Friday, March 16, 2007

Twenty Five Years, Twenty Five Dreams

LAST March 18, 1982, at 10:00 a.m. I was ordained priest with three others by Archbishop Bruno Torpigliani, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines. The last twenty five years of my priestly life was marked by a passionate pursuit of dreams and visions. It all began when as a little boy, I looked at the priests who celebrated mass in school and at my parish church, wondering what it must be like to do what they do, say what they say and go were they go. I looked and watch in awe and wonder and wished that one day I too will experience that grand adventure called the priesthood.
The little boy’s dream eventually came true. Strangely, the dreams did not go or fade away through the years in spite of the painful realities and contradictions that came my way. I often wonder whether the dreams or the little boy really went away or are they still here behind the thoughts, feelings, energies, aspirations flowing through my finger tips onto the computer keys? I am fifty two alright and twenty five years thereof passionately, deliciously and adventurously spent as a priest responding to a voice that once said, “Come follow me.”
Oh, God knows where that voice has led me and what it has made me do. I am not exactly where I would want to be now but I do not have the slightest regret. I wish to thank the owner of the Voice whom I have tried to bravely and faithfully follow in the last twenty five years through a simple list of twenty five dreams. I am sure He is partly responsible for planting those dreams in me, but how these dreams may have happened or not yet happened are all choices and contexts that were partly due to and also beyond me. The dreams were more than adventures. They were doorways into mystery.
Thank You Jesus for your invitation then and now. Thank you for the adventure that continues even now and surely until the end of my human and priestly life. Thank you for the mystery that makes life worth all of my blood, sweat and tears.
I dream of following Jesus to strange, unknown and dangerous lands to bring the message of His Father’s Kingdom.
I dream of entering the seminary to prepare myself for this wonderful journey.
I dream of one day finally being able to say Mass for my people, specially the poor and the oppressed, bringing them the gospel of justice, truth and freedom.
I dream of living with the poor, knowing and understanding their lives, their struggles and their dreams.
I dream of finding a solution to the structural and social evils that are destroying our people’s faith, morality and future.
I dream of being part of the story of putting and end to the Conjugal Marcos Dictatorship or any dictatorship for that matter.
I dream of a Church not run by the ecclesiastical elite for the elite, a Church truly one with the people, especially the poor.
I dream of a priesthood free from the lure of money and material possessions, a priesthood nourished by the spirit of Christ, seen, felt and shared as love and compassion for and among the poor.
I dream of brother priests who will become family and community, who will share a vision of church, country and world that is always new and never jaded and trapped within uncreative dogmatism and fossilized tradition.
I dream of community where there is no high or low, where hierarchy is secondary to solidarity and communion, where service is more visible than authority.
I dream of running the whole stretch and breadth of the Philippines, to see, know and understand more deeply the country I love most.
I dream of running in different countries and getting to know peoples, their culture, history and dreams not only with mind, heart, soul but also with my feet.
I dream of studying culture, to know how my people and other people struggle to make sense of chaos, contradiction, conflict, wars and death in order to fashion a culture of lasting peace, justice, compassion, freedom and equality among all, humans and nature.
I dream of celebrations truly alive, relevant, indigenous, inclusive, empowering and liberating.
I dream of having friends from all over the world who can teach me more about what is on the other side and lead me beyond what is parochial towards the truly global.
I dream of being able to move in a world of fewer intrigues, lies and pettiness that engender needless hostility, animosity and division.
I dream of being forgiven and likewise being able to forgive those I have hurt and those who have hurt me.
I dream of living in a world where people no longer killed animals for food or turned them into clothes, toys or spectacles. Peace can only be complete when it is experienced by and with all creatures besides humans.
I dream of becoming more Asian and Eastern to complement my Western-ness. I dream of learning and doing more Tai Chi and Qigong, more Yoga and more running too, as well as deepening my knowledge and experience of Christian prayer and contemplation.
I dream of being able to express without fear or threat of repression or marginalization what is truly within. I dream of different peoples expressing themselves passionately and creatively in their unique, inimitable ways.
I dream of an end to Traditional “trapo” Politics that contaminates and vitiates not only government but all revered institutions including the churches.
I dream of a truly people’s government sincerely and above all concerned about the welfare and future of the ordinary people than the economic and political elite.
I dream of an end to all killings and the beginning of genuine justice implemented by courts of integrity, probity and dignity.
I dream of the return of most if not all exiles so that their dreams and those of their people can finally fuse into a consuming flame for the good and liberation of the Filipino people.
I dream of another twenty five years of listening and following the same Voice wherever and whatever it wants me to go and do.

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
March 16, 2007


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