My Christmas wish: grace and a generous dash of obedience

what is grace?

Different was what I was looking for from the protesting “exclusive Catholic schools” of Ateneo and St. Scholastica. It wasn’t that they protested per se but rather their un-godly strategy (which includes their choice of words and statements), game plan, or driving force in their protest that was, to me, a Catholic and also schooled in Catholic schools, a scandal and huge disappointment. Well, I understand UP. A State university, their words and actions on the streets are purposely of the masa although much is still to be discussed and agreed upon as to the ethics of publicly protesting State actions given that it’s State funded/paid for by the people hence it’s (institution) voice should mirror the people’s or the majority at the least. But “exclusive Catholic schools?”

Ateneo Manila espouses the motto Lux in Domino- light in the Lord. Ateneo de Naga’s is Primum Regnum Dei- first the kingdom of God. St. Scholastica’s at least the missionary Benedictines- apart from humility, silence and obedience, to establish a community that would proclaim the kingdom of God among those people who have not yet heard the Gospel.

“Exhume the cadaver!” These are not the words of a Catholic or a Christian. Where is the lux in Domino here? Or, the kingdom of God? Or, community living the Gospel? Besides, as any Christian we were taught not to speak in this way, or weren’t we? What if the other group told your group back: “We will if you also exhume the cadavers of your not-so-perfect parents and founders!”? Undoubtedly, such fires up war. And precisely. Is why I was looking for these Catholic schools and religious to offer a different framework of protest.

In another part of the world, in the US, protesters have camped on the site where the Dakota oil pipeline will be laid to ground where recently the group encountered a controversial hosing incident from the police. You know that they really care about the issue and that they’ve been doing everything they could to attain their objectives, but all within democratic bounds. I was touched by somebody in the group who tweeted that they know that they might lose that war. You could sense humility and objectivity in there. Also hope that they may not. But regardless, acceptance. Who was it who said that it is also about the journey (besides the goal)?

In Twitterlandia recently, there’s this foundation that will be anointing 19 “heroes” of the oppositionists in the time of Marcos. Fine. But, they won’t get to be buried in LNMB. They’re not former Presidents nor bemedalled uniformed men or women these being the qualifications of hero or bayani in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. In the UK, medals and honor can be confirmed by knighthood, only by the Queen. In a democracy, perhaps by legislation although knowing our Pinoy streak, it’ll be all or no one at all. But supposing Congress did legislate those 19 oppositionists as heroes. What do you think will happen across the country?

I hope the young protesters read and understood the individual arguments of the SC judges. The penned individual arguments are eloquent and profound. “Not pure evil.” What does that mean? True history students are curious enough to search high and low for data and information about why the former President was deemed not evil as everyone was saying. Research if data’s not readily available. Diverse perspectives about that era are what our country lacks. Why? What keeps us from exploring all the angles (rather than be stuck with just one hand me down story)? 

So yes it’s not as if nothing’s being done to acquire justice for victims because they’re all filed with the Court. Only that the former President is dead a long time and his “sins” as the elected of the land simply cannot be shouldered by his surviving family. The protesters believe otherwise and this belief is precisely what instituted this country’s political dynasties and patronage politics. We believe we could go to the wife, the son, or daughter, the grandchildren even (is why no one from the decent middle class aspire to public office)- like this country’s a royal kingdom not a democracy. There are among us surviving authorities of that Martial Law regime. Question is, does our honored Court has the strength and courage to summon them? Also, this so-called ill gotten wealth of billions. Who in his or her right mind believes such a thing? The amount’s so preposterous and beguiling it inspires tales and searches that rival those of the Yamashita gold! Finders keepers too! A case to recover certain properties has long been filed in the US, so let’s ask the US court. And please don’t agitate people unnecessarily (the media did) by asking to whom these belong- we’ll know once the case settled.

The fiery and enigmatic Cuban Fidel Castro has divided his country by his rule and ideals but in the end both sides acted with fairness and above all, grace and great hope for the future. This because I think the Cubans are aware that greater forces were also involved in the shaping of their history eg. US’ backing of their dictator President Batista who eventually abandoned his presidency to Castro whose rebellion was initially supported by the US that later on staged the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion in order to topple Castro.  Now, both countries have made steps toward reconciliation. The curious tide of time.

We were in the same boat too.  The forces that shaped and are shaping our history, economy, and politics are not necessarily confined within the national. We have to recognize this because it then shapes our attitude toward and perspectives of events. It’s why the call is to stick together as a nation.

The Cubans chose grace toward that time of their history. They chose to be forward looking. We need to be that too. It won’t be surprising if with their graceful attitude and perspective, Cuba will have outpaced our country (if we remain wallowing like carabaos in our shithole). 

That reminds me. I read somewhere that one reason Singapore, Japan and other SEA countries have overtaken us is, people in those countries, relative to Filipinos, are obedient and respectful of their elected leaders. Once decrees are passed, the people execute them at once no questions asked. True. We, here, modelled especially at government level, argue about better ways without actually getting to doing things, we make fun more than sweat, and along the way try to up the other because we believe we’re each the hero more than others, and before we know it centuries have passed us by. 

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