Collection of my Reflection Paper as a Marist Novice Number 1: The Marist Youth Festival 2012
It’s just a copy and paste blog post. No editing. Just as it was written last Monday.
Just a reminder. There are some religious thoughts here regarding my Roman Catholic/Christian faith. I think it’s a first time for me to post something about my faith here in blogosphere. Anyhow, I hope you read. If you don’t, then no worries. Enjoy!
December 3, 2012
Joining the Marist Youth Festival (MYF) last November 29-December 1 reminded me of my own experience at the Marist Youth Congress (MYC) last February 2005 in Marbel. That time, I originally did not intend to join since it wasn’t my own idea to attend the event. I learned about it when my father said that Br. Pepito, a Religion teacher of Year 10 students, wants to meet me at the Marist Brothers Residence. Because my father just simply said that I go there, I don’t know why I was called. So when I finally met him, I learned why; my father recommended me to join the MYC. I do not really disagree with it but upon hearing that it will be held on Mindanao, I wanted to decline since I have my prejudices of the area. On that meeting, I was not able to decline his invitation since it’s really hard for me to say no, not just with him but with other people as well, so maybe that’s why I said a halfhearted yes. Aside from not being able to say no, the idea of meeting new people from different places attracted me. Well, not really. I think it’s the idea of meeting girls that attracted me since I still remember thinking about it as a 15-year-old preadolescent boy. And when I participated in the MYC, met some girls and got some contact numbers, my goal was accomplished. Of course, not all participants think like me and I won’t be able to think about it every day during my one week stay at BuDa (Bukidnon-Davao), General Santos City, and Marbel. All of them in Mindanao. Kidding aside, festive gathering events like this really attract young people. I know because I myself got attracted. It entices the youth because of the opportunity to have fun, join the festive spirit, and meet new people.
Now, as a novice and a facilitator, my motivations in attending and even my perspective towards a Marist youth gathering changed. Even though I’m just a novice, I am challenged to see things and act like a true Marist Brother. But what does it means to be a Marist Brother? The questions of some participants to me got me thinking about our true identity of the Marist Brothers. It’s good that in gatherings like this, especially with the Marist youth that the identity of being a Brother is asserted.
The question about the true identity of the Marist Brothers is the question that I can’t have a concrete answer yet that I have been pondering about for a long time now. Actually, their exact question was about the difference between a Brother and a priest. It’s just amusing yet a bit sad to have people coming from Marist schools, the students and teachers, being unaware with the roles of Brothers in the Church. But at least, they become curious about our identity.
Another question they asked me was about my discernment whether I’m sure to follow this kind of vocation. When people outside the religious life ask me questions like this, I get a reality check. Do I really want to live a life of celibacy? I don’t know. One Brother told us many times that you can only tell that you are truly a Marist Brother once you get buried six feet under the ground. Before it happens, I must live first as a Brother just like what Jesus did.
When the time comes that I truly understand my identity and vocation, as a novice and hopefully as a Marist Brother in the future, that’s the time that I can answer with assurance, not just in words and thoughts but also with deeds and acts of love, that I am a follower of Jesus in a Marist way.