CEBU CITY – Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, the main celebrant of the votive mass of the Holy Spirit for the 7th Provincial Chapter, challenged the delegates to ask themselves with all sincerity these three questions: Where is your heart? Where is your joy? Who really are you?
He began by saying that for those who do not belong to the Augustinian family, the only Augustinian phrase they know is “Late have I loved you O beauty ever ancient, ever new… and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” He used this as the jumping board in asking the rst of three questions.
Where is your heart? The heart that he was referring was not so much to the physiological heart but rather to our life. He reminded the Capitulars that on the day of their profession and ordination they had already given up their hearts to the Lord and to the Church. This donation of the heart to the Lord and to the Church should permeate every deliberation, decision, and resolution that would be done during the Chapter. That they would be guided by what the heart of the Lord and the Church beats for because that will be the direction that they must take.
Archbishop Soc continued to challenge the Capitulars by asking the second question, “What makes you happy?” The source of their happiness must not merely lie in the strength of their numbers and the success of their ministries. Rather their joy and happiness and what eases their restlessness must be in the cross of the Lord because separated from it all happiness would be temporary. Perfect joy can only be found in the cross of the Lord.
The nal question he gave was “Who really are you?” This former president of the CBCP (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines) added that in the Augustinian
Order, religious may be given titles such as Prior General, Prior Provincial, or President of a certain university. But before the Lord these titles do not matter anymore. “Before the Lord these titles do not exist because in the presence of the Lord man is only a sinner, but a sinner touched by God and now made beautiful” he clari ed. Archbishop Soc used the motto in Pope Francis’ coat of arms “miserando atque eligiendo” to explain further that man is miserable and yet chosen and called to a life of dignity, unworthy he may be.
Three questions put the Capitulars on the right track, right at the start of this historic Provincial Chapter.