Love and the Order of Love
Devotion to Study and the Pursuit of Wisdom
Humble and Generous Service
Studying here in the University of San Agustin for our future is the main reason why we're here, but understanding its vertues is another. My reactions to what Fr. Esmeralda said concerning the Augustinian Values for students are these:
A.) Love and the hierarchy of values
According to St. Augustine, the essence of true love must first start by loving your fellow men, then yourself. This is stated in the bible as God's greatest and the chief commandment which says, "To love God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul," while the second one is "to love your neighbor as yourself." This is found in the book of Matthew, chapter 23 verses 37-39.
False love however, contradicts the essence of true love. It does not start by loving God nor with charity combined with respect for others. It is based on vanity, pride and lust. This is where pre-marital sex comes in.
This is most rampant in school wherein a teenage couple might think that both of them are madly in love with each other, thus leading them to transgress by engaging themselves into premarital intimacy, only to find out and realize later on that what they did was wrong, leaving them feeling guilty and dirty. I emphasize that true love with God, in the sacrament of matrimony, does not leave you any traces of guilty feelings. Rather, it makes one feel whole and pleasing, not only to the sight of God, but also to the eyes of men.
In the hierarchy of love, God is the apex of love, followed by men, and lastly, the love of material things or love of the world. But do we really love God above all things? Most pof us loves ourselves first, then the world. God and our fellowen are the least. Sadly, we could only remember God and our fellowmen when we are in direct need. Is this what Christianity is all about? Is this the way we radiate our Christianity to our fellowmen?
B.) Love for God is verified in one's love for neighbor
Love for others is simply not only having to give them material things but also giving yourself whole unto others. As the bible says in 1 John 4:20 that, "if anyone says that he loves God while he hates his brother, then that man is a liar", and that loving God would be useless, for if a person truly loves God, then he would heed God's word to love his fellowmen, otherwise it would be superficial.
Altruism is one case wherein we help others fully without expecting something in return. It is a selfless act where we forget ourselves for the sake of others. As written in the bible, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friend," truly this is what altruism is all about.
C.) Solidarity: Identification through love
God identifies Himself with the least and most rudimentary people like those who are suffering , the poor , the sick , the needy and the filthy. It is Christ's simple way of telling us that by helping the least f all our fellowmen, we also help Christ. And by tormenting our fellowmen , also torment Christ in the process.
If we only care to look around us, there are hundreds of Christ's replicas are those streets. Literally , these so-called replicas are those street-waifs and vagrants. But then , there are those who are suffering and needy yet cannot be found on pavements. Those are the ones ho had lost control of their lives and in the process , lost their souls. These people might even be our next-doors neighbors like the drug-dependent son or daughter of somebody we knew , the morally-deprieved person that we often meet on our way to school and to some extent , there are those what we call women-of-pleasure or simply the prostitutes.
These people have lost their tracks and are needy and suffering yet , we seemed to have closed our doors on them. Or is it a case wherein we all could see but yet simply closed our eyes and preferred to be blind and that , we all could hear yet , we choose to remain deaf ?
To learn more about ourselves is to accept and understand both the positive and the negative we have and not by simply exuding only the positive but locking away and never trying to understand the negative. For it is only in the process of knowing and understanding ourseleves that we may comprehend the purpose and reason of our existence. After knowing ourselves better, we must relinquish our wordly deeds and establish our rapport with God. We must acknowledge the presence of God in our lives. Without God, our purpose for living and existence would be futile and in vain. We must make God the center of lives and follow His teachings. Many of us have heard God's calling but only a few stood up to heed the call. Many of us knew what is right, however we still continue and prefer to do the wrong thing.
By accepting God as our Creator and Lord, we too must follow His example of being modest and humble. In everything we do, we must acknowledge Him. It is only through God that we had been made and that everything we possess either internally or externally came from Him. We must never be proud of our achievements , our talents nor our intelligence lest we should make a fool out of ourselves.
At the same time , we must alo accpet what we are- our faults and that of our fellowmen. We must obseve and practice being patient and forebearing with one another, accepting our fellowmen's defects as well as acknowledging and praising their achievements.
It seemed that nowadays, most of us are Christians only in name, but not in deed. We have utterly forgotten to be patient and tender with one another, and in the process, deliberately disregarding those two. Many of us have been unmerciful and unrelenting. Oftentimes, these results to chaos and despair like what is happening right now.
We must be humble and submit ourselves to God, just like what Christ taught us to be humble. If we lose Christ through our pride, we then lose everything.
As written in the book of Proverbs 9: 10 that, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Without fearing and knowing God, He could never give us wisdom and understanding.
Some people claim that they are the best in their chosen field. They may have garnered all the nobel-prizes in the world but if they lack spiritual wisdom and understanding which could only be attained by submitting one's self to God, still they are nothing.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and understanding in the Christian life and in the spiritual aspect of mankind. We Christians should use that wisdom to others by radiating unto others what we know about Christ and His teachings.
And in order for us to attain more wisdom and understanding, we must trust and believe our teachers. To undersatnd the world, and what is happening all around us, we must first understand the Scriptures. It is through reconciliation with scriptures and the Holy Spirit that we are able to interact and pacify with our fellowmen.
Whereas in the study of St. Augustine's principle, Virtus et Scientia, we accept it as an integral element in our Christian life as remedies for the effect of original sin. The more we learn, the more we understand God.
According to Benjamin Franklin, God wants his creatures to be happy and to enjoy, provided that you set and know your limitations. Doing what you like and to do something without hurting or stepping onto others, provided it is in accordance with the law and within the commandments of God.
We sometimes take our freedom for granted, making useless and unproductive things not knowing that we are gradually heading for the gallows, and into the bondage of sin.
We unknowingly abuse our freedom by disregarding morality. Due to this, we descend into something ominous. This may have been the case of the rising crime rates everywhere. We must learn how to exercise our freedom by glorying God.
Community is where we constantly interact with our fellowmen not only to socialize but to share our lives with one another, and unite us as one through Christ. We must constantly communicate to eradicate distrust and doubt. The people work for the good of all and not only to the advantage of oneself. This oposes and contradicts the crab mentality that we Filipinos sadly have.
We must love our work in order for us to perform our duties well. We must not complain whatever kind of work we are engaged in. It is the same in working for the glory of God by sharing and spreading the Gospel with others. In order for us to be effective in our lines of occupation, we must have a good, God-fearing competent leader.
A good leader imposes his will and rules on his members effectively. If he fails to do so, he then fails to lead the pack.
In order for us to lead a good life, we must follow Christ as the primary example in our lives.
Friendship spawns from two people having similar behavior. In the long run, friendship generates love, trust and loyalty. This is the foundation of true friendship oftentimes bounded by God's love.
True friendship isn't envious or jealous, nor pulling you down into the abyss of wickedness. Here in school, temptation comes in many faces and in many ways. First comes the simple cutting-classes; then comes smoking, followed by alcoholic drinks until you finally find yourself indulging in drugs. If you think that you are in that kind of friendship, break up with your friends. Then pray for them and introduce them to God and ask God's forgiveness and guidance.
True friends don't bring you to temptations, they'd rather pull you away from it.
Prayer must not be said without understanding through monotonous, redundant and repetitive words like what the hypocrites do. It must be concise and most importantly, our prayers must come from the heart. It will be of no use if we constantly blabber things that are laready known to us and not really understanding what they mean. We must pray to God with all our heart.
May we students contemplate and reflect on these values with greater comprehension in order for us to live and radiate the true essence of God's love and as being Christians. Let each and every one of us be a shining example to our fellowmen being products of this University.
The author of this reaction paper is Mae Gumayan, a first year college student enrolled in the University of San Agustin Teachers' College.�� She hails from Leganes, Iloilo.