In My Father's House

Poems, Prayers, Inspirations, Photos and Musings about life, love and what it means to be a child of the Father

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Nothing Lasts Forever

Yesterday I delivered an invitation letter to Fr. Al from the Dept. of English and Comparative Literature in U.P. Since he can't read the letter himself, he asked me (by gesturing and mumbling a few sounds) to read it for him. Being a distinguished alumnus and long-time faculty member of the Department (he was one if not the first to get a Ph. D from there), he was invited to attend today's 95th anniversary celebration.

He was so excited to hear the news and expressed that he would like to come. But he couldn't express it in one straight and coherent sentence. I had to coax out from him what he wanted to say by filling in the first two words that came out of his mouth. I was suddenly struck by the realization that this genial Jesuit has lost his gift of language, his ability to express in lush prose and poetry what he feels in his heart.

A few months ago, I was agonizing over the difficulty of reading his scholarly dissertation. And now, I am agonizing at what he is trying to say. From the brilliant scholar, beloved teacher of literature and untiring tutor to those who wanted to polish their English, Fr. Al has become a speechless songbird. I see in his eyes both the joy of the news I brought to him and at the same time the sadness and frustration that he could not share with me his precious memories of his bygone days.

In this Society of ours (our Jesuit congregation), nothing lasts forever. Not the gift of speech, the ability to speak in seven languages. Not the keen and sharp intelligence. Not the physical beauty or charm. Not the sense of humor nor the zeal and passion for work. Everything, everything can be taken, most of them quite literally, in fulfilment of what we pray everyday:

Take and receive, o Lord
My liberty, take all my will,
My mind, my memory
All things I hold and all I own
Are Yours, Yours was the gift to You
I all resign
Do You, direct and govern all and sway
Do what You will, command and I will obey
Only Your Grace, Your Love on me bestow
These make me rich, All else will I forego...

Nothing lasts forever. Except God's faithfulness and promises that at the end of our lives, after all the toils and pains of loving, ours is the Eternity to rest in His Loving Embrace.


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