GOOD NIGHT, SWEET PRINCE . . . . .

MY FRIEND, RICO - POSTSCRIPT

Homily of Fr. Tito Caluag II, S.J.

During the Funeral Mass of Rico Yan on April 4, 2002

 

There is a belief from ancient wisdom that the soul, once it discovers its mission, sometimes decides to cross to the other side when it realizes that it would be able to do more to achieve its mission from the life beyond.

Ang kaluluwa raw na nalinawan na ang kanyang misyon nagpapasiyang sumakabilang-buhay

Lahat tayo ay natulala sa pagkamatay ni Rico. Ngunit dahil sa naranasan natin nitong mga nakaraang araw, unti-unting nahihilom ang ating pighati dahil sa pagkakilala natin sa ating mahal na Rico - pagkakilala kay Rico sa bawat taong dumalaw at nakiramay, na ang bawat isa ay may kuwento, natatanging kuwento, kung paano, kahit gaano ka-simple, kahit na panumandali na sila ay naabot ni Rico at sa kanilang mga puso sila ay naging magkaibigan; mga kuwentong lingid sa kaalaman ng kahit sa mga pinakamalapit kay Rico: ang magsasampaguitang binilhan ni Rico ng kanyang huling paninda upang maka-uwi na; ang batang nangailangan ng operasyon; ang katrabaho na pinagpaaral ang anak, at ang kasamang pinagamot ang ama; sari-saring kuwento ng pagtulong, sari-saring kuwneto ng pag-ibig.

Sana'y magsisimula si Rico ng isang pelikula na proyekto ng isang grupo ng alumni ng Ateneo katulong ang Star Cinema. Si Rico ang napiling bida sa pelikula na nabigyang inspirasyon ng dulang Sinta ng Dulaang Sibol ng Ateneo. Ito sana ay isang pelikulang pangkabataan na tutulong sa kanilang paghubog. Ang tema ng pelikula ay ukol sa karanasan ng sakit, ng pagiging sugatan, ng pagkamatay sa sarili upang tumubo at higit na maging matatag na tao, upang magpakatao.

The theme of the movie touches on that basic Christian message of the paschal mystery - the Cross and the Resurrection - the paschal mystery that we are invited to live out in our lives; the dying to self that new and greater life may emerge; that pain and suffering in the context of this Christian mystery of the Cross and the Resurrection make us better persons, primarily because we become persons who will be capable of giving, capable of loving, and, ultimately, capable of healing.

Ang matutong magbigay ng sarili, umibig sa pamamagitan ng karanasan ng krus at muling-pagkabuhay - at sa katapusan ay maghilom at maging buo ang pagkatao, ang tunay na pagpapakatao.

Excited si Rico sa pelikula. Excited siya dahil ito ang kuwento ng kanyang paglalakbay sa mundong ito, ito ang kuwento ng kanyang buhay. For Rico, it expressed his own journey to live out this Christian mystery of the Cross and the Resurrection, the experience of pain and struggle, to heal and to be whole, the struggle to come to a fuller life. It expressed his own journey towards healing and wholeness and, eventually, mission.

The theme song of the play Sinta somehow captures one of the most significant experiences of Rico during the last weeks of his life. Ito ang isa sa mga huling karanasan ni Rico sa mga huling araw ng kanyang buhay.

Alalahanin, gunitain, kahapon nati'y sariwain

Ng puso nati'y wala pang galos

Pangarap nati'y wala pang gapos

Alalahanin, gunitain, kahapon nati'y sariwain.

For some reason, that only God's wisdom and providence can explain, Rico went back to his dreams and hopes in the last weeks of his life.

Bumalik si Rico sa kanyang mga pangarap na wala pang gapos, sa kanyang pusong walang galos, at handa siyang mag-bigay at mag-mahal sa lahat - sa pamilya, sa kaibigan, sa kabataan, sa ating bayan.

Noong huling beses kaiming nagsama ni Rico pinag-usapan namin ang kuwento ng Prodigal Son, ang Alibughang Anak. At Nang matapos kaming magkuwentuhan tinanong ako ni Rico, "Do you think I am back home now?" His eyes looked at me with great expectation that seemed to have been marked by both anxiety and hope, and when I said, "Yes you are, Rico. You're back home," he smiled, stared into the distance and slowly nodded his head.

Damang-dama ni Rico na siya ay nagbalik-loob, umuwi muli sa kanyang Ama, sa ating Ama.

A couple of days later, we had that last, long conversation where I believe he came to terms with what God was asking of him, with the mission that God wanted him to accomplish. Naging malinaw kay Rico ang misyon niya, at ang tawag ng Diyos para sa kanya.

May pangarap si Rico, pangarap na walang gapos. Hindi lamang para sa sarili kundi para sa nakararami - sa kabataan, sa mga mahal niya sa buhay, para sa ating bayan.

His dream was to lead others through the same path that he journeyed - the path that made him live out his own Cross - his pains and woundedness, his fears and insecurities - and so arrive at his Resurrection - the gift of healing and wholeness, the emerging clarity of vision of the mission God was calling him to.

I shared with Rico something I came across in the book entitled Charismatic Leadership in Organizations:

And I read this to him during our last conversation.

Leaders are twice-born individuals who endure major events that lead to a sense of separateness, or perhaps, estrangement from their environment. As a result, they turn inward in order to reemerge with a created rather than an inherited sense of identity. That sense of separateness may be a necessary condition for the ability to lead . . . At times such a leader may be recognized practically on sight because of the glow of confidence his inner light gives him. He is charismatic and people are drawn to him by the power of his convictions and the visions of reality that he shares. His presence inspires both dread and fascination; he evokes mystical reactions.

And then I said to Rico, "Rico, I think this is a very apt description of you." There was silence. It was a silence that was filled with God's presence, filled with God's Spirit - the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of healing and wholeness, the Spirit of mission. Then very faintly, very humbly he answered, "Yes, father, I think so. That's me." And again there was silence. This was Rico's story. This was Rico.

It was then that he asked, "So, father, you think God is asking me to serve?"

Ninais ni Rico na maglingkod sa bayan at malinaw sa kanya na ito na ito ay sa pamamagitan ng kanyabg pagiging emcee, pagigng com at higit sa lahat ay sa paglilingkod niya sa kabataan.

I believe his idea of serving our youth was to empower them. Rico wanted to share with the Filipino youth his life story, his journey of discovering meaning, purpose and, eventually, a sense of mission in his life. He had the humble conviction that if he could do it, other young Filipinos could do it also.

"Nais kong Makita nila na kaya nilang pangatawanan ang kanilang mga buhay at maging isang honorableng tao. Noong patapos na ako ng kolehiyo ako na ang nagbabayad ng aking matrikula at natuto akong pahalagahan ang mga nais makamtan. Gusto kong magsumikap din ang ating kabataan ng ganito. I had many ups and downs, feeling inadequate and feeling substandard. It was a painful struggle, but I worked on it, and if my story will help them, then it is there for them! - Kung makakatulong ang kuwento, iyan ang aking maiialay"

Rico wanted to offer to our youth - and now we realize not just our youth, but to all of us, to the thousands who came these past days - he offered to us a story of healing, a story of faith.

Ito ang alay niya sa ating lahat, isang kuwento ng buhay ng paghilom, isang kuwento ng pananampalataya.

He was excited to come back from Palawan. He was looking forward to Easter lunch with his family, and was also so eager to show his mother an old car he had wanted to buy. And he was also looking forward to getting together for dinner and a talk we were supposed to have before he left for him to share with me how his reflection and prayer went in Palawan and for us to begin to reflect on and clarify his vision and plans for his dream to serve our country, our people, our youth. We, in fact, had agreed that we would regularly see each other every two weeks for what he called his mentoring sessions.

Rico was filled with hope. Rico was happy. Rico was filled with life, knowing he was going back home to his dreams, to what he realized was both God's gifts and call to him.

He passionately remarked, "If we can teach young people to work hard, to persevere - to endure the pain - in making something out of themselves and in pursuing a dream, they will surely have character. And when our generation takes over the leadership of this country, imagine, father, we will be a nation of character!"

Rico said he wanted to be a leader, but he never mentioned leadership, he only talked about service. He wanted to serve and to bring back a sense of pride to our people, a sense of hope, and a sense of dream that would inspire us, " . . . I want to be like JFK, father, he gave America a sense of pride and class. He inspired his people." And, typical of Rico, he had a comic-relief footnote, "Father, Now I have to search for my Jackie O."

His vision was to heal our youth, to heal our people and to heal our nation, and to once more allow us to dream dreams as a people and as a nation.

Two days I ago, I was seated outside the chapel watching the people who were coming to view Rico's remains and to say a prayer for him. The lines, for several days, had stretched even as far as Camp Aguinaldo. People coming from as far up as the north and from Mindanao, waiting for as long as five to seven hours under the hot sun only to view Rico's body for a few seconds. The lines I saw were orderly, people were not at all rowdy or noisy, and as they entered the chapel they were quiet and seemingly in prayer.

The lines were people from all walks of life, male and female, young and old, and even those who were sick. They came to see Rico. They came to mourn his death, yes, but I believe that they too mourn the death of a part of who we are. Rico represented for them, for all of us, for so many, our own hopes and dreams for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our country and our people.

One of the books I wanted Rico to read is a book entitled The Wounded Healer. This was Rico. He was a wounded healer. He was a wounded person who struggled to heal. He did not run from the pain nor did he stop it. He carried his cross without complaining, without any bitterness towards anybody. He deeply desired to experience a sense of wholeness even as he went through the ups and downs of his life. As his mother said, Rico struggled so much through his life.

When Rico realized that he was healing and coming to a whole he simply blurted out, "It was really God who planned all this. I could never have endured it had it not been for him." Typical of Rico, he did not dwell too long on himself. You could sense that he was excited to move on, to start, to share his own journey of healing, his coming to wholeness, not just with friends and family, but with our youth, and our country.

He was excited. He had discovered and accepted his mission, his calling from God. Rico was and will always be his vision - the vision of a life healed, the vision of a life whole, of meaning and purpose, of love and service. Many things have been said about Rico, and so much more will be said of him. But in the abundance of good things and plenty, of blessings and grace, what comes shining through is a person who went through life in a very Christian way - the way of the Cross and gift of the Resurrection.

When the soul discovers its mission, sometimes it decides to cross to the other side when it realizes that it would be able to do more to achieve its mission from the life beyond.

Rico finally discovered his mission in life. These past days have shown that he did make the right choice, that he will better help attain his mission from the life beyond, and I am sure the coming days, the coming years will even be better proof. For us whose lives he had touched, with whom he had shared his service, his love, his care and compassion borne out of a journey from pain and struggles to healing and wholeness, we must continue. We must continue the hopes and dreams that Rico shared. Rico's mission is now our mission, otherwise the pain and the sense of loss we feel have no meaning.

Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground it remains a grain. The grain of wheat had fallen to the ground. Rico is dead, but his hopes and dreams will bear fruit in us.

Rico chose to offer his life so that the work for the healing of our youth and the healing of our nation may become a passionate mission not just of one person in Rico, but for many others who will draw inspiration from his story, his life, his person.

In death, Rico is much larger than life. In death, Rico served his greatest hopes and dreams - young people who will be men and women of character, a nation of character.

We loved him much. We will honor him well to live out his hopes and dreams for the youth of our land and for our nation.

On the last night before he died, he called his mom and he told his mom, "This is the happiest moment of my life."

Rico's soul had discovered his mission. I believe he was happiest because he had decided to choose what was best to make his mission a reality. To all who love him, we are now asked to continue because he has touched our lives in a way that has inspired us to emulate him. Rico will be our hero. He is the wind beneath our wings and he will make us fly like eagles to better attain the hopes and dreams we shared and continue to share with Rico - not so much for ourselves, but for our youth and our nation.

Rico will never become president of this nation as he had earlier dreamed of becoming as a means to serve. He found a better way. He found a better place.

He is home now with his Father and our Father.

To you, Rico, our servant-leader, our inspiration, our hero, our beloved friend, we bid good-bye in the words of Horatio from Shakespeare's Hamlet:

Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest

Good-bye, Rico, our dear and beloved friend. You have earned your rest well. You have eternity in which to rest. And Rico we assure you have done will not be lost to all eternity. Everything ripens and bears fruit in its own hour.

Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest

- and from there, your home, our own future home, inspire and pray for us who continue the journey we once shared.

And Rico always remind us,

Alalahanin, gunitain, kahapon nati'y sariwain

Ng puso nati'y wala pang galos

Pangarap nati'y wala pang gapos

Alalahanin, gunitain, kahapon nati'y sariwain.

 

This document is courtesy of Fr Caluag's classmate at Ateneo, Shankee Sancianco-Miranda SPCM HS'76. Thanks!

Back to Beth Reyes' Dos Palmas 2002 or www.PAULINIANS.com .

Latest page update: 4.13.02

Saint Paul College of Manila High School Class of 1975 Foundation Inc. All rights reserved. © 1999-2002.