I was invited to speak during the Christian Life Series (CLS) sponsored by Christian LAw Students Evangelization (CLASE) for law students within the University Belt. I used to visit them every year at San Lorenzo Ruiz Dormitory along Legarda, but they had since moved to UST, and tonight was my first time to attend there.
I couldn't recall if I had actually stepped foot inside a UST building before. I had been to the UST hospital a few times as a child and I took swimming lessons one summer in the pool, but that was it. All my UST memories were from the '80's. As I entered the main building earlier and walked towards the classroom where the CLS was held, I saw paintings on the wall that reminded me of Hogwarts. I wondered if National Hero Jose Rizal walked those very same halls, or if my father did, when he took up Philosophy and Letters in the late '50's.
At the CLS, I met new students and young lawyers, gathered together to proclaim the good news on a Saturday night. I was inspired by the witness of the lives of the people of CLASE and those they had invited. Not so long ago, I too was a struggling law student with a perpetual backlog in my studies, so I knew how precious time was for all of them. Yet, they chose to listen to two CLS talks inside a semi-deserted building on a rainy Saturday night. Other people of their age and background were probably watching a movie or attending a party at that exact moment that they were listening to my talk on Repentance and Faith.
I shared with them what I had learned about repentance: that it did not come from emotions alone. Merely feeling sorry or promising not to do something again was not enough. Fraternities had time and time again apologized for the consequences of violence as a result of hazing and rumbles, and yet, students like Cris Mendez (senior Public Ad student at the University of the Philippines who passed away a few days ago) still continued to die young in their hands.
I am one with the U.P. community in prayer. Justice for Cris Anthony Mendez. And peace inside U.P. Diliman. No to fraternity violence! I have many friends who are members of fraternities and I urge them to speak out and do something to stop this endless cycle that operates on hate, not love. There are many positive endeavors where those energies spent in violence could be channeled. Our beloved U.P. will celebrate its 100th year in 2008. There are a million things that we could be proud of. But we have to remember that our graduates who more often than not become leaders should show strength through their deeds, not their batons.
Repentance, I have learned, is about a complete change of heart and of direction. It entails a concrete decision to avoid serious sin, and a daily struggle to sustain that decision, because following Jesus means turning away from sin. It is done in faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to move further away from the cause of the struggle, which is sin itself. It is objective and not subjective. Let's pray we would see genuine repentance in our hearts for the times we supported violence as a means to wield power.
An important law-related event will start tomorrow: it's the first Sunday of September, and the first Sunday of the bar examinations. For four consecutive Sundays, bar hopefuls will troop to De La Salle University along Taft Ave. amidst fanfare from well-wishers. All that noise could just create "violence" inside the examinees' minds. What they really need is prayer, for this could very well be THE most difficult exam of their lives.
I will end my list of prayers tonight with one for more Christian law students in the country, so that we may have more Christian lawyers. They do exist. I prayed and worshiped with them tonight.