By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THIS IS a serious suggestion, given in earnest and not in irony.
Now that we are again stirred into some rage, thanks to the Bolante and de la Paz affairs, we have to come back to this basic, in fact, inalienable need of ours.
We need to pray, we need to appeal to God and to everyone in the deepest part of our hearts, because, as we can see, not all the reasoning, the arguing, the discussing of issues, no matter how brilliant and incisive, can yield us the fair solution to our problems, and the joy and peace that we all deserve simply by being human beings.
Reason without prayer, without being engaged in God, is the most cunning, treacherous, and slippery fugitive hard if not humanly impossible to apprehend. Worse, it generates more mischiefs.
This is what I see in the unfolding drama of the above-mentioned cases. There is full recourse to reason, with hardly any mention of prayer. Even some Church leaders are falling into the trap, a most devious trick sweetened by good intentions.
Man can be most clever, since after all we are supposed to be the image and likeness of God. The painful anomaly is that if that Godly image is not really grounded on God but on some ghost, then we can expect truly dangerous consequences.
In recent literature, this point is interestingly captured and dramatized in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Many other literary works have conveyed the same message, trying to elicit the appropriate lessons for all of us to learn. But we don’t seem to learn.
I find it amusing to see our senators and other people, including bishops, wring their hands in frustration, tear their hair in bitterness, as they see their best efforts to ferret out the truth also ably annulled by the antics, legal and otherwise, of their targets.
But what can you expect in a game that pits reason with reason alone, pairing it with some bullying and shaming tactics? Truth, which comes from God and from how we seriously take him, can only be buried, its requirements and timing ignored. Everyone wants the truth according to his own terms. It’s a perfect recipe for truth to hide.
In fact, I see some danger here, since if our leaders are already into hysterics, you can just imagine how the ordinary citizens would feel. What do we get by simply shrieking in denunciation, as in corruption is a social cancer and calling for change of government now? We just generate more idle pathos.
The only reason why no massive hysteria has so far been provoked is because the issues are now common; people are desensitized and feel the issues concern more the rich and power-hungry than us, the vast majority of the poor.
Let them have their games, we seem to say. Don’t bother us. We’re busy surviving. This attitude, of course, is not right and needs to be corrected. But with the daily problems at hand, what can we do?
What we need to do is to pray, to surrender our heart to God in supplication, reprising Christ’s own self-offering to his Father on the cross, because this is the best form of prayer proper to us, this is what corresponds to the ultimate reality about ourselves, this is the ultimate source of power for us to be converted.
Changes in our behavior and in society, in our business and politics, in every aspect of our life will always start and end in our soul that needs to be converted. And they can only happen when we allow the soul to tackle the issue at length not only with oneself but also, and most especially, with God.
This is done usually in prayer, and not so much in noisy rallies, Senate investigations and people power.
With prayer, we derive the power to cover and penetrate what no politics, social conditioning, intellectual and verbal bullying can reach. Not even by sanctimonious appeals by a renegade and break-away pack of Church leaders whose gospel now banks on columnists, so-called civil society leaders, think tanks, etc.
I hope the current political mess will highlight the importance of prayer and other spiritual and supernatural means in resolving our problems. They are not supposed to replace the human means. They are what give the latter their soul, and their link with God, with truth and justice.