September 16, 1991
I know how strongly you wished to come home to witness my investiture. Unfortunately, God willed otherwise. However, do not feel so sad about your not being able to be here for this occasion. After all, becoming a monsignor is not the most beautiful event that can happen to a person. Redd, you must understand that the most beautiful event that can come to us is to be baptized to become true children of God. No other honor or award can match the gift of Baptism that we received from God our Father. Do not, ever, forget this.
Today, Cardinal Sin vested me with a purple sash. Purple is the color of royalty. But do not be misled. In the kingdom of God, royalty has no color. The privilege of royalty is accorded only to those who are willing to stoop down and serve. What is important before God is not the purple buttons that I wear on my cassock. What is valuable before God is the white color of a pure heart. In order to go to heaven, you do not have to be a monsignor, you just have to learn the meaning of humble service.
Redd, always remember this.
After I donned the purple sash around my waist, I was immediately vested with the chasuble and the stole. The people who attended the Mass did not even see me long enough with my sash. I was immediately covered with the chasuble which is the vestment for sacrifice, and the stole which is the priest’s insignia of service. That is how we should be. We should not glory in our decorations. Our joy is in sacrifice and service till death. Keep this in mind always.
Redd, I will tell you a secret. I feel happier when people call me Father than when they call me Monsignor. A Father is a life giver. A Father priest is one who becomes a channel of new life for other people. I feel the title “Father” is sweeter to my ears that the title monsignor. How I wish people will just forget about my being monsignor and simply call me their daddy in the spiritual life.
One day soon, God willing, you, too, will be a priest. I shall pray for that. I hope you, too, like me, will be blessed with a fatherly Archbishop like my own, Cardinal Sin. I pray that you will also have very supportive priests like the priests whose friendship I always enjoy and take pride in. Everytime you meet nuns, ask them to pray for you. God listens to them always.
May I ask for a gift from you? Please pray for the people I love. Pray for Cardinal Sin. God knows I love him very much. Pray for the priests and bishops who always support me as a priest.
I do not know how I can ever repay them. Pray for the sisters who pray for me and work with me. I cannot imagine life without them. Pray for all the people who love and care for me. They are God’s gifts to me.
For my part, I shall pray for you. I shall pray that your mom and dad may be as good as Nanay and Tatay. Nanay and Tatay taught me about God. I would not be where I am now without them. Although I hope your mom will not cry as much as Nanay does.
Only Jesus, Always Jesus