Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I am blessed. Yes, I really am. Why not, when I eat complete meals, take shelter in a homely place, wear nice clothes? I go to a highly reputable school and I have a good set of friends, who are equally good as citizens of this country and we all make comfortable lives with fulfilling jobs, pay our taxes, exercise our electoral duties. I go to Church, pay my tithe, listen to God’s Words in complete awe as I listen to pronouncements of my salvation. Indeed, I am blessed…or am I?
I have perfect senses of sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, so I am not blind to what I see, not deaf to what I hear, not ignorant to what I smell and taste, and not numb to what I feel. Beyond myself, the lack of blessedness runs the spectrum in varying degrees. I browse the Net, surf through television channels and watch movies, and images of poverty, strife and other manifestations of ungodliness assail my sensibilities. The radio blares with and eavesdropped conversations reveal lamentations of how loss of lives can visit so early in others at so tragic a manner. My nose complains when decomposing trash litters everywhere; my tongue reacts to the blandness of artificial food. My skin creeps from the lash of the angry sun, the spatter of acid rain, the chill of the rotten wind, the begging of street children everywhere.
I reconsider: I am not entirely blessed, given the fact that I cannot live in isolation. My brethren are not blessed, and if they are supposed to serve as my reflection, then I cannot be truly blessed. How can I call myself so, when around me, the world has taken a radical departure from its original state since God created it during Genesis?
The more contemplative in my midst claim that all these sufferings are the Lord’s wakeup call for everybody, but not all have responded favorably. Some have remained callous to the anguish of people who lost their family’s lives and properties to the strike of typhoons, earthquakes or other such unforgiving acts of nature, the cries of despair for the departed because of shipwrecks, air crashes, land transportation collisions, civil wars or other such merciless tragedies, the gnashing of teeth for the weekly escalation of oil rates in the world market, the skyrocketing prices of basic goods and services, the exploitation of the working class, the heathen ways of terrorists, the harassment made on missionaries, the lingering poverty, everything. Everything.
It hit me: the way the world slowly dies today under the conspiracy of the very creatures it is entrusted to means God tries to say something. We are agonizing today because we have neglected our spirituality. Driven by our false sense of blessedness, we abandoned our morals and pursued our earthly desires at the expense of the poor, the mourning, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the merciful, the pure-hearted, the peacemakers, the persecuted. They will see better days in the afterlife, we are inclined to believe.
Knowing this plight and not doing anything about it is betraying God’s own people, further alienating myself from God because of the sinfulness of the very act. There is something that can be done by me, and the heedless rate the world is approaching its apocalypse spells the urgency the action must take place. This action, it is clear to me, is hearing God’s voice in the midst of this wilderness of depression. It means turning to the side of God’s blessed people even if it means an extraordinary scale of sacrifice in me. What do I lose, when what I have now are meaningless in the face of my suffering brethren? True Christians then and now have demonstrated their unanimous way of heeding God’s spiritual call: to carry their own crosses and imitate the redeeming stance of Christ. Given the world’s ailing condition, I think that my personal cross is to steer away from the side of the persecutors, the unrighteous and the evil revelers in their dizzying array of manifestations, because only when I have stopped to be spiritually sterile will I be able to bridge the gap separating me from God. Doing good deeds, I understand, is not sufficient to save me, but it is a starting point in becoming one with the minoritized children of God. It is my initial attempt to be Christ-like, having to die symbolically as this self-sacrifice is needed to give life to others.
It does not matter if I become poor. If the kingdom of heaven is reserved to the poor, I want to be like them. The material riches are not important to me, because they cannot be brought with me to the grave and they are even among the very causes of people’s spiritual distraction. Self-denial through living sparely has been done by God, and I want to follow His example by setting my sight beyond earthly possessions.
It does not matter if I mourn. If comfort is reserved to the sufferers, I want to share their misery. I cannot stand to rejoice while the greater lot anguishes because of desperation, tragedy or wickedness done unto them. Christ mourned too while praying for enlightenment at the Garden of Gethsemane, and I want to follow His example by grieving as a part of my self-sacrifice.
It does not matter if I become meek. If the silenced are the inheritors of the earth, I want to be like them. Much noise had been made a fanfare that muffled the voices of the poor, the marginalized, the exploited. God will not deny these silenced people their deserved place on earth despite the unholy works of their oppressors, and I want to follow Christ by remaining placid in spite of noisy distractions from false prophets and evildoers.
It does not matter if I go hungry and thirsty. If soon, the rioters for food and water will be gratified, then I will likewise be filled by God. Christ has become a shepherd to man, and following my shepherd I shall not want.
It matters to be merciful. If the merciful among us will be shown mercy, I want to be like them. Pity is a rare commodity today, with only a few people touched by their conscience to help the needy. God Himself is merciful, and I want to be like Him in extending mercy to the wanting in order to be shown mercy as well.
It matters to be pure in heart. If the pure-hearted gets to see God in due time, I want to cleanse my heart in preparation for my meeting with my Maker. The world teems with people possessing ulterior intentions, unwitting that naked motives separate them eternally from God. Christ has a pure heart, and I want to follow His pure-heartedness in order to be one with Him in His time.
It matters to champion peace. If the peacemakers reserve the right to be called God’s children, it is my intention to promote peace, too. Wars, hunger and other man-facilitated human tragedies are rooted to the absence of peace, so it must be restored in the manner God meant it when He gave us paradise. To join God’s lot on Judgment Day, I must follow Christ in His example as the Prince of Peace: be diplomatic myself, especially in the context of these violent, turbulent times.
Finally, it matters to be righteous despite persecutions, insults and false accusations. The kingdom of heaven is reserved to those who do what is right in God’s eyes, and I want to be righteous too. Only when things are done right that I get to fulfill God’s commandments, so I must persevere especially when people demonize me for not doing the popular that’s disgusting for God. Becoming a true Christian means standing up for one’s faith no matter what, because after all, God rewards with a place in heaven.