This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
By Vanette Colmenares
New York – If it were not for Marivir Montebon, OSM! Publisher and journalist, I would not have dreamed of going back to school. When she invited me to join the program for Religious Studies, I was very hesitant. I told her that it was not in my bucket list , nor am I preacher material, but as I said, if God calls, who am I to refuse. He will provide for it, erase all doubts and equip you for future calling. So, I joined the Unification Theological Seminary, an inter-faith school located in mid-town Manhattan in the fall of 2017.
At first, I thought I would find it awkward to be surrounded by ‘religious’ and ‘conservative’ students, but on my first few days, the school was ‘Filipino’ infested with many Visayan students at that. I was home. Sure, there were quite several Unificationists, but there were also Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims who were taking religious studies as well. It made school interesting in its diversity.
The first semester was a struggle, because the adjustment of going back to school at my age is challenging. But then I made many friends and went back to the discipline of homework and studying. When my grades during the midterms were low, I tried harder to get a better one for the finals. Such that when I enrolled for the second semester and saw that my name was on the dean’s list on the first semester, I was elated. I was proud of my achievement, but then became worried because now that I made it, I had to maintain that status of achievement.
One of the struggles I had was in Church History 1. I am not historical as I am not capable of memorizing dates, events and most especially names of dead people. The only time I get historical is when I have an argument with my husband and then I get hysterical.
Humanities and Philosophy was another challenge that had to be dealt with. But just like Church History, it needed to be dissected using your cerebral capacities and reasoning to be able to eloquently describe its complexities.
Written reports, attendances, and other assignments demanded much of my time and sometimes missing out on special occasions. But it was worth it. Several semesters later.
Marivir and I finished the program. The funny thing is, we both had the same achievements. Graduated together both with honors on May 23, 2020, and the surprise is we both got the two awards given by the school every year. Me for service, and Marivir for leadership. God has a sense of humor.
Nevertheless, the study of religions is just the tip of what really is the core of its study. The problems and ills of mankind vertically has negated the moral lessons which the Divine teaches. The social being of man has conquered itself from nullifying its very meaning of existence. And I like what Victor Frank said, “Religion is the search for its ultimate meaning.”