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    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    Philippine Good


    It's hard to think what a Christian Asia might look like. We have a lived example in the Philippines.

    In other parts of Asia, Christians suffer sometimes unto death. In the Philippines their last sufferings were under Japan.

    Thank you to the so many Franciscans and others that devoted their lives to the great missionary effort.

    One Franciscan I know related to me how on returning home to the U.S. for a visit, he and his Priest friends would say "It's better in the United States, but it's better in the Philippines".

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    Fr. Joseph Dau Vu, SVD, was a Catholic chaplain of the Vietnamese “boat people” refugees in Morong, Bataan. He related to me that in 1978 he together with 55 compatriots slipped out of communist Saigon on an old, decrepit motorized boat and sailed to freedom.

    * * *

    Reflecting on his ordeal at sea, the “boat priest” reminisced with a tinge of sadness, “When fishermen from neighboring countries saw us, they attacked, robbed and took advantage of us. We were even ordered to open our mouths and if they found gold teeth, they pulled them out with dirty pliers. The women were raped or abducted and sold as slaves.

    * * *“

    But when Filipino fishermen saw us, they gave us food and even welcomed us. Why are Filipino fishermen different?” Fr. Dau Vu asked. He answered: “It is because Filipinos are Christians.”Fr. Dau Vu’s sincere compliment is very heartening. It is a tribute to Filipinos known worldwide for their compassion and hospitality. Indeed, Christianity that’s truly lived should make one more loving, more kind, more compassionate.

    * * *

    And this is Christ’s explicit teaching. The hallmark, the chief characteristic whereby every Christian should be known is love. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another… By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples” (Jn 13,34).

    * * *

    Love is not to be shown by mere words but by deeds. As one writer puts it: “They do not love those who do not SHOW it.”I am reminded of that young man who wrote a love letter to his girlfriend. He said “Dear Maricel, I can climb the highest mountain. I can swim the seven seas; I can fight the most ferocious lion in the jungle to prove my undying love for you.”

    * * *

    Then he signed: “Your ever loving Johnny.” Right below this he scribbled a P.S. (postscript) which read: “My love, I’ll visit you on Sunday if it will not rain!”This is only a story but it shows that when it comes to DOING a simple act like visiting on a rainy Sunday, then it’s the end of love.

    * * *

    When we say to “lay down one’s life” or “get hurt” for the other, it doesn’t mean only those heroic or extraordinary acts. The trouble is we think only in terms of these so that we overlook the ordinary ones. If you can lay down your life for others, great, praise the Lord.

    * * *

    But dramatic moments do not come often in life. Far more frequent are the day-to-day demands of love like being kind when you’re feeling irritable or sharing one’s time to one who is in need when you’re enjoying your favorite TV show, or going out of your way occasionally for a charitable cause.

    * * *

    There’s a short article by an anonymous author entitled “What Is Christianity?” It shows Christian love in concrete terms, thus: “In the home it is kindness, in business it is honesty, in society it is courtesy, in work it is fairness.“Toward the unfortunate it is pity; toward the weak it is help; toward the wicked it is resistance; toward the strong it is trust; toward the fortunate it is congratulations, toward the penitent it is forgiveness, toward God it is reverence and love.”

    * * *

    There’s a song which says: “A bell is no bell until it is rung. A song is no song until it is sung.” Let me add: “A Christian is no Christian until he or she loves.”

    * * *

    SUPPORT FUTURE PRIESTS. How about helping a poor seminarian become a priest?Chip in to our scholarship fund or sponsor a poor seminarian’s schooling.

    * * *

    Make your donation payable to “Adopt a Seminarian” c/o Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD, Christ the King Seminary, 1101 E. Rodriguez Blvd., 1099 Quezon City, Philippines. For inquiries, write to: belsvd@yahoo.com.

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