Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What My Acceptance in FYM Really Meant

"You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"- Mark 10:38

In a way I was like St. John and James of Zebedee, I did not know what I was asking when I wanted to be an Accepted member of the Franciscan Youth Movement.

Before I  thought it was a matter of memorizing Franciscanism and Franciscan Spirituality, knowing Basic Christian Doctrines. But being a true Franciscan Youth is beyond that it is accepting the life of the group.

Truth be told, I had two excruciating scrutiny, as my first attempt to be Accepted Member did not push through and I was extended with fellow troubadours.  The second scrutiny was the most soul-scouring (take note, not soul-searching but scouring) question and answer I had.

Scrutiny really breaks you. Unlike the "common notion of fraternity hazing and initiation" the Franciscan Youth Movement is a fraternity in its truest essence - a brotherhood, a community of young people following Christ through the example of St. Francis of Assisi. The Scrutiny is part of our "Way of our personal cross." We have to be broken in spirit in order to have new, where God leads us.

It took two days for the elders to deliberate whether or not to make me an Accepted Member.  There was a thin line between passing and failing me in the scrutiny. If I fail, I would be extended. I felt downtrodden as the I knew I would fail. During the scrutiny, I did not know what rules or teachings I need to memorize.

Finally, giving up I wrote a letter to the whole fraternity telling them during the Sunday after the second scrutiny that I might be able  to attend. I told them what I really felt. I felt that at first it feels humiliating that I won't be accepted. I told them how painful it is to be not accepted in the movie. I felt confuse to what else do I need to do, do I need to learn in order to be an Accepted member but then I also told them that it was quite a humbling experience.

In my own quandary and loneliness, I remember what Ate Ems said during the scrutiny. She said it is not me being accepted by the group but me accepting the life of the group.

I did not get what she said then, and during those downtrodden times, but I guess God had a hand in it when he made write the words that the elders needed to see. I placed in my letter how much I really want to be part of the movement, how sorry and could not understand if I feel so much resentment towards them. I told how I felt rejected and humiliated knowing or assuming the worst, that I will not pass. Yet through it all, I told them that this "bitterness becomes sweet because it is for God."

I told them that I love the group and I really wish to be part of me. If being extended for the second time would make a better person and a better candidate for accepted, I will obliged. And though it is a painful reality, I succumbed to the idea of accepting my so-called defeat.

But as history went, God works mysterious ways and I was accepted. The letter which showed how broken I was, the letter which showed my willingness to undergo further trials and understanding the fraternity more, and following the footsteps of St. Francis and applying the Franciscan way of life had somehow been shown in that letter.

Now that I am an Accepted member, and that was practically a decade ago from now. I realized now what it means to be accepted. An Accepted member must be ready to follow Christ and be heralds of God's glory like St. Francis of Assisi. It means utmost humility while making a difference. Being accepted was accepting the life of a Franciscan Youth, lovingly embracing the cross and being instruments of peace.

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