Books – blessings
Many priests have touched my life; here we will share those who have shared some unforgettable books.
Fr. Toby was still a seminarian when we became friends who had many lively conversations.
We had similar perspectives and usually he knew what books would be truly absorbing for me.
This was the case with Ivan Illich.
Actually, the book, “School as the Sacred Cow” had many fresh provocative ideas on the priesthood and missionaries, but because I was a young teacher then, what struck me the most was his critique of a very prolonged education.
He said that if learning occurred on the job, two months would be enough to learn what was necessary.
Now, as I look back, I realized that his point has been validated by the effectiveness of bringing students out of the school into the realities of their barangay, the municipal hall, the bank, the grocery store, the slaughterhouse even the garbage dump.
Then I was quite shaken, thinking: what am I doing, spending so much time on what won’t work?
Fr. Boy was then a young priest when he lent me the book by A. T. Robinson on what it means to be radical.
It was about Jesus who is, of course the authentic radical.
I am so thankful that because of the book I understood early on the difference the letter of the law and the spirit of the law
It brought great relief for a scrupulous person like me who was tending towards being pharisaical (a word I learned in one of my conversations with Fr. Boy).
Fr. Melo is a scripture specialist; he prepared a collection of Bible reflections, “PulongPukot” I was overjoyed to have such a helpful material for our Bible facilitators in the Alay Kapwa Bible sharing sessions. They were in Cebuano and related to the daily lives of the members.
A team with Fr. Melo prepared a Cebuano translation of the gospels direct from Greek.
Because of the Bible sharing, for some time I joined the sessions on the gospel facilitated by DILAAB. Fr. Melo in his thoroughness started by introducing us to the Greek alphabet.
He also motivated us to have our own Bible. So, I got myself a Jerusalem Bible.
I was surprised that aside from my personal use, I was able to help two student teachers by making this available to them.
Madz who works with the Redemptorists was in one of the working committees of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Visayas Conference.
She invited Fe N. Reyes and me to work with her. We are grateful to Fr. Cris and Fr. Tito for allowing us to be part of this very fruitful activity.
Within the conference, “Our Mother of Perpetual Help Icon and the Filipinos,” “Multidisciplinary Perspectives to a Perpetual Help Spirituality” was also released.
The book contains the presentations of the conference and other related essays. Fr. Ramon D. Echica’s analysis of the novena, “Novena Prayers to One Like Us” points out that basically the text of the present novena is relevant to our lives but he proposes the inclusion in the novena of current issues such as “social media and information technology” and “the fears of ongoing terrorism, either from the state, or from armed groups with different agendas”.
Bro. Karl M Gaspar, CSsR, one of the editors of the book in his essay, “Embracing the Mother’s Perpetual Compassion, The Specific Place of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Icon-Novena in the Philippines’ Varied Marian Devotions” has a very comprehensive discussion revealing the historical, national, and global context of the devotion.
It can be used as a reference for a variety of researchers and writers.
But although it is such a scholarly work, it has a way of being warm and personal.
Then there is Fr. Victorino A. Cueto’s “The Baclaran Story, Towards Debo(Mi)syon: Devotion and Mission.”
Here we encounter an important reminder: “devotion without mission is empty and self-referential monologue cloaked in a spiritualizing anesthetization (and many times anesthetization) of the pains and sufferings in the world.
In turn mission not fired-up by devotion becomes a cold and distant following of the God of philosophers and scholars, not the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob.
In this time of expressing gratitude to our priests, I thank them especially for the books that have true blessings in our lives.
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