Opinyon

We Take a Stand

From Getting Out Of The Seminary To Teaching And Marrying A Student

4 min read

By Bob Acebedo | Published: October 14, 2020

 

I have three fascinating stories to tell about ex-seminarians teaching in college and end up marrying students – that of my ex-seminarian friend X, then of my ex-seminarian teaching colleague Y, and myself.

My ex-seminarian friend X – a classmate of mine in the seminary – didn’t marry his own student, but rather the one from the other classroom next to his.

 

Because Of A Shoe

The story goes that while my friend X was teaching, the room next to his was devoid of a teacher or professor and the students were boisterously noisy.

Suddenly, a lady’s shoe came hurtling into my friend X’s room landing right on his table.

Thereupon, distracted by plunging object’s intrusion and next room’s noise, my friend X picked up the shoe and went to the other room to reprimand the students. Guess what?

To cut the story short, the lady student who owned the shoe later became my friend X’s wife – well, after an ensuing time of courting and the student having graduated from college.

 

Request Granted

Then, there’s my former teaching colleague Y.

Being ex-seminarians, we were both teaching in the school’s Theology-Philosophy Department.

My ex-seminarian colleague Y asked me to grant a request of a female graduating student from my class, a beautiful and intelligent lass, to be transferred to his section.

Having fallen in love with her, my colleague Y readily married the student after graduating from college.

 

Chalk And Umbrella

Then also, there’s my own story.

After going out of the seminary, I got immediately into college teaching.

On my first day of work, ostensibly fresh and “naive” to the outside world, I went to the classroom ahead of time.

There was only one student, a lady, sitting in the front row. After asking her if she was enrolled in my class and noticing that there was no chalk (for the board), I courteously asked her if she could find a chalk for me while waiting for the other students.

On that moment, I already felt my heart beating a bit differently.

Then on another occasion, a few months later, I found myself stranded at the school’s facade waiting for the rain to subside and get a ride home.

Suddenly, this same student of mine appeared offering her umbrella. This time my heart beat even faster and I was certain that I like her.

 

Convent and Seminary

I later knew that, like me who had just gotten out of the seminary, she too had spent two years of aspirancy in a nunnery (sisters’ convent) and was just out to finish her last year in college, then supposedly go back to the convent.

Well, destiny willed that neither she would go back to the convent nor me to the seminary because we got married after over a year later.

We’re now on our 35th year of happy marriage, with four grown up sons, who are all ex-seminarians too.

 

Marriage Is A Vocation

From these three stories – and reckoning particularly on my own experience – I have come to realize the following insights.

One, love is truly indiscriminating and unforeseeable. Indiscriminating, that it knows no boundaries (between students and teachers); and unforeseeable, that it comes in the most unexpected time, place or occasion. Everybody is equal before the bar of love; it is the ultimate equalizer.

Two, marriage is a vocation and of equal importance with priestly vocation. Both have the same underlying calling and mission: to love. For the priesthood, it is loving God (nay just serving) and loving the community church (thus, a priest is a “father” to the community or church). For marriage, it is loving God too and loving (not just supporting) the family, being the domestic church.

Three, both marriage and priesthood entail total commitment or self-giving. Both require undivided dedication in observing its respective vows: poverty, chastity or celibacy, and obedience for the priesthood; conjugal love, unity, and indissolubility for marriage.

Since both marriage and priesthood demand total commitment or self-giving, it behooves one to be sure enough of himself or herself before entering marriage or priesthood.

That’s why, for me, I decidedly went of the seminary even already on my penultimate formation year just to find out if I was really meant for the priesthood and thus willingly give my all to it.

 

A Meaningful Life

The same also when I decided to get married – I had to be dead certain that it has to be “till death do we part” or to use the colloquial local expression, “may forever.”

This certainty of oneself before entering marriage or priesthood can be an assurance of preparedness in fighting against all forms of challenges and temptations that are bound to shake your priestly or marital vows.

After all, as the immortal adage goes, “Amor omnia vincit.” Love conquers all.

And at life’s end, to paraphrase St. Teresa of Calcutta, “we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done,” but by how much we have loved and lived a meaningful life.

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