Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why Inter-religious Dialogue?

There is a quotation used by St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and St. Thomas which gives us a positive cue regarding the importance of dialogue. That was recently quoted to us by the Jesuit priest from India, Fr. Francis D’sa, SJ, on a recollection of Mindanao Bishops last Oct. 22-23, 2010. The original Latin goes like this: Quidquid verum a quocumque dicatur a Spiritu Sancto est (translate thus: Whatever is true, irrespective of who says it, comes from the Holy Spirit).

Hence, since truth is a source of freedom and liberation, we must open our eyes and ears to the truth and to reality. After all, there are vestiges of God’s truth in all the peoples or religious of the world. Let’s be open, not narrow-minded in our quest for truth. Jesus said so: “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32).

Let’s endeavor to be instruments of truth, by living according to the truth and avoiding expressing things that may be equivalent to lies. As they say, a lie is a half-truth. Truth is a whole truth, not just a part, while hiding another part or parts.. St. Teresa of Avila, great Teacher in the Church, gave us this guiding rule: “Never affirm anything unless you are sure it is true.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who is Telling the Truth?

In the issues confronting society we must be intent on seeking the truth. There’s some point in discussion or dialogue sharing as the expression goes: truth comes from discussion. That is, of course, when the participants are open and sincere at heart in seeking for the truth. Most surely God’s word is right in the following Bible quote: “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him” (Mt. 7:7).

Certainly in this RH Bill issue, there are different angles to the truth. Let’s not forget one basic presupposition, that truth is identifiable or tantamount to reality. To tell the truth is tantamount to express the fact or reality as it is. It’s not a matter of subjective emotions or desires, since people may have different likes or feelings.

Let’s be sincere in standing for the truth, after all we are going to be judged or pay for it eternally if we lead others to error, falsehood and sin insinuating deceptive and superficial ideas that are based on greed and selfish foundations. The Church’s stand is based on protection of life, family values and unity, and the fact that man’s life on earth is transitory and is destined to live ever happily with God after loyally fulfilling His will here on earth. Every person will face God’s final judgment, as Jesus describes it in the gospel of Matthew chapter 25, verses 31-46, after having pursued and practiced true love of one’s neighbor, respecting his or her rights to life, liberty and property; food, clothing and shelter. “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his works” (Mt. 16:27; cf. Mt. 25:46; ).

In such complicated and muddled issue where the interplay of human interests and emotions come in, we must not forget that the Church’s intervention throughout history has brought in the guidance of our faith based on God’s word. There is a guarantee of truth from Jesus’ assurance when He said to St. Peter, the first Pope: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:19-20). In the light of faith where we humble ourselves before God’s infallible wisdom, let’s not forget Jesus’ solemn advice and warning: “I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Lk. 18:17; Mk. 10:15; Mt. 18:1-4).

Many times we do not understand things of our faith. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9). Even the famous stigmatist priest St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Italy gave an advice which is good for bright people who think they know everything: “Faith is not to be argued over; either you accept it with your eyes closed, admitting the inadequacy of the human mind to understand its mysteries, or you reject it. There is no middle way. The choice is up to you.”

Remember history; one way or another, in spite of all efforts to conceal it, the truth will come to be known. And the victory of Jesus Christ who said: “If you live according to my teaching, you are truly my disciples; then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:32). The lives of saints, their many miracles, are a testimony to that.

►God’s Law? ▬Ignorance of the Law excuses no one.

►Pro choice? ▬Being a rational animal, man has been given by God the freedom to choose between heaven or hell, if he so chooses to follow or violate God’s law – of love and justice. Yes indeed there is freedom of choice, but you are liable to pay the price of your obedience or disobedience. The two finalities of man are only either an eternal heavenly bliss or the eternal fires of hell. It’s not a matter of free or pro choice but making the right choice that will bring us to our final destiny; yes to be sure that the choice we make will bring us to the true finality in God’s Kingdom of eternal happiness. Man’s life on earth being transitory and a time of probation, the Church’s effort under Christ’s instruction is to teach the truth and help the human person avoid the eternal punishment of hell. To talk about hell is not to deceive humanity but an appeal for humanity’s salvation so they may be able to avoid the eternal punishment of hell fire with the devils after being duly warned. Jesus says it: “It is the truth that sets you free” (Jn. 8:32).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Common Sense Approach

(to the RH Bill)

The discussions on the RH Bill issue have so far attained national attention, as it concerns life, specifically the life of the unborn. Since it is one prime right, I guess it should. However we must put first things first. Many times the discussions drift towards over-population, lack of food and classrooms or other educational facilities, the poverty issues and others connected to above perspectives.

First of all, the basic rights of man are a non-negotiable element that cannot be excluded—namely, life, liberty and property. The table of life is not intended for control of the guests to life, but rather to increase the food for people to have enough to eat, plus other needed facilities. As a principle, we have to consider that things were made for man, not man to be subjugated to things. God’s guidance through His infallible word can direct us in the right way of acting.

Let’s remember that God can’t lie nor be mistaken. He had said it clear: “I tell you not to worry about your life: What are we to eat? or about your body: What are we to put on? For your life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Look at the crows: they neither sow nor reap: they have no storehouses and no barns; yet God feeds them. How much more important are you than the birds! Which of you for all his worrying can make himself a bit taller? And if you are not able to control such a little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Look at the wild flowers: they do not spin or weave; yet I tell you, even Solomon with all his wealth was not clothed as one of these. But if in the fields God so clothes the grass which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, people of little faith. As for you: do not set your heart on what you are to eat and drink; stop worrying. Let all the nations of the world run after these things; your Father knows that you need them. Seek rather the Kingdom and these things will be given to you as well” (Lk. 12: 22-31).

Even St. Teresa expresses her reasoning this way: “If God provided for us in the past and until now is providing for us, there is no reason to doubt that he will provide for us in the future.”

Friday, October 8, 2010

Truth Will Be Out

In the present debates concerning the RH Bill that seems to push for artificial contraception and abortion, we know the many pros and cons being advanced. In all the din and hullabaloo we know that eventually truth will triumph. It would be good and beneficial to be on the side of the simple and humble truth. That’s what the expression above implies. One way or another, in spite of all efforts to conceal it, the truth will come to be known.

For example, check what may be the motives behind. Some may be after base gain, or other worldly interests. Who or which side is working for the common good of the people and the human person’s benefit of both body and spirit. After all, we know life on earth is but a transitory stage and someday we have to face the judgment of God who rewards according to our deeds. Are we here to limit the guests to life’s table or must we rather work to increase resources and facilities for the betterment of life’s condition? Who is really working for the good of man, not just pretending to do so out of ignorance or self-interest.

Since God alone reigns forever and above all, what is really God’s will in the issue at hand? Money seems to be the enduring symbol of power, pleasure and greed. Who then are being enslaved by it? “The love of money is the root of all evils and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith, and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds” (1 Tim. 6:10). We care for life now and for the future of our land and nation. Let’s not forget the gospel truth that what we do for others shall eventually come back to us. “Do not judge and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you; a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back”(Lk. 6:36-38).