MANILA, July 15, 2014— A priest reminds a group of confirmands –most of whom young adults about to get married— that true love is not about sex, but sacrifice.
“Love is not sex..True love consists in sacrifice, in the denying of oneself for a higher purpose, for the good of another …It is placing your beloved’s need before one’s own,” Monsignor Severino Anatalio said during a recent confirmation rite at the National Shrine of St. Michael and the Archangels in Manila.
According to Anatalio, many relationships fail because it lacks this essential component, driven as they are by lust.
Directing his audience’s gaze towards a life-like image of the Crucified Christ hanging above the main altar, Anatalio exclaimed, “This is true love!”
San Miguel’s elderly parish priest, who has decades of experience behind him conducting seminars for couples about to get married, explained to those present that authentic love is never built on lust, on what he referred to as the “heat of the moment”.
Noting that he was addressing a relatively young audience, he asked, “How many of you here have patronized motels? How many of you have engaged in premarital sex?”
Not one to mince words, he subtly berated members of the crowd who, he insinuated, may have been contemplating marriage out of guilt, or because they think it is the “easy way out”, and the practical thing to do.
“Marriage is not the solution to a problem,” he stressed.
According to Anatalio, the sacrament of confirmation, as a rule, is administered to Catholics in their adolescent years, usually at age 12 in order to transform “children of God” into “soldiers of God”, reaffirming and strengthening the faithful’s baptismal promises.
He wondered what prevented the attendees from being confirmed much earlier, lamenting the fact that many Filipinos receive the sacrament of Confirmation only when they are about to get married.
“There may have been fewer teenage pregnancies, failed relationships, and broken families if many Filipino Catholics had their confirmation soon,” the priest said.
San Miguel is the only parish in the Philippines authorized to give regular group confirmations twice a week: on Thursdays at 2 p.m. and on Sundays at 12 p.m.
No prior appointment is needed, Walk-ins are entertained. The only requirements are copies of the baptismal certificate (original and photocopy), a photocopy of the birth certificate, a P600 fee, and at least one sponsor. (Raymond A. Sebastián)