Aspirants told: To serve, listen-A A +A
Saturday, February 16, 2013
MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle yesterday advised voters and candidates to listen better, for effective public service and credible elections.
The 55-year-old Cardinal Tagle served as the recollection master yesterday at the discernment and recollection organized by Dilaab Foundation Inc. and Couples for Christ.
“I think we should humbly admit we encounter difficulties in listening,” he said.
“Before we expect others to listen, ask yourselves, ‘Am I good in listening or am I becoming an expert on not listening?’” he said.
Tagle referred to Bible readings in his talk as he explained the many qualities required of a leader, whether in the church or in the secular arena.
About 400 participants joined the recollection, composed of members of religious congregations and delegates from parishes in Cebu and Luzon.
Also represented were church-based organizations like the election watchdog Cebu-Citizens’ Involvement and Maturation in People’s Empowerment and Liberation (C-Cimpel).
Quoting from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, Cardinal Tagle related the parable was on how a shepherd cared for or looked after the welfare of the sheep under his care.
“Are you taking care of the sheep for themselves? Were you instrumentalizing the sheep to serve yourself?” he asked.
The parable, he said, reveals a failure in listening: “Because of this failure of the shepherds to listen, the sheep scattered and became easy prey to wild beasts.”
“The good shepherd is the gate, he should be the way (that the sheep should follow),” he added.
Leaders are not deemed strangers by their followers, he said.
“There must be a union that makes me understand, be sensitive to others. There is knowledge from immersion or knowing the life of the people,” he added.
The third quality of a good leader is the commitment to put the interest of the people before his or her own interests.
“We are invited to fix our life on Jesus and the listening heart of God. Jesus became man that there is no experience, except sin, that he was not able to listen to,” said Tagle.
Tagle delivered his hour-long reflection in the conference room of the Sacred Heart Center along D. Jakosalem St.
The room was so packed that organizers announced that registration was stopped and people who were not able to enter were asked to return for the afternoon session that was allotted for political candidates.
The talk of the prelate, who was inducted into the College of Cardinals only in November last year, focused on discernment and included short anecdotes that kept the audience laughing.
“This is the listening of the shepherd and we present this to those in public office and if they frown, we’ll say ‘It’s not me, it’s Jesus,’” said Tagle.
“We must develop this capacity to listen God and to others. I hope we can look into ourselves and open ourselves to the work of God. When you truly listen, it would open up to you new worlds. You will be fired up with the sense of mission, not in order to promote yourselves, but all for love,” he added.
Dilaab’s overall coordinator Fr. Carmelo Diola also talked about the L.A.S.E.R. test, which stands for lifestyle, action, supporters, election conduct, and reputation and called it a “tool for listening.”
The test, a questionnaire, was initially sent to 12 people including a former ombudsman, two police officers, two mayors, Commissioner Heidi Mendoza of the Commission on Audit and the late Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Diola related that a nun was once asked why she voted for a particular candidate and got the reply that candidate was the ‘lesser evil’ among all the candidates.
“The Church has never taught us to choose the lesser evil but to choose the good,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 16, 2013.