Debunking ‘What’s forever for?’

What’s the glory in living
Doesn’t anybody ever stay
together anymore
And if love never lasts forever
Tell me what’s forever for
And if love never lasts forever
Tell me what’s forever for

The lines of the song I quoted were written by Rafe VanHoy and was popularized by Martin Murphy; it’s title: “What’s forever for?”

There is something in this song that makes me fall into a pensive mood. After all, it radically questions the meaning of forever which is the very essence of why we are all here.

What’s “forever” really… especially when we witness so many who have made “forever” come to be interpreted with limits … to be reduced only to temporary.

These thoughts have made me reflect as I confronted the realities of a religious preparing for the final vows. And the biggest and boldest question hung before me: “Will I last?”

But then, it hit me.

This year, we have said “goodbye” to two of our Salesians: Br. Ramon dela Cruz and Fr. Chris Kennedy. Both of them were not just names for me and for most of us here. These two, one lay brother and the other a priest, have left us a beautiful example of fidelity. They remained faithful to their vows up until their last breath.

We have seen how fidelity to one’s vocation has been a reality to them: but noting the example of these two confreres who have lived their vocation to its fullness up until their last moments on earth—they were found faithful!

About three months ago, I changed my cover photo in Facebook with a caption “Magpakaylanman“–forevermore.

Picture1

At the back of my head, I thought that perpetual profession is about me embracing God for all my life, forever more… but I believe I saw it with a wrong reflection as in a mirror when left becomes right…

It’s the other way around. God has embraced me first, insofar as He has embraced my co-perpetuandi: Brs. Noble, Matias, Wydi, Joseph, Yulius, Julio and Martino even before we came to fully recognize who God is.

Our first toddling and tottering in the Salesian society present in Vietnam, in Pakistan, in East Timor, in Indonesia and in the Philippines have made us encounter the Incarnated Christ who did not just become a human person–He became so real a person in the Salesians who have made their first approach, who have shared their lives with us, who have exemplified Don Bosco’s distinct brand of loving kindness, and fidelity.

His faithful love which we have experienced so concretely has so empowered each of us as to make us answer His embrace by offering our lives to be placed at His disposal, in the Salesian fashion, for the salvation of souls and for God’s greatest glory.

But then again, we know that we just cannot do it on our own. We are weak and sinful, and left to our own selves, we would crumble. And so, we have chosen this slogan from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: “My grace is enough for you.”

His grace is not just present to comfort us, but to challenge us toward that maturity and perfection that Don Bosco would like His sons to strive for.

Dear friends, you have just witnessed our final vows. But for a Salesian, this is not the end, it’s just the beginning of our love affair with Jesus who has called each of us by name. Please pray for us as we keep your intentions in our prayers.

I began with a song, let me cap this off with another one, this time around with Carpenter’s “We’ve only just begun.”

Thank you very much.

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