Why it’s so hard to be true?

In life, one of the most challenging things to do is to be true.  Nowadays, it seems that trying your best to be true takes a lot of effort, patience, courage, sincerity and humility, considering the fact that there is a great influence of lies, deceptions, distortion of truth and half-truths in our world.  Adequately considering ourselves situated in the realities of life, we sometimes come across questions like which are true?  Who’s saying the truth? Or is this true?  Associating these things in our lives, we also have a lot of questions to ourselves that pertains to our way of saying the set of truths within us and within our personhood.  Sad to say, what we tell others and even those we trust is just the tip of the iceberg of our being.  It is hard for us to reveal our true self to others and even to those we trust because hesitations and fears hinder us to voice out or to speak out our true self.  Moreover, it is also hard for us to face the truth because it wounds and pains us and so we tend to wear our inner masks in order to hide the truth within us and to appear good and pleasing to others.  It is so sad, really sad, to accept the fact that because of the demands of telling or revealing what is true within us, we tend to wear our inner masks which makes us betray our real identity and our self.   Being exposed with this kind of reality in life and having experienced these things also, I am always asking myself WHY IS IT SO HARD TO BE TRUE?  What makes me hesitant to reveal my true self to others and to those I trust?  Fortunately, these questions helped me take the risk of opening and revealing the truth within me and removing the mask that hinders me to reveal my real self to others for years that passed.  I would like to share to you my humbling story on how I was able to cope up with my tendency to hide the truth within me and how I was able to reveal it to others which also helped me be free from my tendency to be dishonest and insincere.

I am a “special religious” in our religious community.  What made me so “special” in our community?  Being called “special” in our religious community does not mean that I am treated so nicely by my brothers.  I am called “special” because I do have a lot of personal issues in life that I need to accept and to address humbly and sincerely.  Part of my way of accepting and addressing my personal issues in life is through a monthly consultation with my counselor and my spiritual director to whom I always refer my struggles and difficulty in trying my best to be humble and sincere with my personal issues.  I am so thankful to them that they helped me to stand up and to move on in life in spite of the many personal issues that I have to settle.  I remember during my Aspirancy years that I had experienced a “great collapse” in my life.  It seemed everything was so dark for me and I felt guilty always for something which I did not know the reason.  It took me four years to search for a reason why I felt that kind of experience.  Unfortunately, I failed on my search.  I was not able to find the reason and so it continued to haunt me and distract me.  It was a painful struggle as I am discerning the call of God for me whether I am for consecrated life or not.  It was really a frustrating and a depressing experience.  I questioned God why He allowed this thing to happen to me.  That was the start when I lost my trust in God and I questioned His compassion and love.  During those times, I am so fed up with God because it seems that He did not listen on my pleas and on my prayers. He did not mind my sufferings and it seems He already abandoned me.  Because of these, I became lax on my prayer life.  I became self-centered and stubborn and I became more prone to mistakes and mortal sins.  Because of those discouraging moments, my decision not to continue my journey towards priestly and religious life was heightened.

After I graduated on my philosophical degree in the seminary, I, together with my companions, were asked to make an application for Postulancy.  At first, I was so hesitant to do it because I was planning not to continue my journey towards priestly and religious life.  But, I still made my application letter for Postulancy for the sake of experiencing Postulancy.  I thought I am one of those who will not be accepted for Postulancy because of my bad evaluation from my formators.  Unfortunately, I was accepted and given another chance to continue my journey towards priestly and religious life.  I never thought that Postulancy will become my conversion experience in my life.  I never thought also that it will become a “grace-filled” event in my life.  From it, I learned the most significant thing that I must hold on to, i.e. my brokenness and my woundedness itself.  Holding on to these, I realized the love and care of God unto my life despite the fact that I mistrust Him.  At first I am so hesitant to accept the truth that I am a broken and a wounded person, but it is in accepting my brokenness and my woundedness that my numb heart has been opened for the works of God.  It is in the moment of accepting and forgiving these in tears that I felt the presence of God tapping my shoulders, wiping out my tears and consoling my lonely heart.  After this humbling experience, a new seed of hope has been re-planted in my heart.  Despite the many personal issues that I have, I have decided to continue my journey towards priestly and religious life.  My personal issues helped me to appreciate my humanity as a disciple of Christ.  I could say that I am not perfect in this kind of life that I am journeying in.  I do not know the exact reason why I have chosen this kind of path that I could not even explain it in my own words.  It is God’s initiative, it is God’s love.  True enough, God still shows His mercy, His love, His faithfulness and His compassion despite the fact that I am unworthy for His greatness.  Unexplainable!  It is all beyond my capacity.  All I know is to bend my knees, pray and lean on His greatness that He has shown me.  Thanks for the Postulancy experience which I consider as a “blessing in disguise”.  It helped me a lot to be aware and to appreciate my weaknesses, shortcomings, personal issues and limitations.  Truth bleeds, but heals.  Though in truth I am broken and wounded in the sight of the world, I am proud to say and to show to the world that I am blessed, consoled and redeemed through His love.

What, then is to be a PROPHET nowadays?

What then is to be a prophet nowadays?  Today, it seems that prophecy is not anymore appealing to the people of this new generation.  To dream to become a prophet is not anymore a dream but a burdensome.  What led this disheartening reality occurred?  Seeing and abiding in the reality of the world today, it is undeniable that the influx of change brought a massive effect into the mentality and lifestyle of the people today.  The rapid advancement of science and technology has propelled new findings, new innovations and new explorations in person’s search for meaning.  Entrepreneurship, the multinationals, corporations, stock market and business ruled the competency of the world’s economy and the unfolding of events in the world’s settings.  Social media dominated the balancing and the fearless dissemination of information and entertainment.  Facebook, Tweeter, Youtube, Google, Ebay and Yahoo rendered new culture and new mentality for us today called “What you see is what you get”.  Iphones, Ipad, Smartphones, Tablet PCs and Android phones are now the patrons of telecommunications.  Citing these examples of the new set of trends that are now continually unfolding, enticing and caressing our desires and cravings at present times, it seems that it is easy for us today to say; “Thanks for this new trend!  Now, life becomes easy and it made the present world a better place to live in”.  Yet, given already the possibilities for us to flourish and to live a better life due to those influxes of changes and rapid advancements, something is still lacking.  It is also undeniable to say that technological advancement that we are now experiencing, unpleasant consequences occurred.  Values are now being challenged.  Egotism is now a lifestyle. The gap between the rich and the poor is now getting crucial.  Corruption becomes a practice.  Injustices are rampant, left and right.  Respect for the human life and for the human dignity is becomes an option.  Opportunities are becoming a privilege for the few.  Distorted ideologies deformed the dignity and the mentality of the people.  Individualism governed and austered relationship.  And, person’s search for God is now a fad.  Mentioning these examples of unpleasant realities that are indeed happening in the world today, it seems that these could be the avenue for prophesying or for boosting those who has a flaming desire for prophecy.  Yet, it seems that prophecy is not so much appealing for the people of this new generation.  What led prophesying not so appealing and burdensome?  What, then is to be a prophet nowadays.

Few people dare to prophesy things that are unpleasant in the today’s world.  Why? It is because, it’s risky and it’s a matter of life and death situation.  Reading and reflecting Bruce Yocum’s book Prophecy, I found out that people nowadays understand prophecy as a forecasting or predicting future events.  Yocum’s assertion on prophecy does not tell about these thought, but the real meaning and understanding of what a true prophecy is all about.  To become a prophet means to be consumed by God’s Word and to become an interpreter and proclaimer of God’s Word even in the midst of risks.  Prophecy means making the Word of God still relevant and valid in this postmodern world and criticizing the emerging unpleasant realities in the world today that consumes good values and pleasant things in life.  As I am trying my best to reflect on these realities, it is indeed challenging, yet I must be convinced that every one of us has received this calling through our baptism.  By the virtue of our baptism, we are called not only to share in the priesthood of Christ, but to commit ourselves as prophets as well by means of proclaiming God’s Word to all the nations.

Prophecy is wonderful yet challenging.  Considering that I dedicate my whole life to the Lord as a religious, Yocum’s book becomes an eye-opener for me to consider my religious life as a form of prophecy.  Though my life as a religious seems to be foolishness in the logic of the world, in the logic of faith, it is a message for the world that my religious life corresponds to the profound sentiments of the human heart which the things of this world cannot satisfy.  The vows of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Rogate, though in the perspective of the world seems to be a contradiction, it  is an opposition to what the world’s suffering as she continuously being “prostituted” by materialism and social injustices, egoism and hedonism, and ambition and thirst for power.  To aspire for prophecy in this contemporary world is really a difficult aspiration to achieve.  But, I still believe that every difficulty is an opportunity for a great and valiant mission.  Maybe, I have a vocation to be prophetic but it might not be as well.  And yet, considering my religious life, prophecy is a responsibility.  I am called to proclaim that the presence of God is still valid today and always, and to be a good example of His love and compassion. This is what I must never forget as I am journeying in this contemporary world and in the midst of contradictions as a religious.