Tests of faith

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Friday, December 20, 2013

WITH everything that happened to our fellow Filipinos in Zamboanga City during the armed conflict, in Bohol where a magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck, and in Leyte and Samar provinces where the wrath of Super Typhoon Yolanda was felt, we still manage to shape our life according to the behest of our faith.

These fateful events that caused devastation to people this year were considered severe tests of faith for Filipinos.

Everybody wept the death of those who died and were never found, everybody extended sympathies and help to the survivors, and everybody prayed and asked God for a stronger faith.

Indeed, what endured most was faith, a gift from God that enables all to start living life with Him which is how it should be.

Christmas is just around the corner and it brings us a clear message of faith and hope that there will always be a rainbow after the rain. There may be less of good cheer this Christmas for many, but the spirit has come early this year when people from one nation to another has helped the victims and survivors recover from the worst nightmare they are in.

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles said it has become a "very imperfect world" but God has never left us.

"Daghang mga factors sa trahedya na binuhatan sa tao. We have made this world quite imperfect. Ang trahedya gikan ra pud sa binuhatan sa tao, ug binuhatan na supak sa disenyo sa Diyos. Apan bisan pa niana, ang Diyos naga uban pa kanato diha sa atong kasakitan," Valles said in his homily at a mass celebrated in Barangay Andap, New Bataan, Compostela Valley on December 4, exactly a year after Typhoon Pablo.

Valles said the wrath brought by Typhoon Pablo should also be included among the "litany of tragedies."

Because of faith, although people were practically down and out, still all remained strong, he said.

"Ang Diyos wala mibiya kanato. Ang Diyos nagauban kanato, nagauban sa atong tumang kaguol ug kasakit ngadtong mga adlawa ug tuod mga kaguol ug kasakit nga ania pa sa atong mga kasing-kasing hangtod karon," he said.

Charmaine, a grade-six pupil, said the best lesson she learned this year was the importance of giving than receiving.

"Our teacher told us to donate something for the victims of the typhoon. I was hesitant at first but watching the news moved me. The scenes that were taped were unbelievable. I could not imagine how strong Yolanda was," she said in vernacular.

"My mother even told me we were lucky we were spared. From that remark, I realized I should help even in my own small ways," she said.

Charmaine said she donated some of her used clothes for the children of Tacloban City. Her school initiated the gathering of donations from the teachers and students and channeled these through Philippine Red Cross.
"I hope the children of Tacloban City will make use of my used clothes. I hope it could keep them warm during cold nights," she said.

Aside from giving and sharing, Christmas is a metaphor of faith and hope.
It's the time of the year when faith is renewed and hearts are burning with high hopes for the next years to come.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) outgoing president and Cebu archbishop Jose Palma, in a pastoral statement, said: "For our part, knowing the dream and love in people’s hearts, we need to pick up the pieces of our lives, help each other to rise again and take up the journey of rebuilding our communities."

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 21, 2013.


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