Last Saturday, March 19, Feast of Saint Joseph, My family and I attended the annual Lenten recollection at our Parish here at San Antonio de Padua  Church, Los Baños. The Priest who gave the recollection was Fr. Jerry Juarez from the diocese of Lucena (and I found out that we graduated from the same semianry). And it was a life-changing recollection for me.

I am not used on attending this knid of Parish recollection. Yeah, I am/was a Seminarian for eight years but there is this negative  characteristic/image among us seminarians that I continue to practice outside. Being omniscient. Being a badass know-it-all Prayle-wannabe. (Lipa) seminarians have this mentality of “alam ko na yang ibibigay mo sa aming talk”. That’s why some Priests are jokingly saying that seminarians are the most difficult audience to have your talk delivered to.

But this year, I decided to make a difference to my usual, know-it-all, badass mentality. I attended the Parish Recollection.

Fr. Jerry was your usual komedyanteng Prayle who uses his wit and sense of humor to connect to the people. And awesome was an understatement to describe this Priest.

He started his talk by pointing out our nature/characteristic to blame God during our time of trials, problems, and misfortunes. He pointed out different (and exaggerated) anecdotes from his Ministry as a Priest and his experience with the people to further stress out his point.

He continued delivering his talk with lots of funny anecdotes, few magic tricks, and comic punch lines and ended it with the Parishioners praying for one another.

After the recollection, I felt a sense of being reborn, refreshed, and renewed. I have been living a life away from what is being expected of me (as a Seminarian) and most of his words just pierced into my heart. Tagos pare!

Renewed. Blessed. Ecstatic. I do not have regrets on attending that recollection.

I have been giving talks, recollections and retreats to students and I have noticed that my material and style were quite old and boring. Paulit-ulit na lang ang sinasabi ko. Parang wala ng bago.

Yours truly during my recolllection with Grade 6 students of San Antonio de Padua Elementary School last March 11.

After attending the recollection, I was reviewed by Fr. Jerry on how to bring Jesus to the people. Meron akong mga bagong natutunan pero mas maraming mga bagay ang bumalik sa aking ala-ala. Mga bagay na dati kong alam na pero kinalimutan dahil naka-focus ako sa ibang bagay.

Yes, I know these things. But I need to hear them again and again from time to time.

Kapag sinabi mong alam mo na ang lahat ng bagay – o kapag hinog ka na – wala ng pagkakataon para lumago, para matutong muli.

Parang basong may tubig na kapag nilagyan ng tubig ay aapaw at masasayang lamang.

Learning is a life long process. Go back to the basics. Find time to reflect. Listen even though you already knew the message.

God’s message is always new and applicable for us.

May God bless us all. Padayon!


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