By Alde Bureros, SSS
“Summoned by the love of God…”is the beginning of the formula of our Religious Profession according to the Rule of Life (ROL) of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. The first time I uttered these words way back on Aril 29, 2011, when I had my first profession of vows was so ordinary and trivial. Though, I understand what the words mean but little did I realize its depth and theological undertones. However, as the Perpetual Profession is getting nearer, new insights are unfolding from the same text. This time no longer as ordinary and plain as before, but revealing new impacts and meaning.
The word “summon” as ordinarily used in the legal parlance means “a form of legal process that commands the defendant to appear before the court on a specific day and to answer the complaint made by the plaintiff” (google legal dictionary). From this definition, we can say that there is a sense of urgency to answer a particular concern. There is a call from a court for one to give witness, to testify, and to tell the truth. Nevertheless, the call is predetermined and pre-envisioned by the court. In the same way, my calling to Religious Life by virtue of Religious Profession is a summon by the love of God, also with a sense of urgency to testify to the truth of the Kingdom of God that Jesus himself proclaimed and shared with humanity. This truth of the Kingdom is no less than manifested in Jesus Christ and celebrated in the Eucharist.
Probably, even before I made my decision to apply for the perpetual profession, God’s call was already predetermined and pre-envisioned. I have only to affirm my humble “yes” to Him. Truly, this is a great privilege and opportunity, an undeserved grace for “many are called, but few are chosen.” Along with my “yes” are certainly interior struggles and ambivalent options because as we know it is easier always to deny than to obey the call. I remember the story of the prophet Jonah, wherein, despite of God’s call for him to go to Nineveh (in the East), he prefers to go to Tarshish (in the West). Thus, along the way, God made Jonah insecure. The “storm” which threw him off into the belly of the fish made him realize his own limitedness or we might say “hardheadedness.” As was it seems, his preferred choice did not prevail but that of God.
When God calls, He calls with the full package. He supplies all what is lacking. All I need is to obey without question, grumbling or arguing, but with an open, joyful, well disposed heart, and mind. Just as on Easter morning, the Apostles, for all their hesitations and uncertainties, ran towards the place of the Resurrection, drawn by the blessed dawn of new hope (cf. Jn 20:3-4), so too, may my eyes be fixed constantly in the Lord. Now, that I have responded definitively to the call, may I be firm and steadfast in following the Lord what it may cost.”