Sunday, June 3, 2012


I'm a bit sad that, two weeks from now I could no longer sit on the back benches or stand at the side of the entrance of the churches whenever I go to mass. I will be forced to stay in front, not just in the front row, but in the altar.

When I was a small boy, my grandma use to bring me to church but she loves to be seated in the very first bench. I didn't like it because I couldn't play with the rest of the kids and I am forced to behave, be steady, and be reserved.

When I went to high school, I started sitting in the middle benches. Though later on in fourth year I transferred at the rear side benches because I joined the choir to add more points to my extra curricular activity grades. The rest of the year, when there is no choir, I would sit in the halfway of the church in order to be able to sit beside a special someone. 

When I joined the youth ministry of the parish, I started sitting everywhere. And when I became a seminarian, I would sit on the backmost benches or stand leaning on the back walls of the church or stay outside. I became one of the many "OUTSTANDING" members of the parish as they fondly call it here in QC. Standing outside the church - OUT STANDING.

In being an "outstanding" member of the church, I discovered a lot of things, I became friends of many, I found most of my friends, my schoolmates, love ones. I got the chance to talk to the men of the women of our town. And lastly, I got to know more the father of my other special friend. 

It was actually Raul Romero, our former commandant in the citizens army training who moved me to stay at the back of the church, far from the altar while I am still a seminarian. He was also one of those "outstanding" members of my parish in Oas. One day I got curious and asked him the reason why he loves to stay outside than to be inside the church. He just smiled at me and asked me a question "what's wrong with it" he said. Then he told me, "you know what Louie, you should enjoy now being with and where most of the people are so that you can feel also their presence. Once you become ordained, you'll never have the chance to stay here where we are now, but rather you will be there at the altar forever. You will be in front forever. At least later on you will be proud that you know how it is to stay low, to be at the limelight at the back before you were put to the pedestal." 

Sir Raul was right. I really did enjoy sitting at the back with the rest of the people. Joining them sometimes in the chikahan instead of being attentive to the homily helped me discover more of the joys, the pains, the sorrow and the hopes of my fellow men. I thank my teacher for that wisdom which may be a foolishness to some old traditional readers out there. In sitting at the back, and in being an outstanding member of the church, I heard what are the common complaints of the faithful in the priests' homilies. Oh, I should be very careful now on that. I have seen butts peeping out of the pants, different spaghetti straps, colored or white skins, different types of foolishness. I have heard "kilig" stories of the youth, different complaints of men on the unending charming voice of their unlimited call of their wives. Etc, etc, etc.

I believe that there is nothing wrong in sitting at the back of the church or in being an "outstanding" member of the congregation. As long as your heart and mind is on what is being done in front, then its alright. After all, God would not ask you where you have been seated during the celebrations. He would always be after your heart, if it had been an "outstanding" heart and knows how to go back to God. 

What actually prompted me today to recall why I love to sit at the back of the church is the picture that you see above

1 comment:

  1. hahahah. Now I understand many things...

    13 days!