IT IS counter-intuitive but the more I think about it the more I am convinced our problem is not lack of Faith but too much of it. Too much of a misdirected Faith, that is.
The Catholics among us run their lives according to the dictates of this Faith. They, we, have been programmed to run for recourse more to prayer than to reason in coping with the more daunting of life’s challenges.
I believe in prayer but not as the be-all and end-all of our problems. Some of our prayers are even downright unchristian.
When we pray to Sto. Niño to divert a typhoon away from us, we are in effect asking God that it hit other people instead. And when we thank God for diverting it, we are in effect also thanking God that it killed other people and destroyed their houses and crops instead. How insane is that?
Reason tells us we cannot solve the poverty of masses of Filipinos by waiting for Divine Providence’s answer to our prayers. We need to rely on the peaceful (violence not being a reasonable option) and concerted move of enlightened (by reason) citizens towards changing social structures that a few control for their exclusive benefit.
Reason should also tell us we cannot expect the Catholic hierarchy and clergy to be of any help in this endeavor because they are part of the political establishment that wants a status quo on the social structure that gives them effective control of people’s lives.
Guardians of our faith tell us to attend church services, avail of the sacraments, pray to Sto. Niño, the Virgin Mary and our patron saint. But the apostle James reasons out that Faith without works of mercy and compassion for the less fortunate is empty and a hypocrisy.
(The deadly Inquisition was an act justified by Faith even as reason says we have freedom of thought and conscience. The recent excommunication of 26 priests in Tagum could only have come off a bishop’s blurred Faith. Reason says otherwise. Salvation is inclusive of the worst of sinners and these priests did not even commit a sin in marrying the women they love.)
Preparations for the celebration of 500 years of Christianity will be shifting into high gear this year. I am calling 2020 as the year of reason in the hope that bishops, clergy and faithful will listen to reason in their search for a fresh way of re-evangelizing the country.
We are in a dark stifling place after 500 years of Christianity and thus need re-evangelizing. Reason should ensure that we get on a road that leads to a humane, just and compassionate or, in short Christian, society. But first reason must tell us what was wrong with our Faith in the past.
Here’s wishing all and sundry a Faith-driven but reason-guided materially and spiritually prosperous New Year.