"… Continuing the Service, Love and Celebrations… SLC - 57 years and counting!"March 09, 2021
Education does not change the world;
it changes the person that can change the world.
Paulo Freire was a philosopher and educator, whose core contribution of education and communication is in articulating clearly the difference between education as a banking method (one knows and the other does not therefore knowledge has to be deposited in the other) or education which leads to critical thinking and to concrete praxis towards liberation, liberation from all sorts of oppression (this demands systematic knowledge of reality (conscientization) and the determination to transform human conditions to a dignified level (conviction).
By herself, SLC does not change the world. In SLC, the persons that can change the world are formed and trained. In our strategic planning, we go through the process of articulating the what, when, how, who, and most importantly the WHY. Why are we in this endeavour? Why are we cracking our heads day in and day out just to stay relevant? Where is our edge, where is our add-on, our specific catholic (Christian) contribution? Why this edge?
In SLC, I reiterate, the persons that can change the world are formed and trained. We can say therefore that SLC is a space that is formative, expecting that learners and mentors alike will become carriers, catalysts and sustainers of transformative encounters.
On a lighter side, the organizers of this Eucharistic celebration chose an excerpt from the New Testament (the Letter of Paul to the Colossians), gently reminding us that we are chosen by God, that we are blessed persons in the midst of our brokenness. We have to believe this. We did not choose, God chose us to be here, now, at this very moment, to be part of this educational institution.
Then, comes a checklist just to know for a while how we are faring: say: you are now 57 years old, how are you faring? Are you (are we), am I/are we:
- Compassionate, kind, humble, disciplined, even-tempered, content with being a servant leader with good common sense, quick to forgive, grateful?
We might be failing or we might be faring on just above the average. Sometimes, we are disappointed with ourselves, with our performance. Or, we are performing very well. In any case, let the words of Paul console and inspire us: We are chosen by God for this new life of love.
Being a Christ-Centered Institution of Higher Learning, all that we are and all that we do is anchored in Jesus Christ. In the Gospel reading that was just proclaimed, explicitly, Jesus has told us not to act like the rulers of the Gentiles who ruled over their subjects. Jesus categorically rejects that and commands that a different dynamic/approach that jibes with the way or style of God the Father be in place.
And Jesus commanded:
“But it shall not be so among you;
Saanto koma a kasta ti aramidenyo. (Iloko)
Ngunit hindi magiging ganyan sa inyo. (Tagalog)
- whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Allow me to say this in our own native language:
- ti agtarigagay nga agpangulo, masapul nga agserbi kadakayo amin. Ket ti agtarigagay nga isu ti nagrunaan, masapul nga isu ti adipenyo., a kas iti Anak ti Tayo a saan nga immay a paserbian no di ket tapno agserbi ken yawatna ti biagna a pangsubbot kadagiti adu a tattao.
There we found the clearest description of our being CHRIST-CENTERED: the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve. TRANSFORMATIONAL SERVICE. And the description goes further: and to give his life as a ransom for many. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, to give your own life for OTHERS.
Your one year service, your forty years service in this Christ-Centered Institution is giving fruit because you do it out our LOVE. If it is not giving fruit, it is because it is being done like the rulers of the Gentiles.
In everything, GIVE THANKS! JOYFUL CELEBRATION. We are grateful for the opportunity God is giving us to serve and love, and in so doing, encounter meaning and purpose in life.
In sum, we have: transformational Service, unconditional Love, joyful Celebration.
Allow me to express this reminder and advice of mine; one that we need so urgently during these trying times. As a Louisian learn and as a Lousian mentor/pedagogue, we have our contemplative dimension. By nature, we are contemplatives, so to speak. We have to revive and sustain our contemplative side. What does that mean? The whole of Creation is a Mystery and why not allow ourselves be overwhelmed by this awesome reality. We will be able to reach this if we are capable of silencing ourselves, which helps us listen to the Voice of God. Today, we are “very much connected” (with all these reachable technological gadgets and applications) but it seems we are less and less “communicated or communicating with one another”, and consequently with our God.
So many distractions and so many words! Our contemplative posture is a bit disturbed. As Christ-Centered learners and mentors, let us revive and sutain our contemplative character. From time to time, let us be silent and just be there face to face without any masks, without any shields, but face to face with God who would surely share his love and “not the virus”!
We are grateful for the efforts and dedication of our Founder and Visionary, Fr. Alfred Spincemaille, CICM; for the dedicated personnel of SLC who during these past fifty-seven years have contributed and collaborated in keeping SLC united, vibrant and life-giving; for the visionaries among us who help us see where we are going.
May we continue to be SLC: Let us strive to transition from Noun to Verb: from Service, Love and Celebration, to: to Serve, to Love and to Celebrate!
Happy Foundation Day!