In the Letter to the Hebrews 12:10, it says, “They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness.” This passage strikes what it is like to live inside the Collegio Ecclesiastico Internazionale Sedes Sapientiae.
It has been half a year since I arrived in the Eternal City, where the heart of Catholicism is. I could not believe that I am currently living here. It is quite difficult to be away from my family, friends and the Filipino culture. But this does not in any way hinder me from continuing my priestly formation.
Sedes Sapientiae is viewed by others as a house where one meets difficulties and burdens, but I disagree. It seems that the manner of “giving” formation is strict when seen from the outside because to interpret life at Sedes Sapientiae is like interpreting the Bible. Without putting oneself in the context and within the faith, one can never understand.
But to be honest, I was afraid when I first came here. I practiced how I did things before. If this is the schedule, one does not have a choice but to do it. Here, discipline is a discipline with freedom. One is free to do what one desires but must not fail to anticipate the consequences. There is the sense of family where one has the freedom to exercise his free will but with proper guidance and proper thinking.
I have chosen to start this testimony of my life at this seminary with the letter to the Hebrews because it depicts how we learn and how we are formed inside. Things we can do and things we cannot do are dished out to us but these do not oblige. One can ponder if these fit you or not. These can be done to help you become holy through your own labors. The seminary and the university do not only teach how to be a good student and a good seminarian. Rather they teach us how to encounter Jesus, the Broken Bread, in our daily lives. If I don’t understand the lesson, my formators would tell me, “Offer them to God because He knows it.”
Sedes Sapientiae and Pontificia Univeristà della Santa Croce do not challenge us seminarians to be the most intelligent but to seek God in our labors while we study, eat, walk etc. because God never leaves our side. If you fail, offer everything to Him because, as St. Josemaría Escrivá said, “You cannot fail. You haven’t failed; you have gained experience. On you go!” Life here is a continuous series of experiences that lead towards holiness.