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The One Percent

Every Filipino parent, especially the generation before mine, prays for a son or a daughter to have a religious vocation — either as a nun or as a priest. 

Actually, I know of one family in Bohol whose sons (all of them!) entered seminary (both in minor and major). I am not sure though if all of them chose to become a priest.

I think it had become an imperative of families of the earlier generation to offer their sons and daughters to God.

This year, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, as part of the nine-year spiritual journey towards the 500th Year of Christianity in the Philippines, declared 2018, the 6th year, as the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.

The title of this column is “The One Percent” because we always say that the Church is composed of 99% laity and 1% clergy. 

I think the challenge for us as a community is similar to the Parable of the Lost Sheep. I’m not talking about them as the lost sheep, but I’m comparing them to the parable because they are the one percent.

The challenge for us as lay people, as members of Couples for Christ, is to commit— to commit ourselves to pray for them.

Our call as a community, as lay people, as part of the 99%, is to keep the oil burning as prayer warriors, to dedicate a certain portion of our personal prayer time, of our prayer intentions, for our clergy, the priests and religious.

We ought to become:

1.  Prayer warriors − to intercede for the vocation of each one; for spiritual wellness in serving God; and for more lives to be dedicated to Jesus.

2.  A friend − similar to the actions of Jesus in the Parable of the Lost Sheep, you and I should seek out the one percent. Meaning, let us befriend them and make them part of our families. Let us not befriend them simply for the purpose of asking them to perform their priestly duties in our activities. I don’t know who owns this quote but I want to share this with you: “There is one thing certain, everybody needs family and friends.”

3.  Partners in evangelization – This is the call to wash each others’ feet, to work together towards the fulfilment of the mission of Christ here on earth. 

4.  A beacon of inspiration − The greatest challenge is to see inspiration in a darkened world. St. John Marie Vianney was not the best priest according to the standards of how a priest should be or how man views a priest, but he is the patron saint of the priests because of his love for the Eucharist, because he took his vocation seriously. 

I used the word “beacon” because in a dark world, we should all be seen as light so others can find their way to Jesus. There are so many things we can do, but for us to become a light to others, we just have to pray, to be a friend, to be a partner in evangelization and to become a beacon of inspiration.

My son Caleb once approached me and said that he wanted to become a priest. Since he is our only son, I thought long and hard. I thought that his becoming a priest would mean I would not have grandchildren through him - the Ariola name would end with him! But I realized that the greatest gift that a parent can give to his or her children is to pray for the best or to pray for what God wants them to be. And so I will not discourage him. Rather I pray that if he ever pursues this vocation, that he finds a bigger family through the people he will serve.

The greatest challenge for us as lay people in this Year of the Clergy and the religious and consecrated persons is to hold a lit candle in prayer for them. That’s how we can contribute or help them pursue the vocation that they said ‘Yes’ to so that they can be the best person that God wants them to be.By the way, Caleb again recently approached me and said that he also wanted to be an astronaut, a pilot, doctor, a lawyer, and a father as well. He’s only seven, so he still has plenty of time to pursue what God wants him to be. 

But whatever that may be, Carel and I will bless his chosen vocation by becoming a light to him. (The President's Chair, Michael “Shok” Ariola)

Added on Monday, February 19, 2018


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