Experience of Joy in the Journey Towards Transformation
I will be dividing my sharing into four parts, having my journey in ESM-Manila with community life, spiritual life, intellectual formation and mission.
First, community life is really challenging: you may just imagine having 19 young adults, with diverse personalities, from 11 different countries, different cultures and background– who chose to come to a foreign land–Manila, living together for nine months. I don’t know how you imagined, but that’s the real setting now for this batch. As time pass by, now for nearly half the formation, through the services we do together, we slowly get to know each other. I discover different cultures, different ways of living the Catholic faith and above all I learn a lot about myself.
I also learned to live concretely the community life: to pay attention to each one, to serve and to accept to be served, to go through difficult moments together, to laugh and to rejoice together. It is like a big family! This is a great adventure.
What a marvelous thing to think that we came here because we all have the same faith in the one loving God, and we all desired to live closer to Jesus !
Secondly, the spiritual life in ESM gives me an opportunity to deepen my relationship with Jesus. Each day starts with a praise together in the chapel of the house, then followed by the Mass. We also have one hour dedicated to adoration, except Mondays as we have one hour of Lectio Divina instead. We also have specific time during the year for retreats, to help us grow more in the dimension of spiritual life and make a pitstop from the daily routine from time to time.
I am here because Jesus called me, and this prayer life both personal and communal enable me to live my daily life, and unite us together as a community.
What is new for me is to be able to share my faith with other young people, and it is a strong experience to feel that we can carry one another in prayer.
Third is about the intellectual formation, which is very rich because we have the opportunity to discover a lot of different topics, like Liturgy, Old and New Testament, the Heart of Jesus, Christian Art, Faith and Reason, etc., and link them to the faith. I am amazed by the unity, the beauty and the depth of the teachings of the Catholic church.
We also have examinations! But the exam is a way for me and other students to see if we are able to share the marvels we receive from the formation.
Finally, but definitely not the least is about mission. Though we experience different kind of missions like evangelisation, compassion services, etc., each time I learn to see Jesus in every person I meet: the sick, the poor, the child, those who do not know the love of God for them.
Last December 14 to 21, 2013 we had our first Parish Mission, at San Isidro Labrador Parish, Balanti, Cainta, Rizal. We were welcomed by the parishioners and by Fr. Vhon Rudolph Villacarlos, the Parish Priest of the said Parish. With them, we organized different activities such as high school catechism, street and door to door evangelisation, youth evening and mercy evenings– to talk about the love of God and to promote this young (1 year old) Parish to the parishioners. Most of the things we had were really new for me. But it was a great experience because we worked together for God! Sometimes we were rejected by the people we met or families we visited, and yet it didn’t discouraged us. And what a joy when someone opens their door and invites us to come in; opens their hearts and share with us the love of God!
I thank the Lord for the grace that comes from Him, and for brothers and sisters He gave me to accompany and encourage me in this journey of growth, encounters and transformation in all aspects of my life!