Friday, August 29, 2008

... for good men to do something

From Gov. Ed Panlilio’s Speech
at the Escaler Hall, Loyola Schools, November 22, 2007:
I don’t think that God meant me to endure five seminaries just to become a Governor or some other public official. I love my vocation, and at the end of this temporary detour into politics, I shall desire nothing more than to have my priestly faculties once again, and be a shepherd of the faith anew. A personal glory shall be that day when I shall hold aloft the transubstantiated body and blood of Christ, recalling my first mass after my ordination. It is from this vantage point that I say that I really do not encourage the entry of priests or ministers to the electoral arena. It would be utter presumption and even a complete falsehood to maintain that only the clergy posses the moral superiority to lead the nation. A layman with the proper motivation and popular support can lead any province to glory, in the same manner that an elected priest with less than honorable intentions can bring the province to its knees. Every believer has a divine mandate to do good and cast out evil. For the sake of the beggar out in the street, for the sake of the baby who is fed with rice water, for the sake of the sick patients in our public hospitals, for the sake of every Filipino who persists in the hope of a brighter horizon, I ask you to help us prove that we are essentially good, and that we uphold the common good.

For goodness and uprightness in government

I received the following statement through e-mail. I believe in good governance. I believe in principled politics. I believe in putting God and goodness in government. I believe in Gov. Ed Panlilio's sincerity. And so I pass on this statement:

Kaya Natin! Statement on the Recall Movement of Gov. Eddie Panlilio (Pampanga)

We, the founding members of Kaya Natin! A Movement for Genuine Change and Ethical Leadership strongly oppose the move to recall Governor Eddie Panlilio of Pampanga. We believe that this attempt to recall him is politically motivated and would only serve to benefit the vested interests of a few politicians in Pampanga.

While we are aware that there are escalating problems in Pampanga such as the continuing conflict between Gov. Panlilio and the Provincial Board, the unresolved issue on the striking BALAS Quarry Workers and the calls for the resignation of the current Provincial Administrator, among others, we believe that a genuine effort to resolve them will be more beneficial to the
Kapampangans than a political exercise the will further polarize and divide the community. We also recognize that there are members of the civil society, church groups, business organizations and supporters of Gov. Panlilio that have expressed disappointment with his performance during the past year. Thus, while we continue to support Gov. Panlilio's crusade to promote good governance in his province, we also believe that he should listen to the voices of these groups and work at immediately addressing and resolving these growing concerns in order for him to become a more effective governor.

As current local government leaders, we believe that all these issues arise as a result of the changes and reforms being implemented in the province. Reforms do not come easy. It requires continuing engagements between the provincial leadership and the other stakeholders in the locality. We do believe that given time, Governor Panlilio's initiatives will ultimately result to better delivery of basic services to his constituents.

In light of all these, we urge the people of Pampanga not to support the recall initiative. We ask the Kapampangans to give Governor Panlilio a chance to fully serve his term and continue the reforms that he has began. Moreover, we ask all Kapampangans to be patient with Governor Panlilio because we believe that despite the current situation, he is at the moment still the best person who can govern the province in an effective and ethical manner. Should there be a need, the members of Kaya Natin are willing to help organize and/or facilitate a dialogue between Governor Panlilio and disgruntled members of the civil society, business groups, people's organizations and his former supporters in Pampanga.

Finally, we sincerely hope that this movement to recall Gov. Panlilio will be put to rest at the soonest possible time so that we can unite towards working for a better Pampanga and ultimately, a better Philippines.



Naga City


San Isidro, Nueva Ecija

Sunday, August 10, 2008

ARMM Elections

We pray for truth, goodness and justice to triumph at the ARMM elections tomorrow.

God bless ARMM. God bless the Philippines.

A Priest's Prayer on Sunday Night

From Straight from the Heart, a compilation of various prayers gathered and edited by Fr. Ladra:

Tonight, Lord, I am alone.
Little by little the sounds died down in the church.
The people went away and I came home, alone.

I passed by people who were returning home from a walk.
I went by the movie house that was disgorging its crowd.
I skirted cafe terraces where tired strollers were trying to prolong the pleasure of a Sunday holiday.
I bumped into youngsters on the sidewalk. Youngsters, Lord, other people's youngsters, who will never be my own.

Here I am Lord, a body made like others,
arms ready for work, a heart meant for love,
but I've given you all.
It's true you needed it.
I've given you all, but it's hard, Lord.
It's hard to give one's body; it would like to give itself to others.
It's hard to love everyone and to claim no one.
It's hard to shake a hand and not want to retain it.
It's hard to inspire affection, only to give it to you.
It's hard to be nothing to oneself in order to be everything to others.
It's hard to be like others, among others, and to be other.
It's hard always to give without trying to receive.
It's hard to seek out others and to be, oneself, unsought.
It's hard to suffer from the sins of others, and yet be obliged to hear and bear them.
It's hard to be told secrets, and be unable to share them.
It's hard to carry others and never even for a moment be carried.
It's hard to sustain the feeble and never be able to lean on one who is strong.
It's hard to be alone, alone before everyone, alone before the world, alone before suffering, death, sin.

Son, you are not alone, I am with you, I am you.
I needed another human instrument to continue my Incarnation and my redemption.
Out of all eternity, I chose you., I needed you.
I need your hands to continue to bless.
I need your lips to continue to speak.
I need your body to continue to suffer.
I need your heart to continue to love.
I need you to continue to love.
I need you to continue to save.
Stay with me, son.

Here I am Lord, here is my body, here is my heart, here is my soul.
Grant that I may be big enough to reach the world,
strong enough to embrace it without wanting to keep it.
Grant that I may be a meeting place, but a temporary one,
a road that does not end in itself because everything to be gathered there,
everything human leads toward you.

Lord, tonight, while it is all still and I feel sharply the string of solitude,
while your people devour my soul and I feel incapable of satisfying their yearning,
while the whole world presses on my shoulders with all its weight of misery and sin,
I repeat to you my "yes" - not with a burst of laughter,
but slowly, clearly, humbly, alone, Lord, before you,
in the peace of the evening.

(Michael Quoist)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

From worry to hope...

A reflection for Sunday, August 10, 2008:

Why Worry?

There are only two things in life to worry about:

Whether you are well
or whether you are sick.

If you are well,
then there is nothing to worry about.

But if you are sick,
there are only two things to worry about:

Whether you are going to get well
or whether you are going to die.

If you get well,
then there is nothing to worry about.

But if you die,
there are only two things to worry about:

Whether you are going to go to heaven
or whether you are going to go to hell.

If you go to heaven,
then you have nothing to worry about.

But if you go to hell,
you'll be so busy shaking hands with all your friends,
that you won't have time to worry!

So, Why Worry?

(from a poster)

Come to think of it however, there are really a whole lot of things to worry about, be afraid of, be anxious about.

We worry about dwindling vocations. We worry about problematic priests, and religious. We worry about unbecoming church leaders. We worry about dwindling catholic participation. We worry about enrollment. We worry about a changing culture. We worry about problematic students. We worry about revenues. We are anxious of the future. We are anxious of the worsening global climate. We worry about the worsening politics. We worry about the shady deals of some government people with business interests, foreign nationals, and even rebels. We worry about food security, prices of commodities, and fuel cost. We worry about our personal health. We worry about strained relationships. We worry about family. We worry about our work and ministering. We worry about lack of time. We worry about various problems, difficulties and deficiencies.

There is enough, actually, a lot of things to worry about. And it would not be new if we find people, or even ourselves overwhelmed by these.

The disciples in today’s Gospel were definitely worried. They are at the middle of the sea, there was a storm, strong winds and waves were tossing the boat about. And Jesus was not with them. They might have been really frightened.

And then Jesus came walking on the water to them. And when he had gotten into the boat, the storm stopped, the winds and the waves became calm. The message is clear. The Christian is not to be perturbed by strong winds and raging waves of trials and difficulties. There is hope amidst the storm. Jesus is with us, he will never leave us. He will never forsake us. The Christian motive of hope is Christ himself.

There is a song, courtesy of the Jesuits Manoling Francisco and Johnny Go, entitled Far Greater Love. The song drives home the message of today’s Gospel episode.

*** **** ****

In between the storm of the lake and the fright of the apostles, and the stilling of the winds and waves, is an important episode. The disciples saw Jesus and they thought he was a ghost. And so they were all the more terrified – a storm, winds and waves and a ghost walking towards them. But Jesus introduced himself to them saying, “Do not be afraid, it is I.” Peter in his characteristic impulsiveness asked Jesus to call him and make him walk on the water if it was really him. The Lord called Peter and Peter walked on water. But when he saw the big waves and felt the strong winds, he was frightened and he began to sink.

We see here the fragility of belief. There is a potential of doubt even in the most sincere of believers, and there is a potential of belief even in the most stubborn of doubters.

This could also happen to us. Even when we think that we trust God, sometimes the big waves of circumstances and difficulties distract us. Sometimes our personal insecurities and deficiencies confuse us. Sometimes we lose sight of our hope, instead be overwhelmed by circumstance and engulfed by our limitations. When these times happen, we pray to have the courage and urgency of Peter, to cling to the Lord and plead, “Lord, save me.” And mabilis pa sa alas kwatro, the Lord will come to the rescue.

The call is for us not to allow circumstances to distract us, and our limitations to overwhelm us. We are to pin our hopes not in luck, or even in other people or ourselves. Instead, we look up to him who walks on water, who is above all chaos, and allow him to guide our lives.

But when we allow Jesus to guide us, we should not expect to have a comfy and smooth sailing. Expect the otherwise instead. Jesus does not promise to take the storms away. Life is never meant to be easy. Suffering is redemptive. Amidst the storm, we are to look for Jesus and let him in our boat. Walking to Jesus, we can walk on water even amidst strong winds and waves. And when we start sinking, let us be quick to ask the Lord’s help. A reflection of a friend is worth recalling here – we are far safer with Christ in a storm, than without Christ in the calm and quiet.

There are a lot of things to worry about. But we are not to be paralyzed by these, because we have the Lord Jesus with us. We are ruled by a love far greater than the troubles of this world and the limitations of our hearts. But the Lord will not take away all the troubles and difficulties. He instead assures us that he is with us.

With the Lord with us, is there room for worry? Why worry? Trust in the Lord and he will help you. (Proverbs 20:22)

Far Greater Love

Music by: Manoling V. Francisco SJ
Lyrics by: Johnny C. Go, SJ

Who would have known this would be a history so torn with wars?
The sky seems grayer in our hearts.
It's grayer in our hearts.

I could have sworn it would end in misery,
but the world is turning still,
and we're also learning, somewhere
hidden out there, something's greater than our hearts

The storms of life may shake our ground,
a greater peace still dwells in our hearts.
The dreams we build may fall apart,
A deeper hope still runs in our hearts.
Fear no harm, we are ruled by a far greater love,
a far greater love

Who would have known life would be such a mystery?
For the world is yearning still and our hearts keep burning.
We dare to believe there's something greater than our hearts (REFRAIN)

We're never alone.
All else may go wrong,
still will there be a love far greater than our hearts

(listen to the song)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wishful thinking?