Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Preaching... from YOUNGBLOOD of

By Mandy Malijan
Last updated 00:24am (Mla time) 04/10/2007

I AM a young religious and i belong to the Order of Preachers, more popularly known as Dominicans. I am studying at the Institute of Preaching at the Sto. Domingo Convent in Quezon City. What is interesting about this institute is it teaches students how to preach in the Philippine context. We took up both theoretical and practical applications in the first year of this masteral course.

During my high school years, I was awed by the preaching of Fr. Sonny Ramirez, OP and Fr. Larry Faraon, OP. But it was only when I entered the Dominican order, that I realized that they were Dominicans.

Although each of us has a unique way of proclaiming the Gospel, we need to discover in ourselves what it is to be a preacher. Not all people are called to the religious life, but we are all invited to be communicators of God's love and goodness in our own way.

While aspiring for the priesthood, I have this vision of becoming a good, effective, efficient and happy preaching priest. I hope that I will preach not only to the young but to all kinds of people, speaking words that will make a difference in their lives. Simple words but with an impact or, as we say in Tagalog, "Simple pero may dating."

Whenever I hear of persons who make a difference in their neighbors' lives, I am always amazed and I wonder if I would be able to do the same. Well, I have realized that it is quite possible but it entails a lot of effort.

Whenever I am asked why I entered the seminary, I reply that it is God's will and I am just responding to His call. This call began when I wondered if I could become a priest who preaches. My curiosity led me to knock at the door of the seminary.

It has been almost eight years since I entered the religious order, and I think I have become a better person. At the age of 21 it seemed like a dream come true for me when I entered the seminary. The experience was like going to heaven for me.

But this view changed quickly. I realized that seminarians were not angels but boys struggling to become holy. We usually pray in common, play in common, study and enjoy one another's company as part of being a member of a religious community. Struggles developed in one form to another. Sometimes, when I endure the formation, I feel as if I were praying like Jesus and saying, "If it is God's will, may it be done unto me."

The journey continues, despite its challenges. For difficulties are what make a preacher. I am happy I have survived.

As a student at the Institute of Preaching, which is part of our formation for the priesthood, I wonder what is it that makes a good preacher. Can preachers still attract the attention of the youth of today?

Preaching is defined as communicating God's word effectively. We hear a lot of speakers and politicians who would preach regarding their own self or about the common good. But do they really preach the good news?

We are all preachers in one way or another at one time or another. I am amazed by people who speak and become a great inspiration to their listeners. Preaching can either make or break a person. What we say could make others do good or bad. I pray that I will become a preacher who changes people for the better. It would be good to know that I can inspire people to be good.

We are living in a world of fast-changing technology. Communication becomes easier with the development of new gadgets, like the cell phone, Internet and a lot more.

Communication is a necessity. I am sad to know that most of our students lack communication skills, especially in English. Maybe it is because English is not our native language or perhaps the technological advances have made us lazy. Is there some way that we can be educated to become better preachers and speakers, communicating good values and not just knowledge?

We need good preachers, in the person of our parents, teachers, formators, directors, politicians, writers and others who at one time or another influence us and affect us. Politicians can be effective speakers, but do they always communicate the truth?

There are many preachers around us who tell us a lot of things. But are they good and effective preachers?

One survey asked churchgoers why they went to Mass. And one of the most frequent answers was to hear words of inspiration that could help change their lives. A politician promises a lot of things during the election campaign, but we have to ask ourselves if he can deliver on those promises. If he cannot deliver, then he cannot be a good preacher no matter how eloquent he is in his speech.

We need to see good works in order to speak about them. We cannot speak of something unless we know and experience them first. So being a young man, I still have a long way to go before I can become a good preacher. But with prayers and practice, I could get there a little faster. I hope all of us in the institute will turn out to be good preachers. The world cannot have enough of them.

Mandy Malijan, 28, is studying at the Institute of Preaching.

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