August 6, 2012
It has been almost two weeks since our brother Ramon left us, he went out of the novitiate to work and support his family. It was very tough decision for him. I admire his strength, courage and bravery for letting go of what he really wanted and answer the call of his family. It was hard to accept that he let go of the six years of formation life to be a priest and to start over as an ordinary person. But I think that what he did was not a turning back from the call of God, but responding God’s call through his family.
If there was one person who can say that he feels for Ramon that would be me. I can say that because I was in the same situation many years ago. Being the eldest among the siblings, like him who felt the pressure of helping the family and taking care of the other siblings really strikes a big blow in the vocation.
I was fourth year college when encountered the same scenario – a senior student with full of potential and promise. After finishing college I should be looking for work, but instead I wanted to join a religious congregation and be a priest. Those who knew me like my friends and other relatives rallied behind me in support. Those who did not know me think that I was crazy or I just wanted to run away from the responsibility of being the first born. That was the time when I wanted to run away literally from my family because I thought they were holding me in captivity since they disagreed with my plan. I went to friends for advice and had a drinking session with them to help me talk of what I really felt that time. I cried several times in front of my friends in the midst of our drinking spree, that was the time they felt that I was really serious with my problem. I was so restless then that I wanted to elope with the Lord. I was afraid to postpone entering the seminary in the fear that I may lose my vocation. A good friend who was a former seminarian told me that if the vocation I have is true, even if it take me many years and even if they put spears and swords in my path I would still continue.
I also went to priests for guidance. It was Fr. Bebot, an Augustinian Rocollect priest who made me decide finally to postpone my desire to enter the seminary. He told me to be courageous in confronting my issue with my family, that I should give time and listen to what they were saying. That I have to find in my heart that it was the same God who called me to my vocation who is calling me to respond through my family. I felt I was like St. Augustine who was restless until I heard His answer.
I know that I did not turn away from God’s call during that time because after ten years of postponing and working for my family, I am now here in the formation. May the Lord God take care of my brother Ramon that he may persevere and always find love.