LAST August 28, the country honored its heroes. However, besides that it’s a holiday, most of the Filipinos have really forgotten them. Looking at the busts and statues of our heroes, they were really busted and no one minds them anymore.
This is so because many young people no longer understand the essence of heroism. Philippine History is no longer taught with seriousness in our schools. It seems that many would say, “history man lang na…”
So, what is a hero? A hero is an ordinary person, who had done something extraordinary for the love of his belief or nation. He is one that is ready to die for his belief or his country. This ordinary concept was destroyed by the new definition where we already included those who work abroad or sometimes, we included the death or persecution of the person. Worst, we have misunderstood heroism with martyrdom.
Nationalism is one of the essential requirements for a real hero.
Nationalism means “love of country.” Allow me to dissect this simple definition. Love is an act of giving one’s life for another. In the case of nationalism, we should be ready to give our service and life for the country. The “Bagong Bayani” concept is not actually for the love of country, but it is for the love of family. One works abroad not for the love of the Philippines but because of the bigger source of income.
Heroism is fighting for one’s belief and advocacy. It is rebellion without fear. It is a battle against oppressive and unjust power. Heroism may even be defined as disobedience and disbelief to authority. Our heroes during the imperial times and oppressive regimes were considered oppositions, revolutionaries, or rebels. They really shed their sweat and blood to fight for freedom and liberation of our country.
During the Martial law years, we produced more unsung and unknown heroes. We are not celebrating their feasts but we remember them for what they had done. Many died because of their belief and their fight against the dictator and his hounds. Many were on the streets shouting against an oppressive government.
Today, we have forgotten how to be heroes. We forgot what heroism is and worse, we have created new heroes that serve other oppressive people and countries. We have made heroes who kill and betray their fellow Filipinos. Celebrating National Heroes’ Day is a waste of time if this is how we celebrate it!
Year 2017 was declared by the Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects as the “Year of Holiness” with the theme: “Called to be saints.” The year is dedicated to promote the revitalization of the Order and discover the Augustinian Recollect charism as a sure and sure way to be saints.
Rev. Fr. Miguel Miru, OAR Prior General, adds that this invitation is above all “a call to persevere in the path of holiness through the material and spiritual difficulties that mark everyday life.” This year’s UNO-R University Week adopts the theme: “Heeding the call to Holiness.”
“Holiness” is a state of being where one develops a special relationship with God. “Being holy” means to be always ready to do special things for God and for the faith. There is a need for us to renew our relationship with God and our fellowmen.
Being a hero and being holy are two similar things. They both tell us that we have to offer ourselves for the country and for our faith. If both of this are heeded, then, we may say that we could fulfill our role in this world.
St. Ezekiel Moreno, St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod; Pope St. John Paul II; Mons. John Liu and Su; Fr. Cornelio Moral, OAR, and Fr. Loreto Dacanay, OAR; Manoy Bill and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.