February 22, 2019
Memorial of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear? The Lord is my life's refuge; of whom am I afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
Trying times bring us into a moment of reflection and contemplation. Please allow me to share with you my thoughts on the current situation our country faces.
As a Catholic community, we should always guard our moral grounds and uphold social justice at all times. This is particularly relevant to governance and responsible citizenship in a democratic society. Nowhere is the commitment of Christians in the world better exemplified than in the example of Saint Thomas More who, by his martyrdom, gave witness to the “inalienable dignity of the human conscience,” teaching that “man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality” (Pope John Paul II, 2001).
The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines was promulgated for the purpose of securing and protecting the welfare of all its citizens, as well as promoting good governance and accountability. The first commitment enshrined therein is a commitment to “secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace” (Preamble, 1987 Constitution).
If so, it follows that there is an inherent need for our political leaders to be morally upright (Proverbs 16:12). Leaders must always be role models, embodying the essence of servitude by utilizing informed skills with sincerity, compassion, and conviction (Proverbs 25:26). Similar to how God loves us and endures our sins, political leaders must genuinely care for people with all heart, mind and soul (Proverbs 31:8-9). The mantra of such leaders must be “God entrusted me this position for the betterment of others; I understand my vocation and I am secure in my calling.”
With the Midterm Elections upon us, it would be beneficial to this country's future to scrutinize candidates and look for an actualized leader, one who is truthful, fair and objective (Proverbs 24:23-25). We need a leader who moves beyond the self to serve the country (Philippians 2:3). We need one who does not mask the rotten for the sake of creating an image of decency. Or even one who does not create an image of decency but even wallows at the filth, pretending to be one with the masa. A leader must be one who can and will forego politically correctness but strives to be prayerful and ethically virtuous (Proverbs 15:8-9).
As responsible, mindful voters, may we be wary of political propaganda. Know and understand the issues and identify candidates who champion morally acceptable principles and cause.
In this era of disinformation and political trolls, may we be more discerning of what we read. Pope Francis's message during World Communications Day 2018 expressed concern over social media's dark side becoming a very powerful tool for destroying people. The World Wide Web has become a vast arena for cyber bullying, black ops, propaganda, and the derailment of objectivity and truth. It is heavily populated by bots, trolls, manufacturers of lies and rumors, news fakers, and bullies.
Our Holy Father calls upon us to be critical recipients of content and validate the information we receive before believing and acting on them. A key dimension of Jesus’s mission was to preach the truth and we, the Holy Angel University community, as part of the disciples for whom He prayed, must actively partake in this mission.
God’s Commandments allow self-examination on conformance to a conscientious life. While the rule of law permits us to live a righteous life. Today, however, we face a crisis—the rule of man is over and above the two. May we be critical in handling this concern and be on guard all the time.
God gave us the gift of will and freedom to do only what is right and honorable. We have learned from the Apostle Paul that the Christian concept of freedom is not that it makes women and men free to sin, but that it makes women and men free not to sin (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
I trust that the university community will remain faithful to God and our country. That everything we do is for the greater glory of both. We owe our lives and existence to both and we must carry in our hearts like badges the will and dedication to live for them.
Now is the time to be critical. What is at stake is not our future alone but that of our children and grandchildren. What kind of life awaits them? The answer lies in our choices, yours and mine. Let each one count.
Laus Deo semper!
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it.” (Psalm 111:10)
Luis María R. Calingo, Ph.D.
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