Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Becoming And Being An Anthonian

Welcome Anthonians! Or should it be welcome to me? It is both. It is a welcome to me because of my arrival to St. Anthony (Catholic) School as the new Director. It is indeed a difficult task because of the great responsibility it demands. Add to that my being new to the ministry of managing and directing a Catholic school. But I welcome the mission. I see it as an opportunity to be a part of the formation and education of children who will eventually be the leaders and stewards of God's creation. Their young minds and bodies are open to all available knowledge and experiences. Our God, through the Faith and the School, should be involved actively so that His promise of salvation maybe fulfilled in them.

St. Anthony is a Catholic school. The stress here is in being a Catholic school. The Catholic Church, I believe, decided to participate in the field of education through managing Catholic schools for the primary purpose of producing graduates who have been informed of and hopefully formed in, and transformed by Christian values. While at present, Catholic schools, colleges, and universities are more known for their academic capacities and successes, their original purpose still remains. Catholic schools will strive hard to fully prepare their graduates academically. But they will strive much much harder to prepare them morally. In other words, then Catholic schools are a success if they have produced moral and formed graduates even if they are not academically superior. The Catholic schools will be more proud to recognize their graduates because they have become good citizens of our country and of God's Kingdom. It will not be a source of pride for Catholic schools to have graduates who are well known academically but are despised by society due to immoral actions and questionable integrity.

This is not an easy task. This needs the cooperation and unity of every sector in the school; teachers, administrators, maintenance personnel, students, parents, and even alumni are part of the whole effort to achieve this goal for the students and the school. The Vision-Mission of the school echoes and reiterates this objective. Every member of the school community takes this into heart. Everyday, before the community begins their daily activity, these are recited in order to commit oneself again to this cause. They are the source, sustaining force, and fulfillment of their school lives. At the same time, living them gives them joy and meaning.

I therefore enjoin all sectors of the school community to be a part of this journey. Through God's Will, I became a part of St. Anthony family. Together with the new members of the school, in my capacity as school Director, I embark on my own formation and education to be an Anthonian. I welcome it with great enthusiasm and excitement. I pray for that day when I can truly and profess with conviction that I have become an Anthonian.

I join you in Praying, Learning, and Serving with Passion!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

God's Ever Reliable Angels!

Today we celebrate the feast of the Archangels; Michael (meaning "Who is like God."), Raphael (meaning "The Medicine of God."), and Gabriel (meaning "The Power of God"). Michael is known as our defender against Satan and all its evil angels. Raphael was the archangel who took care of Tobias in his journey and therefore our caregiver. And Gabriel was the one who announced to Mary that she will be the Mother of the Son of God and therefore our wisdom and source of courage.

The reality of angels is found in Scriptures. Jacob wrestled with an angel. The Lord Jesus' birth was announced by an angel and Paul mentioned angels in his teachings. From Genesis to Revelations, angels were always part of the message whenever relevant. Its reality was not just then but also now and in the future. Angels are God's messengers. They are God's communication to us. Through His angels, we come to know Him, love Him, and serve Him. Through His angels, we experience God's loving presence.

Early catechism tells us that each of us had been assigned by God with Guardian Angels. They were meant to let us be aware and feel that God is with us and guide us. However, we need to respond to it. Recognition of and openness to it avails us of a unique presence of God. Many baptized, at a certain point in their life forgets if not dismiss the presence of these spirits of God's presence. Does it matter? Does it affect us? Definitely , yes!

Stories had already been told about some women who were in close danger of being harassed and harmed and suddenly found the courage, the action, and the words needed to ward off their attackers. All because they sought the assistance of God through His angels (Michael Archangel). Maybe coincidence or simple untrue to many, but to those who experienced it, it is true! It is faith! Another friend who was very sick asked the intercession of Archangel Raphael to help him be eased of the pain and inconvenience he was experiencing. He claimed he did go through his sick days not without pain but much much less of it! I, myself, felt God's wisdom in Archangel Gabriel when I was seeking my vocation. Inspired by Mary's Gabriel experience, I sought the Lord and He responded to me through Archangel Gabriel. The call of God became more clear and definite for me.

It is a matter of faith. God's ways are really mysterious and unpredictable. But we believe they are always the best. Others may have lived their faith without recognizing or maybe just accommodating the presence of angels. But, to many, like me, who are very aware of their presence and power, have a plus in the angels. Another way or added manifestation of God in His angels is certainly a welcome gift!

Hail to Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The True Child Of God

Children are wonderful. Their spontaneity and abandon express their freedom and vulnerability. In every child is always a potential, a development, and an accomplishment. As a new Director of our parochial school, I have decided to go around during breaks in order to meet the children. I am in great anticipation of the discoveries and joys in every encounter. One such school day, after their break, I saw a young boy near the canteen crying. I approached him and ask him why he was not in his class and crying. He said that the classes were too long and they keep changing teachers! It turned out that he was a grade one student and was experiencing a period of adjustment from his preparatory school where classes were relatively short and there was only one teacher in charge! I brought the boy to the Guidance Counselor's Office and they told me that it was a natural occurrence for grade one pupils.

In another incident, a grade three student was also crying. When asked why, he said that some of his classmates were spreading word that he has a boyfriend. I asked him if it was true and if he felt offended? He said it was not true and felt bad about them who he considered his friends. I told him not to take them seriously and that he just show everyone that he was not gay but was just being friendly to everyone, boy or girl. That if there was anyone who knows himself well, it was himself.

The innocence of a child! This lies at the heart of Jesus' message in today's Gospel. He used this to respond to the disciple's reluctance in accepting somebody who does things similar to what they do. But came the answer from the Lord that whoever is not against you is for you! The person is a child of God because he does good. He was not doing anything offensive to God. While the person of the person is important, what he does, that is, his way of life, is more crucial. That was our situation when we were children. As children we might have had some mischief deeds, naughtiness, mistakes etc., but we were always candid and free. There was always the intention to achieve the best and do what is good. Our limitations and weakness sometimes bring us to failures and worse, ill actions. Nevertheless, before the eyes of God, we are still good. Given ample knowledge and a formed conscience, we can be good!

God wants us to be perfect because He is perfect. But He only expects us to strive giving our best. He encourages us to make use of everything He had bestowed on us. He does the rest! As creatures, we are wanting. But our dependence on Him and humility allow us to be completed and complimented by God. With this attitude, we can never go wrong. We will never be against God. Our goodness which He gave from our birth remained. Let it loose!