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"I am a true Louisian, I work for the common good (First Sunday of Advent and CICM Foundation Day – November 28, 2021)"
December 01, 2021

president

I am a true Louisian
I am at the service of others.
I give my best as Christ did.
I work for the common good.

When we are expecting visitors at home, we prepare our homes for their arrival: we clean, we arrange, we put away some junk, we add some decorations on the wall or on the table, we see that there is enough food to be served, and many other things that we do to prepare for the coming of our visitors.

Why do we prepare so much? It is because we give importance to our “bisita”. Hindi lang siya basta basta! Special siya! We give the best to our visitors.

Advent is given to us as a time to see how prepared we are to receive the promised Messiah. Am I prepared? To what am I attached that distracts me from being Christ-centered? What things, plans, persons, places, attitudes and values I am firmly holding on and that I have considered as more important than the impact and influence of Christ in my life?

But when we say that we are preparing for the coming of the Messiah, it does not mean the He is not yet here. He is here with us. This is the mystery of the Incarnation. By virtue of our Baptism, we have received new life in the Spirit. There is a sacred space in us even though we act so miserably. There is an indestructible space that is the place of our Lord is us, in all of us.

Nobody can destroy that sacred space. That is why we respect the other, because being created in the image and likeness of God, the other person is a sacred temple. That is why we take care of our bodies, of ourselves. That is why we see to it that we are decent.

Like a plant, we nourish ourselves. We water ourselves; we prune some parts so that the flowers will come and bloom. Advent is a time of introspection.

Our three readings of today remind us of one constant in our life: REPENTANCE AND NEW BEGINNINGS IN THE CONTEXT OF AUTHENTIC CONVERSION. That is how much God loves us. He knows we will fall down. But he will raise us up again and give us a new chance, to be better.

Today, November 28 is marked by an important event: the Foundation Day of CICM. One hundred fifty-nine years ago today, CICM was founded in Belgium.  I cannot but reflect on this event.

Just a few days ago, a colleague of ours from another CICM school, asked me: in a sentence, could you tell me what is the ultimate goal of our school? To this simple but essential question, I answered with a short but sincere answer: TO FORM COMPETENT AND COMMITTED LEADERS FOR SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION CENTERED IN CHRIST.

That was my straight to the point answer. This led me actually for compose what I would propose as our College mantra. A mantra is a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation common in Hinduism.

I am a true Louisian
I am at the service of others.
I give my best as Christ did.
I work for the common good.

In one of the Letters of Very Reverend Theophile Verbist, the Founder of CICM, he said: He or she who loves, nothing is difficult. AMANTE NIHIL DIFFICILE.

Fifty-seven years ago, Fr. Alfred Spincemaille, CICM, the Founder of Saint Louis College of San Fernando, believed that quality education centered in the life and works of Jesus our Lord would surely contribute competent and committed leaders aware of his or her social responsibility. As a popular saying goes: “if you plan for one year, plant rice; if you plan for ten years, plant a tree; if you plan for a hundred years, educate your children.”

Theophile Verbist founded a new missionary congregation at the service of the poorest of the poor. Alfred Spincemaille, through his pioneering initiative, re-founded CICM.

This leads us to the realization that we, the Management, Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents and Alumni, in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, are re-founding CICM. Every day that we contribute something so that we can reach our goal as SLC, we are re-founding CICM.

When thirty-four of our CE graduates passed the board exams, one of them even was top four, the joy was not only my joy or that of Management. It is also YOUR joy. We re-live the memory of Theophile Verbist, we continue the conviction of Spincemaille, we contextualize their contribution in the realities of our times. We are re-founding CICM in our varied significant ways. The missionary charism lives on.

And so, we celebrate this amazing gift from God today and the years to come! Let us celebrate with grateful hearts.

Let this inspiring insight from Pope Francis linger in our hearts and minds: 

“ … the Kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing, here and there, and in different ways: like the small seed which grows into a great tree, like the measure of leaven that makes the dough rise and like the good seed that grows amid the weeds and can always pleasantly surprise us … Christ’s resurrection is already secretly woven into the fabric of this history, for Jesus did not rise in vain. May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope! (The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel), number 278).

 

There is a call to action here: MAY WE NEVER REMAIN ON THE SIDELINES OF THIS MARCH OF LIVING HOPE. Never be neutral nor mediocre. If there is an injustice being committed and we do not denounce it, we are complicit to the injustice. The first candle that we just lighted in our Advent wreath symbolizes HOPE. This march or this journey has to be done together, with the others who are lovers and promoters of justice and peace and the integrity of creation.

This is synodality that is being promoted by Pope Francis. As an African saying goes: “If you want to walk fast, walk alone; if you want to walk far, walk together”.

May we never leave anyone alone during these pandemic times. May we never contribute to the destruction of our environment and may we do now all we can to restore the natural balance of the whole of Creation. May we be aware of our social responsibility and therefore deliberately plan our actions to effect social change for the good of all. May we carry high the torch of HOPE in the midst of uncertainty and despair. May we continue to serve others with JOY.

May we elect in these coming 2022 Local and National Elections public servants who are God-fearing and patriotic, decent and humble, competent and participatory, with untainted record of public service

May we celebrate all our victories and accomplishments, as we move forward, elevating to the heavens our praises, all for God’s greater glory and humankind’s true happiness and fulfillment.

 

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