I grew up in a family where praying the holy rosary every night is our devotion to Mary because that is the only perfect time for us as a family to thank the Lord for everything He has given us. We attend mass together and we always participate in church activities. Our parents brought us to the community and all of us their children started in the kid’s ministry where we really enjoy all the fun filled activities, assemblies, fellowship and building relationships towards other members. We also attend regional and international conferences which help us to deepen our spiritual life and catholic faith. I became a servant leader of the MFC Youth and underwent different formations and training. Several times I was sent to different missions in the provinces to serve as music ministry, to give a talk or to simply accompany my members. I thought that what I am doing is enough reason to say that I am a holy person.
My own definition of being holy is to pray and talk to God every day, to be a good son to my parents, to always say Yes to mission, to be faithful in your covenant with God, to love and serve without expecting something in return. But with the help of our teachings in the community I realized that this personal definition of Holiness is more than being good and doing the service for God unconditionally.
Through the book of our Servant General, Tito Frank Padilla entitled “Set Apart” I was reminded of the real and deeper meaning of what it means to be Holy. It came from the Hebrew word “qodesh” which means “to be set apart. It means not to totally separate physically from the world around us, what we avoid are the secular values of the world.
I learned that to be set apart is to keep His commandment and follow the ways of Christ not of the world. As a missionary and as a catholic it is very difficult to live a Christian life, we are to love our enemy, to honor our father and mother, to love our neighbors just as how we love God, we are to live a chaste life, we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. All of these seem so difficult but if we truly love the Lord, we will make a decision every single day to follow Him no matter what.
To be set apart is about total detachment from the things of the world so that we can have total attachment to God. This includes turning away from all the worldly lures, worldly desires and ultimately not committing sin that causes us to look at ourselves not worthy of His love. Sin can really destroy us, let us strive hard to turn away from all our wrong doings and actions. More than not to commit sin, let us be intentional to remain in the state of grace for this is the only way to intimately stay in God’s presence.
As a missionary I challenge myself to strive hard to be set apart because I want to see myself and my family to be with God in heaven. Every Christian must know that God’s ultimate plan for all of us is to be with Him in heaven, where we can no longer experience suffering, pain and disappointment.
Living a life of holiness is possible! God’s grace will sustain us!
Jay Tropicales is a Full Time Pastoral Worker of MFC Youth. He is currently serving as the Youth Coordinator of MFC CARE Project as well as the area youth servant of NCR East.