Interview with Cardinal Tagle

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Saturday, January 4, 2014


LAST December 30, I watched the Talk back evening show of Tina Monzon Palma. She was interviewing Cardinal Tagle about his life as a priest and a bishop and his close friendship with Pope Francis. Tagle is widely believed to be the next pope after Francis.

Personally, I believe Tagle has a good chance to become pope and then he would be the first pope from Asia like Francis was the first pope from Latin America.

One thing that struck me in the interview with Tagle is what he said about the biblical word lamentation. He said: ‘Lamenting – why not?’ Lamenting means mourning, weeping, bewailing.

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The Book of the Prophets has one section that is called Lamentations. The prophet describes there the mourning of the Jewish people about the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 597 B.C. ‘From the darkness shines a ray of trust in God and repentance for our sins.’ This Book of Lamentations is used by the Jewish people during the time of their great fast when they commemorate that tragic event.

The Christians use the Lamentations also in the Holy Week liturgy in order to recall what happened on Calvary. Up to this time there is in Israel the so-called Wailing Wall. Jews and Moslems alike pray in front of this wall to Yahweh and ask him for forgiveness of their sins and the sins of the non-Jews, the pagans.

Coming back on the interview with Cardinal Tagle, he asked the question: “What is wrong with complaining, lamenting? It is like giving an outlet to your grievances and your sufferings. You don’t blame God for what may have happened to you but you feel the need for having a strong faith in a loving God. Even a child often asks his parents: why does this happen to me or why do you do this to me? The child doesn’t expect an answer but it just asks for attention from its parents.”

Tagle talked also about smiling. The smile on your face – it works like magic. It opens doors to other people. Many Filipinos wear a beautiful smile on their face. Tagle believes smiling has become part of the Filipino culture. It is unique to Filipinos. To tell you frankly, I fell in love with my wife because of her beautiful smile. President Aquino has always a smile on his face when he talks or gives an interview. I believe it is an asset to him.

After the interview in the evening, the following morning I watched the Karen Davila morning show. There was this girl who had been blind from birth. She, too, had a beautiful smile on her face when she talked to Karen. But she had also a beautiful voice and she sang songs that revealed her inner beauty and her strong faith in a loving God. Since she was born blind she had no idea what the world looked like, what people looked like and even how she herself looked like. But her other senses, like her hearing and her inner sense of self-awareness and the presence of God in herself and around her had so strongly developed in her that she could express herself in such a wonderful way. Amazing!

Cardinal Tagle who was also always smiling when he spoke to Tina Monzon Palma in the interview reminded us on the importance of our awareness of God’s presence in us and our neighbors and that is the reason why we should rejoice always, especially during this time of Christmas.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 05, 2014.

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