Monday, August 14, 2006

Divine Word Seminary remembers Anthony R. Ceresko, OSFS

The Community of the Divine Word Seminary
pays their last repect to Fr. Anthony R. Ceresko, OSFS
with the rector, Fred Saniel presiding
SVD Chapel, Tagaytay City (Philippines)
15 August 2005

What is a more opportune time to begin this blog than the first death anniversary of Fr. Anthony R. Ceresko, OSFS, Divine Word Seminary's well-loved and respected Old Testament professor. Tempus fugit! It was 13 August 2005 when Fr. Tony was "gathered to his ancestors".

On the homily that this blooger had preached at his funeral mass (15 August 2005), please click on this site: RIP CERESKO. Excerpt of this is found in the recently released Scripture and the Quest for a New Society: Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Convention Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines Tagaytay City, 23-25 July 2005 (Quezon City: CBAP, 2006).

For more images at his funeral last year, please to this site: FUNERAL CERESKO.

At the concelebrated mass of his first death anniversary (14 August 2006, SVD Chapel at 18:00) this blogger preached on how the late Fr. Tony understood the meaning of "simplicity". He had actually wrote an article on this them in 1989 "Salesian Simplicity: Biblical, Socio-economic , and Political connections," Salesian Living Heritage 4 (1989), pp. 16-28.

This article now appears in the last book he had written: St. Francis de Sales and the Bible (Bangalore: S.F.S. Publications, 2005), pp. 11-30.

"Simplicity" he writes, " is name we give to that quality of oneness or unicity that characterizes the dynamic of a movement under grace, a movement from an interior recognition of an action to be done to the exterior achievement or carrying out of that action" (p. 22).

In other words, there are three important elements of simplicity:
(1) an internal conviction,
(2) the external carrying out of that conviction
(3) and in between is the movement of grace-- this can be rephrased also as the "movement of the spirit".

As oneness of action in the spirit, simplicity is single-heartedness.

Fr. Tony talks about his internal conviction which he summed in the expression "option for the poor", an expression that tended to become an empty and worn out slogan.

This conviction led him to live and teach in India, and eventually in the Philippines, in spite of the chances to teach and do research in big universities in the United States and in Canada and live a comfortable life there near to excellent libraries and hospitals.

In fact, Divine Word Seminary did not invite him to teach when the Indian goverment refused to renew his permit to stay. He sent his resume to apply to teach in this small seminary.

It was due to this oneness of conviction and action, which he called as simplicity, that his writings, preaching, scholarly works, and the way he read the bible revolved around the theme of a critical stance against "economic control and exploitation of powerful over the weak, and the vision of a just and equitable distribution of the goods and then abundance of this planet."

In p. 27 of that last book, he wrote the following:
"My attitude toward the society in which I live (i.e., USA) has become more critical.

I can no longer watch commercials on television or look at them in magazines without telling a sense of repugnance for the slick and cynical distortions and manipulations of some of the most fundamental drives deep within our hearts the desire for happiness, for fulfillment, the desire for love and acceptance.

'Own this car and everyone will automatically love and respect you.'
'Satisfy that desire, deep in your heart, for that which is beyond the purely material, by eating this food, or drinking this soft drink, or owning this house.'"

Now we know why Fr. Tony ate the way he ate and walked and walked till he "walked with God" like Enoch in the book of Genesis (5:24).

This picture was taken during the SVD Ordination year 2003
at Hesus Nazareno Parish in Dasmarinas Bagong Bayan
Cavite, Philippines

1 comment:

Edmon said...

Fr. Ceresko was such a brilliant Old Testament expert!