On skateboarding monks

This morning, I watched an interesting video on YouTube about skateboarding friars, about two brothers, Didacus and Gabriel, who skateboard and entered religious life. At first, I was thinking that these might be a documentary made by professional skateboarders spotting some friars who know a little on their craft. Maybe this is one of their publicity stunts. While watching the clip, at the back of my mind, I’m probably thinking: where’s the advertisement here? Oh there’s the Red Bull; no surprising since they support extreme sports. But wait, if I received this link from a religious sister in Twitter, I might be mistaken. And indeed I was: Made by Spirit Juice Studios, whose focus is on Catholic media and entertainment, the video is one of the studio’s new film project called Limit Break, stated in their website as “a web series featuring extraordinary people doing amazing things, and how their faith inspires them.”

It’s not that common to find friars who are able to skate well. The catchy thing is that these brothers are able to do it in the skate park while hearing their religious habit. Hmm? They are doing it in the park? Are they able to ask permission from their superiors? Maybe most of the kids in the park are thinking: Did the monastery allow them do skateboard? Their superiors might be thinking that their talents might be used properly in their ministry as these brothers obtained permission to skateboard and go to a skate park once a week as their exercise and their way to interact with the people outside the monastery.

“Always preach the gospel, when necessary, use words” said one of them. Using their talents, these friars show a good example on how to do evangelization during these times with skateboarding: It lets them set up rapport to others, especially the kids. It serves as “Trojan horse”, opening opportunities to teaching catechism and sharing their vocation stories. Though what they are doing contradicts the last statement of our 81st Article in the Marist Brothers’ Constitutions and Statutes, in which, paraphrasing it, these skateboarding friars are even surpassing the “expectations of today’s youth” since young people don’t expect to see friars skateboarding while wearing their habit. It is not a straightforward way of preaching the good news. Well, these friars serve as the “good news” by their presence there in the park. I know that I’m not flamboyantly gifted with talents as these friars are but this video inspired me to use my talent and ask myself: how can I use my talents in spreading the good news?

God has a purpose in giving us passions to pursue. Pursuing one’s passion, with the help of the gifts of talent, is one’s way of finding one’s true place in this life. We all have these gifts and it’s up to us to discover how with the help of a discerning heart of course. Discernment happens in our every conscious moment; it is learning how to “preach the gospel at all times”. Probably it’s the reason why we, as novices, must start in small things such as dressing appropriately as Brothers. Discernment helps me to look on how I could express myself humbly at all times like in contributing in the ministry where I’m assigned at.

After staying in Mother and Child for a week, I’ve been hanging around the Business Resource Center office just to know how they work there and how they serve the needs of the less privileged people here in South Cotabato region. After all these many years, Br. Bob has really been doing great contributions in Mindanao quietly that people who meet him really views this tall man as a “Brother”. With my remaining days in ACEP, how can I be a good news with the people I meet?

I hope that I can find answers especially with my assignment in the CMRE this coming Tuesday.

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