The Quest continues
One quiet afternoon, I heard the powerful voice of Jed Madela over the radio singing “The Impossible Dream.” His clear tenor voice rose above the flurry of other meaningless chatter. The music came from a distant neighborhood. But the lyrics of this familiar tune struck me to the heart. The soloist was bellowing difficult challenges: “to right the unrightable wrong / to love pure and chaste from afar / to try when your arms are too weary / to reach the unreachable star.” I remember, he also sang this song as a tribute to the late President of the Philippines, Cory Aquino, during the funeral march as her remains were being transported to the Manila Memorial.
“The Impossible Dream” speaks of a quest. Composed by Mitch Leigh with lyrics from Joe Darion, it was originally written for the 1965 musical “Man of La Mancha.” Its storyline was inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th century masterpiece whose main character was Don Quixote. The guy was thought to be out-of-his-mind after reading books of adventure. His idealism led him to a quest to right wrongs, giving up all comfort for such a dream and dedicated all his efforts to his imagined lady Dulcinea.
One line in this play is worth reflecting when Don Quixote would declare: “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams—this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness—and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
In my life’s journey, I see this struggle in myself. At times I feel that I am losing this art of seeing life “as it should be.” I can become so focused on what is now— the concern of the moment—I miss to see the bigger picture. This can happen even to some people today. Engrossed as they are of the present needs, they fail to see beyond what our eyes can see. This can be the greatest madness: to surrender our quest and forget there is a better life.
When Jesus came to this world, he advised us to be attuned to the deeper mysteries of life. He dreamt of a brotherhood of men under the fatherhood of God. He taught us to love unconditionally, forgive whole-heartedly and share generously. His followers are to be the salt and light of the earth. He preached of the reign of God and the transformation of the world. Until now this dream is still the “unreachable star.”
But the quest continues. Jesus has commissioned the Church to keep the dream alive. The main task of the Church is to proclaim that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that the Church is a sacrament. Her duty is to point people to God because she is the custodian of the truth revealed by Christ. Thus “by her relationship with Christ, the Church is both a sacramental sign and an instrument of intimate union with God, and the unity of all mankind” (CCC # 1366). The Church felt this urgent need to bring people closer to God especially today. In the gathering of the Synod of Bishops last October 2012 in Rome the discussion was centered on the New Evangelization.
In its final message, the bishops addressed “the People of God” encouraging all faithful to get involved in the New Evangelization. However, this is not about inventing new strategies or new teachings. But it’s about witnessing our faith as a community of faith with renewed enthusiasm, methods and expressions that can speak directly to the hearts of people in our modern society. Like the Samaritan woman in the well, who meets Jesus with an empty jug, contemporary man is also thirsting for God and thirsting for meaning. The Church has the responsibility to facilitate this connection.
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