S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

People do change!

As I was praying this morning, this insight suddenly dawned on me: "People do change." Yes, all of us have that sacred capacity to change for the better. I remember having met a student in one of the State Colleges in Cebu. I was in that College as an intern in the Guidance Center, doing counseling and guidance work among the students. This student came to me and began to share his story. He narratedd that his father was a drunkard and a gambler. The day never ends without his father losing a considerable amount in the gambling station and never comes home sober. And when his father is drunk, he hurts his mother and siblings. But the student's sharing ended with a happy note. He said that since his father attended a Christian Life Program in their parish, he was totally transformed; his drinking spree diminished and eventually was gone and he now saves money for the family.

Yes, people do change. This was supported by Carl Rogers' theory when he stated that Man can change if he recognizes the "basic goodness" inherent in him and when he begins to actualize that goodness.

Today we celebrate this wonderful grace of change which we may call conversion. Man is not doomed to die in his evil ways. He has the choice to change. He holds the decision to be converted.

Our capacity for change should be a reason for us humans to celebrate. The father of our student changed -- from being a worse drunkard and gambler to a loving and caring father. St. Paul of Tarsus also changed -- from being an insecure persecutor of the early Church to an apostle and personal witness of Christ and of His Church. It is precisely this change that we celebrate and honor today, the Catholic Church's Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. So with the Church we pray:
God our Father,
you taught the Gospel to all the world
through the preaching of Paul your apostle.
May we who celebrate his conversion to the faith
follow him in bearing witness to your truth.
We ask this trough Christ our Lord. AMEN.

This is a painting depicting the account of St. Paul's conversion while on his way to Damascus with the intention of persecuting the early Christians. The Lord apparently appeared to him in the form of a great light thus making him an apostle and witness of His. (For the complete account, see Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22).


  • At 7:11 PM, Blogger Norlan H Julia, SJ said…

    jr, thanks for the inspiring reflection...i affirm your insights. people do change, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and we are suddenly amazed by the transformation...am sure you've undergone the same experience as Paul did...perhaps in less dramatic way...o baka nga mas ma-drama pa kaysa kay san pablo...i'd be interested to know :)

  • At 12:12 AM, Blogger JR Orbeta, SJ said…

    thanks for droping by norlan! it is so nice of you...hehehe

    yes, we do change. and most of the changes in us seem unnoticeable -- by becoming more patient and enduring, being more tolerable towards people's clumsiness and defects, simply by being able to love even if it hurts! experience ko 'to, promise! hehehe!

    let's continue to pray that the Holy Spirit may move us to love as Jesus loves, Amen.

  • At 7:18 PM, Blogger Jonathan St.Andre, T.O.R. said…

    jr, I enjoyed your reflection. Thanks for stopping by my blog as well. Are you in initial formation as a Jesuit?


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