For proper integration of seminary formation, each seminarian while in the seminary is expected to adhere to seminary rules and regulations, which certainly were primary materials for staying longer in the formation house. It means, to wake up early, brush your teeth, wash up, dress well, arrive at the chapel on time and carry out the respective functions allotted by the school authorities. These are mostly what is paramount in the formation of every seminarian.
In my beautiful junior seminary at Osina, we have a very big Chapel. Its capacity can carry about six hundred young and vibrant seminarians. Each pew contains about six names, pasted on it and the seminary doesn’t consider size or health condition before they fix you anywhere the spirit directs. At the stand of the pew, is the pew-head, who is more likely to be in the highest class and is given the direction to checkmate who sleeps and who dodges the Chapel. He is to report every misbehaviour or misconduct to the prefects or the auxiliaries. Any act of insubordination warrants immediate sanction, and if it continues, you may likely lose your vocation.
My seating position in the Chapel was the third pew from the right and it happens to be very closer to the sanctuary. The thought to sleep, or to keep quiet while others are singing or make a noise with anyone, was something I expelled from my mind. I was very attentive, very active in each of the liturgical activity and I am very lively in the course of singing. Since I have an angelic voice, which was an envy of my colleagues, I used to put up my darling voice very high, to overshadow any person who has a slim knowledge of singing.
There was this senior, a very tall boy, fair in complexion, with a poor sight. He was my pew-head and I sit very close to him. I was a young boy, I wasn’t tall, I had a little flesh and I can barely communicate my pains very well. I am always feeling uncomfortable staying close to this senior. He stinks, I am not sure if he takes his bath, neither does he brush his teeth. Each time we come for a common gathering in the Chapel, I will be scrambling for a way to sneak out of my seating position. It was a trying time for me. I could report him to the school authorities, but it is senseless to do that whereas I have not informed him. At the same time, I am afraid to approach this guy, because he is such a lanky person with broad shoulders. Another thing is this; he is not approachable.
One evening, as everyone was walking down to the Chapel to say the evening prayer, I was counting steps and thinking of how to sit down with him. I was sad deeply, knowing that I am going back to take a dose of unhealthy breath from him and to experience that shock, was something I dreaded. To relieve myself from this penury of the body, I decided to make an alternative. There is a staircase before you walk into the Chapel. It is located adjacent to the Chapel porch. While others were taking their seating position inside the Chapel, I was taking an asylum under the staircase. While I was there, I ceased my breath. I was afraid any priest, could sense that someone is under the staircase. Under the heat and trumping heart, I was struggling to survive. I stayed there until the prayers dismissed.
Now, what pained me, was not that I nearly suffocated under the staircase. Neither was I caught by any of the auxiliaries, prefects or priests. What exacerbated my anger was that this same guy went and reported me to one of the auxiliaries that I dodged the Chapel. To exempt yourself from the Chapel without permission or any issue of health is tantamount to expulsion. When I was called to the stage at the refectory that evening by one of the auxiliaries, I was in between fear and surprise. As I mounted the refectory stage, which has a very fine elevation. A place where everyone would cast a gaze at you. The auxiliary, took his time to narrate my action in misinterpretation and I wasn’t given any chance to plead not guilty. Six huge guys among the seniors were asked to come and raise me and I was given thirty-six strokes of the cane on my flattened buttocks. After that event, I disliked the guy, until I left the junior seminary.
Last year December, I saw a friend request and when I scanned through the profile, I learnt that it is the same guy that messed up my day in the seminary. I couldn’t accept his request. He forged ahead to send me a private message. In his message, he was expressing how happy he was to see me and how big I have become. From his pictures, I noticed he lives in the United States and his expression of language and conduct has taken an intense change. His message brought back the history of pain and agony and I couldn’t understand what to say at that time.
Our mind is an invisible entity, which exists with different memories. For us to forgive may be easy, but when history traces back an injury, it tends not to forget easily. At times, when we preach about forgiveness, the hurt and the remains of sadness still saved at the crust of our mind, begins to prick us. This is why to forget is a question of mind extinction, which comes, when the person is no longer normal. I could have forgiven him, but anytime I see his message pop out, I am filled with revenge. So, to bailout myself, I simply blocked him, because his appearance will continue to plunge me into perpetual prison and I do not want to be a prisoner of conscience.
I deserve to be happy, just like everyone else. But it is always difficult to achieve that knowing how I imprison a soul in my mind. What I always wish that will forever occupy my mind is joy and at times when I seek it, I feel may be that I have not made enough bytes of efforts that will guarantee that. But then, how do I arrive at this joy, when there is part of me that is yet to forgive?