Monday, April 18, 2016

San Vicente IS Series: Homecoming - "I am waiting for you, my child"

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8-9 evening class Monday to Friday

  I am a modern day Prodigal Son. I spent fifty long years searching and searching for a place I may call my own in the whole wide world. Yes, fifty long years of my youth and in old age – twice longer the fiction character Rip van Winkle did sleep – and now I am back to the portals of my hometown, to the waiting arms of my father.


St Vncent Ferrer, Patron saint

The proverbial Lamp I still hold flickers, but it is but a beacon in embers now, for it had spent its luminance in the darkness of human weakness and failures, it beamed across the ocean of ignorance and lost hope, it trailed the path of many adventures and discoveries, and it kept vigil in the night while I slept.

And what would my father say? He meets me, embraces me, and calls everyone. “Kill the fattest calf! Let us rejoice.”

San Vicente is my home. It is the bastion of my hopes and ideals. At the far end on entering the old church is written on the altar, faded by the elements of time and rough hands of devotees, Ur-urayenka Anakko – I am waiting for you my child. When the world is being ripped by conflicts or pampered with material progress, when mankind shudders at the splitting of the atom or the breaking of the code of life, when the future is viewed with high rise edifices or clouded by greenhouse gases – my town becomes more than ever relevant to the cause for which it has stood through the centuries - the sanctuary of idealism in a troubled world, home of hundreds of professionals in many fields of human endeavor.

“Kill the fattest calf,” I hear my father shout with joy. It is celebration. It is a symbol of achievement more than I deserve. But my feeling is that I am standing on behalf of my colleagues for I am but an emissary. Out there in peace and trials, in villages and metropolises, in all endeavors and walks of life, many “Vincentians” made their marks, either recognized on the stage or remembered on stone on which their names are carved. I must say, it is an honor and privilege that I am here in humility to represent them that I may convey their unending faith and trust to our beloved hometown.

The world has changed tremendously, vastly, since I passed under the town arch to meet the world some fifty years ago. I have met wise men who asked the famous question “Quo vadis?” -where are you going? I can only give a glimpse from the eye of a teacher, far for the probing mind of Alvin Toffler in “Future Shock,” or those of Naisbitt and Aburdane, renowned modern prophets. Teachers as I know, and having been trained as one, see the world as it is lived; they make careful inferences, and take a bird’s eye view cautiously. They are conveyors of knowledge, and even with modern teaching tools and communication technology, cannot even qualify as chroniclers, nay less of forecasters. I have always strived to master the art of foretelling the future, but frankly I can only see it from atop a misty mountain. How I wish too, that I can fully witness the fruits of the seed of knowledge a teacher has sown in the mind of the young.

Limited my experience may be, allow me to speak my mind about progress and developments in the fifty years I was away from home, but on the other side of midnight, so to speak.

1. The monster that Frankenstein made lurks in nuclear stockpiles, chides with scientists tinkering with life, begging to give him a name and a home.

2. Our blue planet has an ugly shade of murk and crimson – fire consuming the forests, erosion eating out the land, polar ice shrinking, flooding the shorelines.

3. One race one nation equals globalization. How we have taken over evolution in our hands. We are playing God, is Paradise Lost II in the offing?

4. The world is wired, it travels fast on two feet – communication and transportation. The world has shrunk into but a village. Homogenization is the death sentence amid a bed of roses for mankind.

5. Man-induced phenomena are too difficult to separate from those of nature. We take the latter as an excuse of our follies, a rationalization that runs counter to be rational. Only the human species has both the capability to build or destroy – and yet we love to destroy what we build.

6. The dangerous game of numbers is a favorite game, and our spaceship is getting overloaded. Man’s needs, more so man’s want, become burgeoning load of Mother Earth, now sick and aging. Will Pied Piper ever come back and take our beloved young ones away from us, as it did in Hamlyn many years ago?

7. Conscience, conscience, where is spirituality that nourishes it. Where have all the religious teachings gone? Governance – where is the family, the home? Peace and order – Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan – another Korea, another Vietnam, only in another place, in another time.

8. Janus is progress, and progress is Janus. It is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is The Prince and the Pauper. Capitalism has happy and sad faces – the latter painted in pain and sadness on millions all over the world. It is inequity that makes the world poor; we have more than enough food, clothing, shelter, and energy for everybody. What ideology can save the world? Capitalism or socialism? – No, not Terrorism.

As I grew older I did not only learn to adjust with the realities of life as I encountered it but to grasp its meaning from the points of view of famous philosophers and writers. I studied it with the famous lines from William Blake’s famous poem, Auguries of Innocence.

To wit.
To see the world in a grain of sand;
And a Heaven a wild flower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

                                                                     - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

If ever I have ventured into becoming a “redeemer” armed with a pen, I too, have learned from Blake’s verse of the way man should view the world in all its magnanimity yet in simplicity. If ever I have set foot to reach the corners of the Earth, and failed, I am consoled by the humble representation of “a grain of sand” that speaks of universal truth and values.

And beauty? If I have not found it in a garden of roses, I dare not step on a flowering weed. And posterity and eternity? They are all ensconced in periodicity, a divine accident of existence – to say that each and every one of us is here in this world by chance – an unimaginable chance – at “a certain time and place” which I believe has a purpose in whatever and however one lives his life. But I would say that a lifetime is all it takes “to see the world” and be part of it. It is a lifetime that we realize the true meaning of beauty, experience “infinity and eternity”. Lifetime is a daily calendar of victories and defeats.

While the world goes round and around . . .

The world like in Aristotle’s time continue to struggle with the preservation of values; the species will continue to evolve as postulated by Darwin; culture will express itself more fully since the first painting of early man dwelling in the caves of Lasceaux in France.

Ancestral home of the author in San Vicente IS

Trade and commerce will continue to progress, reaches a plateau and declines - a normal curve that goes with the rise and fall of civilizations. Yet leaders do not see it that way. Not even the Utopia of conquerors like Alexander the Great whose global economic vision two thousand five hundred years ago is fundamental to the great powers of today – the United States, European Union.

The great religions will continue to bring man to his knees and look into heaven amidst knowledge revolution and growing complexity of living, Man’s infinitesimal mind continues to probe the universe. Never has man been so busy, so bothered, so confused, yet so determined than ever before, and trying to fill up God’s seventh day.

As I go on reflecting I came across the book of Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, 1994. He warns us succinctly.

“This world, which appears to be a great workshop in which knowledge is developed by man – which appears as progress and civilization, as a modern system of communication, as a structure of democratic freedom without any limitations – this world is not capable of making man happy.

- Pope John Paul II, On the Threshold of Hope

Now I am home, my father, my hometown. I do only wish for comfort. Thank you for you have taught me and instilled in me the spirit of virtue and fortitude. Thank you for making me a Vincentian.~

 St Vincent Ferrer - Confessor, Angel of the Last Judgment  Confessor, Angel of the Last Judgment


Born 23 January 1350(1350-01-23)
Valencia, Kingdom of Valencia

Died 5 April 1419(1419-04-05) (aged 69)
Vannes, Brittany

Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion
Canonized 3 June 1455, Rome by Pope Calixtus III
Major shrine Vannes Cathedral

Feast 5 April
Attributes pulpit; cardinal's hat; trumpet; captives; Bible
Patronage builders, construction workers, plumbers

Vincent was the second son of William Ferrer (an English immigrant to Spain) and his wife, Constantia Miguel. Legends surround his birth.

He would fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and he loved the Passion of Christ very much. He would help the poor and distribute many alms to them. Vincent decided to join the Dominicans when his father gave him a choice whether to enter into secular, ecclesiastical, or a religious state.

University of Santo Tomas Chapel

Ferrer entered the Dominican Order at the age of eighteen and studied philosophy and theology. He prayed and practiced penance. For a period of three years, he read solely Sacred Scripture, and eventually committed it to memory. He published a treatise on Dialectic Suppositions after his solemn profession. He eventually became a Master of Sacred Theology and was commissioned to deliver lectures on philosophy. He was then sent to Barcelona and eventually to the University of Lleida, where he earned his doctorate in theology.

Vincent later claimed that the Great Schism had such a depressing effect on his mind that it caused him to be seriously ill at the age of forty. He claimed that God healed him and instructed him to go out and convert many. For twenty-one years he was said to have traveled to Aragon, Castile, Switzerland, France, Italy, England, Ireland, and Scotland, preaching the Gospel and converting many. Many biographers believe that he was endowed with the gift of tongues, as he could speak only Catalan.

Vincent is said to be responsible for the conversion of many Jews to Catholicism. One of his converts, a former rabbi by the name of Solomon ha-Levi, went on to become Bishop of Cartagena and later Archbishop of Burgos. Vincent is noted to have contributed to anti-Semitism in Spain, as violence accompanied his visits to towns that had Jewish communities. One of Vincent's achievement was in converting a synagogue in Toledo, Spain into the church of Santa María la Blanca.

Vincent was very loyal to the Avignonese Pope Benedict XIII, better known as "Papa Luna" in Castile and Aragon, remained in steadfast loyalty to him, and believed that Benedict XIII was the true Pope. Vincent died on 5 April 1419 at Vannes in Brittany, and was buried in Vannes Cathedral. He was canonized by Pope Calixtus III on 3 June 1455. His feast day is celebrated on 5 April. The Fraternity of Saint Vincent Ferrer, a Pontifical religious institute, is named after him.~ (Wikipedia)

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