A Non-Political Pope?

It is great that the Jesuit Pope is seriously embodying the qualities of his namesake, the Franciscan Founder, St. Francis of Assisi who embraced “Lady Poverty” and exemplified “service to the poor with humility and open kindness”… 🙂

LAW AND RELIGION FORUM

You can’t tell too much from one interview, of course, but the interview Pope Francis gave an Italian Jesuit journal last month, and which was released last week, seems like a blockbuster. Everyone understands this. Progressive Catholics are elated. After long years in the wilderness, they believe, they have one of their own as pope. Traditionalists have been more circumspect, but it’s hard to miss the sense of alienation. Traditionalists are used to thinking that, however much they have to battle with progressives at the local level, the pope has their back. Now, that’s very unclear.

As an outsider, I don’t feel right getting involved in intra-Catholic debates. There’s too much I don’t know, and anyway it’s not polite. But this interview does suggest three observations. First, Pope Francis has a definite vision for the Catholic Church. When he gave his airborne interview on the way back from Brazil last…

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Did we take life’s simple pleasures for granted?

I have posted this on my blog last August 4, 2013. I think it’s relevant to the matter you’re discussing here.
Are the best things in life free?

God created man in his own image and likeness. In the same way, we are creators of the life we lead – our past, present and futures – through the actions we do and the manner it affects the people around us. The persons who come and go into our lives shape our attitudes. The events that surround them shape our images. This is our own uniqueness.

It is only too true that God gave every one of his people a specific twist in huis or her life. In the most perplexing ways, trials always come our way. Because God wants to test us. He wants to test how we will do with our unique twists. This is God’s way of connecting with us.

Because we are so caught up with doing something with the twists in our life, we tend to ignore what’s really important. We go to the things of the world. We go for success , fame, power and money as we think that they rule over the world and therefore the ones worth to be sought after. We think and get swayed by the secular drift of our harshly changing world.

Men and women intoxicate themselves with the thoughts of these worldly things, especially money. Since they believe that with so much quantities of it, they can get anything they can ever want. Sadly, this assumption – or rather, way of thinking – drives them to do unspeakable things. Sin abounds and immorality is exposed to those interested and eager for the claim. Yet no matter how they do it, unhappiness predominates the hearts of many.

We humans have forgotten the things that are really worth our time, our presence and the wait. Example, most teens and young adults prefer to give up themselves before marriage. Parents become too busy with making a living that they neglect their children to the point that they no longer feel the love. Friends became bitter enemies when they rival for the same covetable thing. And most importantly, many lose their allegiance to their religion because they no longer think that God exists. Yet these things most of us ignore in our daily lives are the most important, the best things in life. The virtue of purity, unconditional love, loyal and eternal friendship, and faith cannot be bought by gold or silver. They are freely given to those who accept and acknowledge them in their lives. We must cherish them as we receive them every day of our short human lives.

SANA HINDI NA MAULIT PA (I hope it will not happen again)

We (the Ateneo Debate Union (AdZU)) were stranded in Davao City for almost three weeks due to the Zamboanga Crisis and by each day that passed there, we grew afraid for the conflict in Zambonga and prayed unceasingly that it will be over soon so we could be able to go home already. While we were there, we are very thankful that there are some people who graciously helped with our daily food and other needs – the Tower Inn, Ateneo de Davao University, and University of Mindanao. They allowed us to stay in the hotel we had during the 28th Mindanao Parliamentary Debate Championship, shouldering all the expenses themselves. They even joking dubbed us “First-class refugees”.

But we know how much worse the people in Zamboanga were faring. Over 100,000 families cramped themselves in the evacuation centers, on very dire conditions. It broke our young hearts to see that a very beautiful place that is meant to be shared by all people is being ravaged by a group who claims it for themselves only. In this crisis, I can’t help but think about my beloved hometown, Basilan where everyday is on Red Alert status. And now this in Zamboanga? Why can’t be peace in the places I call my home? Why must they go and destroy everything that I have cherished and loved again and again? I DON’T WANT THIS ANYMORE! Oh God, please help us. Eternal Father, please protect all your children… Change the hearts of our enemies so that they will stop inflicting harm upon us and cease the unnecessary bloodshed in our own land.Image

– this is one of the captured photos of the aftermath of the three-week conflict between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels and the Government soldiers, military.

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Of Friends and Foes

It is an undeniable fact that we are in a journey in this life. As we travel down the road, we will encounter at least two common types of people – friends and foes. Those who help us or those who make us suffer. As human personality is unpredictable, we cannot be certain whether the people we meet in our daily lives are good or bad. However, we can find specific persons who have served in our life deeds as enough to be called our friends or enemies, based on our respective ideals, opinions and biases.

Stereotypically, Friends are people you can rely on. They are the ones who’ll listen as you tell your secrets. They are the persons who will be there in hard times – to be with you through thick and thin – and especially a shoulder to cry on. A friend is someone you can keep close to your heart – the reason you have a bosom friend or a best friend – because strictly, you can trust him or her.

On the other hand, your enemies are people who you can’t trust – the snakes – and you should try to keep them very well out of your life. Otherwise, you’re giving the chances to ruin your life, by telling lies and trying to push your friends out of your life. The relationship you hold with your enemy is strenuous and interesting. The role your arch enemy – most especially – plays in your life is crucial. Whether it’ll build you into a better person or create this deceitful hateful creature is to be determined by the role you manage him or her with this role. Remember: “Our world is a wicker basket – loaded with both good and rotten apples. Just make sure you don’t get rotten, too…”

As the wise men from the past have said repeatedly, we must never disregard the value of the relationships we share with other people – especially with our friends and foes. Their traits can overlap – due to the complexities of human nature – so we must be careful and observant. If we are not wise in our choices and decisions, the person at our side whom we consider our trusted friend is our worst enemy. John Gay has warned, “An open foe may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse.Alexander Pope had once spoken: “Trust not yourself, but your defects to know, make use of every friend and every foe.” In the same manner, Alfred Lord Tennyson said that “He makes no friends who never made a foe.” Thus, we can live without an ally or adversary – no man is an island, so to say.

Let me give you this striking passage from C.S. Lewis’ Weight of Glory as a parting shot:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”