Another open letter to a friend

Dear Friend,

Spending these past few months are the most humbling moments I ever had in my life. It reminds me that I am just a simple pilgrim travelling and searching here on earth. These moments of being all by myself gave me almost all the spectrum of feelings I felt with myself. Sometimes I pity myself; I got angry with myself with the choices I made; I felt sorry for how life events turned out for myself; and, I felt proud for what I have done these past few years particularly for all the graces and opportunities I got in joining the Marist Brothers.

I am sorry for sometimes disregarding and being indifferent to people I have met along the way especially to my family and friends. You know well that I always say sorry to you guys. If I have hurt you in ways I am not aware of, patawad po (I’m sorry).

Though people hurt me, stabbed me in the back, maligned me, called me names, used me in any manner, treated me indifferently, or though some of them keep hurting me, I forgave them all and will forgive them anyway. They might have almost broke me down but all of them made me stronger, tougher, and wiser. So thanks to you all.

It has been 29 years of existence for me and I am still keeping on dreaming. I don’t know what I really want exactly for myself to be quite honest and I am okay with that. But one thing I am sure of that no one can take away from me is hope. But yeah, hope is a good thing to paraphrase Andy Dufresne of Shawhank Redemption, my all-time favorite film.

I know myself well that I sometimes miss the point of how it is to live as a brother and I forget sometimes to do things with love. Love is also synonymous charity. Speaking of it, it reminds me that I might be speaking in tongues and be great in many things but without love, I am nothing. I know without it, I am nothing. Let it be for the sake of love and let it be with great love that I will be able to do great things.

If I feel proud, let it be not because of myself but because of all the great things God has done for me in my life. Let it be for God’s grace that people will call me blessed.

Your little brother,

Allen, FMS

How Augustine’s doctrine of original sin made more sense to me

Just need to write this down before I forget this. Yesterday morning before I attended my first subject, I picked up a book Fire on the Earth by Kevin J Barr MSC. It is about religious life and its prophetic role in the 21st century. This is timely since it is the Year of Consecrated Life. Later, during our Moral Theology class, we talked about the Church History in relation to moral thinking. Whenever I encounter St. Augustine, his doctrine on original sin is always bloody. Our professor mentioned something about human sinfulness and the reason why priests wear white soutanes. One perspective is that priests wear white soutanes to cover the darkness of human flesh. Because deep inside is a sinful nature. And how do we explain those black, brown habits?

That moment, the original sin doctrine made sense to me. Why did St. Augustine come up with that doctrine?  Aside from his own life experience as his inspiration, he was fighting heresies particularly the Pelagian heresy which says that Jesus was a very good model for living that people can imitate to live a good life and attain salvation for oneself. There’s a lot of problem with that. This heresy is saying that even without grace, one can work for his/her own salvation. And Augustine said no you cannot do that. The Pelagians are again thinking of turning themselves as “gods” like what Adam and Eve did. It is through the grace of God that we attain salvation. A modern understand of original sin is this: we are born with original grace; however, we again commit what Adam and Eve did whenever we turn away from God, refusing God’s grace. And this makes more sense to me.

P.S.: I’m still thinking whether to attend review classes tomorrow or not. Tomorrow is my brother’s wedding and I don’t want to be late. I don’t even know yet what to wear. Of course one thing’s for sure: I’ll be there.