Inspired and Blessed by Bob Acebedo
Inspired & Blessed

Crossing the Rubicon of faith and reason

Part 1

Feb 18, 2023, 1:54 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


“Pace, Tertullian, Athens has a lot to do with Jerusalem” (Monsignor Lito Maraya, Archdiocesan Shrine of Sto. Nino, Tacloban City).

One drizzly afternoon some few months ago, I went to see my seminary contemporary of long ago, Msgr. Lito Maraya, at his parish rectory in Tacloban City, Leyte, to deliver the pre-ordered copies of my book.

After I handed him the books, he invited me for some coffee and some kumustahan.

“Glad that you came, pais (how we address fellow alumni of Sacred Heart Seminary, Palo, Leyte). Long time, no see,” he facetiously said.

He was right – it must have been around 40 years or so since we were together back in the seminary. He’s seven years my junior, and back in SY 1981-82, I was 4th year college philosophy and he was just a high school freshman. Both high school and college seminarians were housed in our one seminary campus back then.

In the course of our conversation, I’ve learned that pais Msgr. Lito, after graduating AB Philosophy from Palo seminary, obtained his Bachelor in Theology from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain.

Impressively enough, he has two Master’s degrees and two Doctorate degrees. His Master’s degrees are: Licentiate in Ecclesiastical Philosophy from the University of Navarre, Spain; and Master in Philosophical Research from De La Salle University, Manila.

His Doctorate degrees are: Doctorate in Ecclesiastical Philosophy from the University of Navarre, Spain; and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Philosophy from De la Salle University, Manila.

From his highly- scholastic background, it’s no surprise that most of his ministry assignments have since been based in the college and theology seminaries of the archdiocese – Dean of Studies, Vice Rector, Rector, philosophy and theology professor – except for intermittent pastoral assignments in some parishes.

Obviously impressed with his uninterrupted long seminary formation and steep academic training, I was inclined to believe that his journey in “faith and reason (studies)” may have been unperturbed as well. But I felt some queasiness in my assumption. So, I fired up a question to him: Pais Monsignor, with your impressive seminary formation and academic background, was there any point in your life that you doubted about God or that you had a crisis of faith or your vocation?

I was taken aback by his answer: “I entered the seminary at the young age of 12 as a freshman at Sacred Heart Seminary, Palo, Leyte. From day one, I was sure, or better still, I took them as given, that God exists and that the Catholic Church is the true church. Since I grew up in a very religious family, I never doubted everything I heard and knew about God and the Catholic Church. However, one year before my diaconal ordination, it hit me very hard the realization that I was about to spend my whole life, and the only life that I have, as a priest of God. There would be no turning back. Then in succession, two hard questions popped in my head: What if there is no God? And if God exists, what if the Catholic Church is not the true church founded by Jesus Christ? I guess there was something selfish on my part (what if there’s no God and what if the Catholic church is not the true religion, then I would be wasting my whole life for nothing) why these questions came to my mind.”

Wow, what a revelation I got! I even more curiously asked: How were you able to surpass such crisis?

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