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'Do this in remembrance of me'.

MIDDLE of last week, I sat through seven final presentations in the Adventures in Film and TV course of the Liberal Studies Academy of the media Corporate University. Each group was asked to make a pitch for a movie or TV show using the postmodernist view.

As a backgrounder, postmodernism could be understood as a response to the modernist view, revisiting historical, classical elements. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger was a key influence in the movement.

His most important work is his book Being and Time, in which he writes that being is time and time is finite, as it ends in death. Thus, to be an authentic being, we have to project ourselves toward the horizon of death. Heidegger says we are being-toward-death.

His projection has an underlying prescription, that only those who remember are the ones capable of projecting themselves into the future.

In one of the presentations, the group pitched a movie entitled Afterlife, in which two protagonists are able to access heaven and hell through the Internet. This discovery is fueled by a desire to reconnect and remain in touch with a departed beloved-one is his best friend, the other a girl he loved.

Beatific vision

The presentation and subsequent discussion were relevant to me as a priest, witnessing to the love of Christ; and as a teacher whose main view of education is to help young people discover their life mission, reintegrate with it as their focal point, redirect all passions toward this mission, and choose to live this mission in the day-to-day.

Today is the Feast of All the Saints. In the Catholic Church tradition, today we honor our beloved dead who have attained the beatific vision, as inspiringly declared by Christ in the famous Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in today's Gospel-coming face to face with God in total joy, peace and love.

Part of our ecclesiology, the theological study of the church, is the concept of the church triumphant, the saints in heaven enjoying the beatific vision, and the church militant, referring to us, the living. Our spiritual connection with those in heaven is specially commemorated today.

Today is a special day of remembering our departed loved ones-to pray for them, but also to remember the grace and spirit with which they lived.

It is today's remembering that enables us to project ourselves into the future, to be beings-toward-death, while at the same time keeping in touch with our departed loved ones.

Remembering is intrinsic to our faith tradition. This is renewed by Christ in the Last Supper when he commands, Do this in remembrance of me.

From my grandfather, I learned how to treat everyone equally. In a party he was invited to, no matter how high and mighty the host was, my grandfather would politely ask, after the greetings, Will the drivers be served dinner?

Helping each other

From my closest friend, I learned that deep friendship is about helping each other fulfill one's mission in life. In the late 1980s, when he was newly married and I was in seminary formation, we agreed that, as friends, we would help each other live out our mission-he as a husband and father, and I as a priest. For the next two decades, we gave thanks to God for milestones and blessings, reminded each other, and were present to one another during struggles and challenges.

With Rico Yan, I learned the lighter and irreverent side of the journey to discover one's mission, and reaffirmed Ignatius of Loyola's prescription that all passions and desires are to be reoriented toward God's mission for you.

These graces, channeled through departed loved ones, I continue to live out in my life, especially during important moments in my journey.

The Roman biographer Plutarch was convinced that the tales of the excellent can lift the ambitions of the living.

Our stories are shaped and enhanced by stories of greatness, and thus we are able to live our life with nobility, virtue and a sense of mission.

It is not simply a sentimental longing to be reunited with a loved one, but also with the death and resurrection of Christ.

Today's feast makes more personal and real to us the central mystery of our faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 1, 2015
Words:718
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