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The Living Spirit
Monday, August 19, 2013
ON AUGUST 15, the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the remembrance that Mary after her death was taken up into heaven.
This is according to the doctrine of the Catholic Church. During the 16th century the Reformation of Luther and Calvin has brought about many good reforms in the Catholic Church but one bad reform is that it has tried to take away from the faithful the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the liturgy of the Feast of the Assumption we hear from the Gospel of St. Luke the beautiful song of Mary, the Magnificat. Mary proclaims there “the greatness of the Lord, the power of God that has pulled down princes from their throne and exalted the lowly; the hungry He has filled with good things, the rich He has sent away empty.”
The problem of our modern age is that we have lost a sense for the sacred and the spiritual. We don’t recognize anymore the mystery, the miracles that are happening around us every day. The miracle is that God, the Powerful, is still at work in our time, still at work in people, like I have said in my previous column on vocations: there are no accidents or co-incidences in our life, everything is planned by the Almighty.
We have to bring the song of Mary, the Magnificat, back into the context of today’s reality. Look at the thousands of the poor and the unemployed in our society and look at the pork barrel scam of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and the 97 mayors and 28 lawmakers (including our lawmaker Rufus).
Napoles is the she-devil of today and the mayors and congressmen are her cohorts, the cohorts of Satan. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is the modern-day Mary, the strong woman who stands up for the rights of the poor and the hungry and who sends the rich away empty. Mary represents also today the many strong women in the Church who involve themselves with the works of service to the poor and empowerment of the lay in the Church.
The front page of Inquirer of August 14 shows four pictures of Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, horrified and dismayed at the pork barrel scam, and he is moved to tears. These pictures remind me of our new Pope Francis during World Youth Day in Brazil where he tried to rekindle the fire of the Holy Spirit in the thousands of poor people, especially the young, and he tells them not to lose hope.
We must not forget our young generation in the Philippines. Many of them have lost interest in the Church. Pope Francis has said that the Catholic Church is the ‘Church of the Poor.’ That means that the Church should not wallow in poverty, but it should end it. The task of the Church today is to convince society of the values for which it stands, the values of social justice, of peace and prosperity for the poor.
During the time of the Reformation in the 16th century the Carmelite saint Teresa of Avila brought about the so much needed reform within the Order of the Carmelites and within the Church. She said: “Let nothing disturb you, all things pass, God never changes, God alone is sufficient.” And the Carmelite saint, John of the Cross, in the same time said: “If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”
The straight path of Noynoy is a walk in the dark. Let us try to rekindle the awareness of God’s presence in the world of today. God’s power is enough to change our society.
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 19, 2013.