern moreabout our unique vocations and allowed to be formed by our fatherly formators.
Don’t fret I am still a seminarian. I neither went backto LSCA, nor look for a job, nor getting married soon. But my heart and mind isnot roaming around; I love what I am doing. I love the atmosphere. I love theproblems and ordeals I am encountering—they are great teachers. I love myformators especially when they reform me. They say gender, religion, wealth andrace do not define you. So too, our chosen paths, our chosen lives or shall Isay our chosen vocations do not define us. My being a seminarian does notdefine me as someone happy; rather it is my character as a seminarian thatwould define me.
Being a careerman or president of a prestigious companywill never define me. It is solely character that would define me. Life islife; it is forever enigmatic. As the old adage goes on, “Until there is life,there is hope” and I too believe that until there is life, problems and ordealswill incessantly follow and test us. However, take note, as long as there areproblems, there are too more chances in solving those problems and thereforemore chances of being happy and peaceful. Whether, I am in the seminary, LSCA,or even as the Sec-Gen of the United Nations—problems will follow me and will bravelytest me. It’s same same!