by Anthony Capirayan, SSP
I press the clutch pedal down to the floor, turn on the ignition switch, shift the knob to first gear, and then slightly release the clutch up to its biting point. The car moves slowly as I give it a little gas. I apply more pressure on the accelerator and quickly shift to second gear, then to third, for a sportier feel . . . until my instructor tells me to slow down.
It’s the first day of my driving lesson, and my adrenaline is surging into my bloodstream! Why didn’t anyone tell me before that driving a stick is super cool? I swear I feel more alive sitting behind the wheel. When I’m done with this course I’m going to get my license, jump in my car, roll the windows down, play some pump-up music, and row through the gears à la The Fast & The Furious toward the deeper north.
But here’s the catch: I don’t have my own car, and having a driver’s license is not a ticket for vacation.
In the seminary, if one knows how to drive, he is asked to run a lot of errands. One is tasked to drive fellow members to the apostolate areas, fetch some confrères from the airport, bring someone to the hospital, take long drives during excursions, etc. Whether cruising in the thick of traffic or speeding up in the superhighways, one has to focus on driving while others in the backseat are playing jokes, catching Pokémon, or navigating to dreamland. In other words, being a driver in a religious community is far from being cool; it’s actually a badge of service.
Jesus himself, our “driver” to the Father, was a man of service. He preached through towns, healed the sick, performed miracles, fed the people, conversed with foreigners, and ate with sinners. Pretty cool, huh? Or so we thought! Jesus’ public ministry cost him sweat and blood and his very life. He did them not to look cool, gain applause, or to put himself over and above others; he did them in the name of service and love, so that others might glorify the Father.
How about you, dear youngsters? Why did you sign up for school orgs, join parish ministries, and participate in extracurricular activities? While these endeavors make you look cool and add some points to your grades, let these also be occasions for self-emptying and self-offering. When we learn to offer ourselves to others in service and love, we become whole as persons. And when we serve without counting the cost, I should say we are the coolest persons on earth.