Monday, November 19, 2012

Balancing the Wheel...

As you may know, the Institute of Preaching Lay Missionaries is a group of laity who strive to imbibe the Dominican Way of Life through giving retreats, recollections, and other Evangelization programs, such as U-Speak. As our motto says of it, we commit ourselves to a preaching life. And commitment is really a hard task unless done with a willing heart and a keen intellect, like Our Holy Father Dominic.

In our IPLM Formation yesterday, Bro. Jayson Gonzales, OP, a Dominican Friar and good friend of mine,  introduced to us the Four Pillars of the Dominican Life. As we do our best to be preachers in our own way, we are taught that this is not only the important thing in a preacher's life. More than anything else, he highlighted the prime importance of balancing these four key factors of living the life of a preacher: (I would explain it the way I understood the speaker)

> Prayer. In the Order, there are two essential branches related to this, Prayer Alone which is necessary for the spiritual growth of a Dominican, and also as a preparation for the Common Liturgical Prayer or the scheduled prayer life of the whole community.

> Study. We cannot preach what we don't know. Overwhelmingly, the brothers immerse themselves to study so that they could be capable enough of preaching God's Word and the Magisterium to all. Some see them as bookish or suplado because of their busy study habits, but this has a good effect on them because study helps them become equipped for their future life as preachers.

> Community. With the Rule of Saint Augustine as their binding force, the Dominicans are called to be of one mind and one heart in God, which is the end for which you are gathered here. The brothers come from different parts of the Archipelago, including the mission areas, meaning they have different backgrounds and attitudes. Despite that, they are called to be one, not only in intellect, but also in will; they are molded to understand each other and be a brother to one another. Anyway, this is their first apostolate, their breeding ground for them to be able to go out and reach everyone in need of the Gospel. Community in this sense also means taking nothing for oneself, but sharing everything with everybody.

> Apostolate. This now enters the field of which they are sent to proclaim the Good News to all. The brothers have their own specific tasks, each having their own specialty, one for the Youth (Mukha AD), for Justice and Peace and Care for Creation (Kadaupan), Mission (PST)  and Theological Reflection applied to the religious and cultural, social, economic, labor and political, technological and scientific situations of the Philippines and Asia (what org is that?) 

Actually, looking at this, I realized that a Preacher's Life is somebody which is really amazing! How can they really balance their time doing all these things? Everyone who goes to Santo Domingo for Sunday Mass just looks at the Priest delivering the Homily or the Friar giving Holy Communion as somebody wearing a white habit so that they could be able to do their own tasks. But realizing this, and knowing some of them personally, they are really no small-time people. All for God, they dedicate their lives, leaving the world behind and proclaiming to everyone the Good News of Salvation - something which is not a joke.

Now, as members of the IPLM, we are asked to examine ourselves if we are balanced with these four pillars. Using a Balance Wheel, we are tasked to gauge the level of attainment of each of the four pillars. I was not actually able to do such because that was merely for the aspirants, but I also reflected on this. I want to share with you my findings:

> 80% Prayer. For me, prayer encompasses everything. For me to know more, I should ask God for more discernment, knowledge and strength. I usually pray alone especially when I'm on the go, but I grab the chance of being with the Brothers every Saturday night for Vespers, and with my fellow Mukha ADers for Sunday Mass. 

> 55% Study. Tamad akong mag-aral; my professors in College would attest to this. It was only during the latter years of my college life, especially after I got the super low grades that I realized how much time I wasted. This could also be the reason why I'm not yet prepared for the Licensure exams. Yet I open myself to new learning opportunities so that I could give what I have.

> 70% Community. I remember one lesson in our book which I teach at NeungYule: Communities help and care for one another. I know I'm still struggling to be in good terms with some of my co-workers and friends because of conflict of interest, same thing with some of my brother and sisters, but looking at the bright side, there are still a good few who are there to listen to me. We can never please everybody, yet being with one another is so much fun.

> 75% Apostolate. Being a member of IPLM and Mukha AD, managing a reflection blog and a Marian fanpage, these are the avenues which God gave for me to be able to be of service to his people. I brag and become authoritative at times, and I know there is still a lot to learn when it comes to being a servant of all.

Reflecting on this, I see that I still have a lot to do. To be good in anything, I should manage my time and balance things up. This is my problem ever since, because I am not good in giving priorities or managing time. I'm still asking God's grace to be good at this, yet all it takes is much discipline. Besides, something is not done in just one sitting; it is perfected through time. 

It all takes discipline and determination; add their faith in God, perhaps that is the secret of a Dominican towards balancing these four pillars. An imbalance brings destruction to a structure, likewise, lack of discipline brings crises to a preacher. This is considered the backbone of the Dominican Way of Life, and this is the way they are calling us to live on. 

Can we do it? This is the challenge. We know Our Holy Father Dominic will always be there to help us strive in doing what is good and necessary. We commit ourselves, and so we can expect so much help from him who started it all. And above it all, Emmanuel - God is with us!


  1. gaano man kahirap, dapat maging masaya at kontento ka lang kasi mas mahirap kung pinagsisisihan mo lagi ang ginawa mo sa nakalipas.

  2. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Walang masarap na ginhawa kung hindi pinaghirapan