By: Albert Bofill
(Delivered by Albert Bofill, SHS student of Ateneo de Iloilo-SMCS Section 12 Servire, during the weekly SHS Flag Rites held in the school gymnasium, July 10, 2017)
TO OFFER a hand to those in need. To compassionately aid all living things. To show empathy and mercy. Service, not just selfless service but service that is filled with compassion.
To Father Joseph Haw of the Society of Jesus, our School president, Dr. Herman Lagon, our associate principal, Ma’am Rosario Dordas, Director for Formation, to the faculty and staff, and to my fellow Ateneans, good morning.
Service. Time and time again we have encountered, or at the very least, have been reminded regarding this concept. May it be through a particular section’s name, the huge kneeling statue in front of Nong Bernard’s impenetrable fortress, or maybe through the beautiful voices of my ever-so talented classmates who just sang the “Prayer for Generosity.” It is clear. There’s no need for an argument. You, you, and even you at the back. We are all no strangers to service.
But why serve? Why offer to help a stranger–a person you barely know–who could probably be involved in your murder? Why offer to help a classmate you barely talk to–who has already given up Chemistry weeks ago–and now needs your help to pass Calculus? But most importantly, why donate your 5 pesos when you yourself “need” that yummy Graham ball?
Why you ask: “To be men and women with and for others.”
Why else would the eleven brave, to-be inducted Student Council officers offer their time to serve us and the whole community–ready to face the challenges of being an Atenean SC officer head on. Why else would the little kids from Grade School to the maturing young adults of the Senior High School selflessly set aside their spare change for the Blue Spoon. Well it’s because we (often can’t help it to) desire to do things for the greater good.
But not all acts of service have to be grand or known. You do not have to sacrifice every limb, every peso, or everything that you own just “to serve”. For service does not entail you to lose yourself in the process. Just as much as serving requires you to help, it is also important to have your values, your identity, and your soul intact. Do not serve just for the sake of helping others, serve with a purpose. For it is more than just helping, caring, and giving. Servire is about compassionate service.
In times where death threats, bombing threats, and hate is ever-present in our society, the simplest thing we can do is to help in whatever way we can. To spread love, to serve and be in solidarity with everyone–regardless of gender, age, religion, or race.
So, lend a hand to a stranger, offer help and advice to that classmate you barely talk to, and finally donate – no matter how hard – that 5-Peso coin to the Blue Spoon. And eventually, just maybe, karma will find a way to repay you back. So, don’t serve for this, this and this (points to material things)–serve for them and yourselves. Serve, for Him.