Continue To Burn The Fire of Love!
By Roel Joe E. Abonal
“Where is your snack?” I asked the boy in his dirtied and outgrown shirt in my first community service in Cabuyao. Laguna. “I brought it home.” With those words from him, I already knew what he meant—he brought his snack home for his family. In my heart were a bit of pain and a little joy. I sensed that he is just one of the many kids suffering from a pain they do not know. And they need help.
The bronze sculptures I often see in front the St. Vincent Building always give me the tendency to stop and look at it for sometime. I am always filled with so much awe and as I continue to walk, I end up reflecting on the message it wishes to convey. I wonder what they are conversing about.
If ever St. Vincent is alive, as well as the other statues, and I was invited to sit down, I will tell him about the many things I reflected upon. I will relay to him the steps Adamson University was able to make in the last 75 years since it has been founded. All the accomplishments, victories, memories that this university was able to achieve and even those simple triumphs, moments of failures, times of hopelessness, and even faithlessness I will tell him. And most importantly, I will tell him about the distinct vision of Adamson University which up to now continues to live and hand down-humble service to the poor.
“We can give without loving but we can not love without giving.” These words vividly express the intention of St. Vincent through the various undertakings of Adamson University. “St. Vincent, we are educated here in this University not to serve those in the glorious seats but those who are considered in the society as the least, the last, and the lowly,” we could probably say to our patron saint. Even if many aspire to have a good job and have better salaries, the service of the poor—the call of every Adamsonian—burns inside us and continues to set our hearts in joy.
“We are finding more avenues on how to reach out more to those in need,” an administrator of the University tells the saint.
“To make it sure that we can provide an integral and direct service to the poor, we are dedicating ourselves in the formation not only of the minds but more importantly, of the hearts of every student we meet each day in the classrooms,” a teacher eagerly shares.
St. Vincent’s charisma continuously fuels the commitment not only of the administrators and teachers but more importantly, of the students. “We all hope that we will not anymore see a child sleeping at a sidewalk during a cold night, a helpless teenager walking half naked along the streets looking for food, a mother asking for alms at a corner carrying her infant, a father trying to build a house out of cardboard boxes for his family, the sick left alone with no one to look after him and the dying who longs for someone to care for and love him even in the last moments of his life.” These words could always be the prayer of every Adamsonian, a prayer that serves as a goal and a source of inspiration.
“Your work for the poor without any expectation of something in return motivates us to give more ourselves generously to those whom we can reach out at our young age,” a freshman student said.
“We are passionately representing the poor by voicing out their grievances through our participations in various activities against suppression, corruption, and selfishness,” a student leader declared. “We are helping them by walking our public officials up and telling them that there is something that needs to be done,” he added.
St. Vincent’s dedication to serve the deprived is a big signboard for all of us that no matter who we are, what we are, we can serve and help the poor even in simple ways. We need not to wait for years or even centuries just to make a difference. Even if others may find it unusual that we care for the poor, we are called to live that vision with passion, dedication, hope, and faith in the Almighty.
While sitting inside the bus, I was still looking at the young boy I talked with earlier. His eyes were fixed on our bus as if hoping that we did not leave that place anymore. As the bus was already getting farther from that village, the Adamsonian Prayer resounded in my ears, “ May your special love for the poor, the mark of my uniquely Vincentian education, be the work I excel in, the standard I constantly refer to, and my courage when I meet you someday!”
Sword and Aegis
By Russel John Gogolin
In spite of the busy buzz of the modern world and every distraction it throws, one is held captive when one lay their eyes on the golden statues immersed in deep conversation in front of the SV Building. Puzzled, one would ask, what is said by those still lips, what is exchanged between those blank eyes and the inviting gestures. I stared for seconds, minutes, and hours still I hear nothing but the sound of metal hitting against metal, engines of colossal trucks passing by the University and the insignificant noises by student running late for their classes.
Frustrated, it seems useless to rely on mere sight. I closed my eyes eager to hear what the fortunate few had heard. Then there was silence, a murmur, a gurgle like sound that later on turned to a whisper and not for long an enthusiastic voice cleared the void. “I had envisioned Adamson University to be the best in its field. Through the years, I had seen it grow as a competent institution in the field of education, surpassed milestones, and achieved goals. And my reply to you St. Vincent our beloved patron: Adamson University will continue its mission in giving the poor the chance to have quality education and the chance to free themselves from the grasp of poverty. This school shall continue to open its door to those who want to learn, and as long as there is a single student whether inside or outside the school that needs us, it shall remain so. Through the process, we still instill in them your sacred virtue of charity and special love for the poor. We will mold competent Vincentian graduates dedicated to God and to those who are in need, readily capable of taking the world in their hands.”
“Are you not afraid?” a wise voice had spoken “that your vision might fall into ruins? This is a very precarious task, a burden forever in your shoulder. Encumbrances are inevitable and will always be somewhere, waiting.”
“It’s true that the claw of failure is out there, but no matter. I will face it head on! Can you not see? This is what we have in common: you continued your mission in the middle of the war, amidst political instability and overpowering poverty. But this did not stop you. Our building in Intramuros was occupied by the Japanese during the World War II and was later on destroyed but neither this stopped us. No matter what happens, Adamson University will continue to be an institution with the environment and practice conducive for learning and interpersonal development.”
“Pardon me, Sirs,” a young voice had spoken. “St. Vincent, I can not help but to ask this question. Can I not just go out there and help the poor? I mean, why should I bother with education? I only need love for God and love for the people, right? I don’t need to have four or five years under this roof to help. Is there really a need for education?”
“My dear student, I am moved by your courage but I am greatly troubled by your ignorance. How can you give food when you yourself have none? Such thinking will only give you failure. Child, education is there for two things