IN SICKNESS and in health, I embraced the role of a court-annexed mediator. I was with the only batch who joined the Philippine Mediation Center Bacolod when it was established in 2004.

In court annexed mediation (CAM), parties-in-conflict to a pending case are directed by the court to submit their dispute to a neutral third party (the Mediator) who works with them to reach a settlement of their controversy.

We are the first line of defense to decongest the dockets of our lower courts. Mediatable cases are diverted to us so parties resolve their interest-based issues between themselves under our guidance.

Back in 2004, then Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide pointed out that mediation is not only a judicial issue but a sacred, holy marching orders from God.

We find mediation in the Bible. It means to intercede, to go or come between two parties, to plead before one of them on behalf of the other. In the New Testament it is used as the equivalent of entygchanein (Vulgate interpellare, in Hebrews 7:25). “Mediation” means a standing in the midst between two (contending) parties, for the purpose of bringing them together (1 Timothy 2:5).

Now I find myself in a new role. That of a prayer guide of the Prayer and Life Workshop. And my participants are – hold your breath – inmates of the Metro Bacolod District Jail-Special Intensive Care (BJMP-Sica) Area in Barangay Taculing, Bacolod City.

The Prayer and Life Workshops (PLW) Bacolod plans to hold 15 workshop sessions among 21 inmates starting February 3, 2017. PLW commits the participant inmate to live in three dimensions: with God, with himself, with other inmates, and society at large when he attains his laya (freedom).

At this point, I will play the role of a guide to settle the spiritual issues between an individual inmate and God, and between him and his fellowmen. In each session are two fundamental lines: God speaks to His child (descending) and the child responds (ascending).

In this way, I pray that those who finish the 15 sessions will be healed and more confident in their individual spiritual journeys. That means there will be lesser recidivism to those inmates who have embraced the liberation and healing through the knowledge of our Heavenly Father and of themselves.

My thanks to Chief Inspector Jonairy F. Sitchon, warden of the MBDJ-Sica and Jail Officers 1 Irene Joy Lotilla and Maria Victoria Theresa Otom, and the other BJMP personnel for their warm welcome when I visited their office. I sense the presence of our Heavenly Father in their persons.

I’m looking forward to working with you in this ministry. I agree with the poet Oscar Wilde that the only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.