My Personal Journey of Life
Looking back on the experiences of life from my childhood until now, there have been many changes, and much growth has taken place in me. I have grown in so many ways, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, and there have been many events that contributed to my changing and growth.
I come from a devoted Catholic family and we were very faithful to our faith. However, the presence of the Indonesian army which occupied my country East Timor made me forget about my faith. The Indonesian killed my people and I began to worry, and felt that God was not helping us. Day by the day, my hatred towards the Indonesians, whether the army or civilians, was getting stronger and it drew me away from God. I hated all the Indonesians at that time, whoever they were. Many times I felt life was meaningless because there was no justice at all for the East Timorese. However, everything slowly changed after my country broke off from Indonesia to be an independent state. Yet the most significant moment for me was when I joined the Jesuit candidacy program to be a priest.
The Jesuit candidacy program is a one and half year program for those who want to be Jesuits, and this program really helped me a lot. During my time there, I learned about Jesuit spirituality, psychology, the history of the Catholic Church, general history, and I experienced an apostolate with poor people every weekend. I learned very meaningful things there because it helped me to grow in every aspects of my life. For instance, I began to know myself and be able to let go of my hatred, and create more space in my heart for God’s love. So, after completing my time in the candidacy program, I then wrote an application to the Jesuit superior of East Timor to be interviewed and admitted into the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus. Soon, within one month after I applied and was interviewed, I received a letter from the Jesuit superior that I was accepted into the novitiate. It was a moment of joy for me because another step of my vocation would begin soon.
Novitiate life was not an easy life for me because it was an international novitiate where people came from different countries for their formation. Even though it was difficult, but during my two years of Novitiate formation, with different pastoral exposures with the poor and the marginalized people have played a very significant role in my growth and change. By being with them I learned how to love, to forgive people, to let go of my hatred. And aside from these, we also had a Psycho-Spiritual Integration program to help us to purge out all our negative emotions of the past, and to move on by letting go of what had happened to us in the past. Every day I was challenge to be brave enough to accept the reality that I had to move on, and I finally became able to accept this reality with the help of my Novice Master. After two years in the Novitiate, many changes had taken place. I was so happy to see the changes and growth in me. At the end of my novitiate formation I was able to say yes to God unconditionally and was ready to move on.
Being in the Philippines is a blessing for me. I have learned many things during the past one year through the Musmos group which is helping street children who have no opportunity for education or better living conditions. I am glad to be part of this group because of the great work they are doing.
Now looking back on how I have changed and grown, I am really grateful for what I have been through in my life and for the people who helped me to change and grow. It’s really a blessing to have these wonderful experiences in my life because it changed my life. I am proud of myself to have had a chance for all kinds of experiences in my life. I will always treasure my past experience to cultivate my present life.