15 November 2010

On turning 32

A friend asked recently: "So, how are you? Are you happy with being a priest?" I gave her this roundabout answer about this video on Youtube I recently watched. This one was about what motivates people and gives them self-satisfaction.

Dan Pink, the speaker, proposes three factors: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy is our desire to be self-directed. Mastery is our urge to get better at stuff. Purpose is about making a contribution in a trascendent way. I have the good fortune of having those three in my line of work. So, short answer: Yes, I am happy. Thank God for that.

This doesn't mean that everything is perfect or that ministry is easy. In fact, these past few years, I have been made quite painfully aware of the flawed realities of the Church, and my own frailties as well. To be able to recognize them is both a humbling and liberating experience. For in spite of our weakness, God still chooses us to carry His mission in the world, or in our little corner of the earth.

Here is one more thing that keeps me happy: being able to take part in the great enterprise that is Church-building. I spent my birthday this year on the very first day of our annual retreat in Cebu. This year, the priests of our diocese reflected on the theme of the Church as "communion-in-mission". For me, it means dreaming of a Church that builds itself into a community of witnesses, one that reaches out to the depths of each one, and to all -- especially the poor and those in the margins. The hard and exciting part of the job is turning those dreams and plans into reality. I am just glad to be part of it.

What does it mean to be a priest at 32? Without ambition or agenda in mind, I like to think I found the best answer from among the birthday greetings and well-wishes of friends on Facebook, one of them posted: "I'm certain that your best years are still ahead". To which I replied: "May your certainty be proven true, may our best years be laid down for the Lord and His Church."

A big thanks to all those who sent their greetings and well-wishes. May the Lord grant you twice the share of what you prayed for me. Oremus pro invicem!

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