by: Carol Donaal
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Meriam Webster defines peace at the state of calmness and quietness; and the absence of war and strife. Currently, it seems to be impossible to have peace within us especially now that we are fighting war against the COVID-19 virus. Throughout history we have heard of the many effects of war and strife. Even in the beginning, we know the truth about inner strife which caused Adam to disobey his Creator-God.
Commentaries say that peace is not part of human nature since it was lost during the fall of man through one man that is Adam. Instead, peace is God’s gift to humanity through one man and that is in the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate sacrifice-the offering that paved the way in order that each of us will be reconciled back to God and have the peace and rest that our souls yearn for.
In the Philippines, election is nearing and we can already hear many pretentious promises of peace and prosperity and such. But the book of truth will tell us that there is a promise of peace that this world cannot offer. It is however, offered by Christ alone and is the kind of peace that surpasses beyond all understanding at the same time guards our hearts and minds in Him. This peace offering is being offered to us up to this day. In times of trials, tribulations or any circumstances we are facing today, may we accept, receive and enjoy the gift so that we will take heart and have peace in Christ alone.
St. Augustine of Hippo also said in his book entitled “City of God” that peace is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God.
Christ set before us an example. He modeled the real peace that the world cannot give. He also conveyed the message that peace can only be attained in God’s presence. It is the inner peace that the world cannot give. Peace that can be had even in the midst of adversities. In one of His journeys with his disciples, he commanded “peace, be still” to the storm, and there was stillness.
Let us therefore find peace in God. As most people say, “It is not the absence of war but the presence of God.” Why fret for the future if our future is in the hands of the Almighty? Let us then speak peace to everyone, to our family members, and to all that we have.
by: Micah A. Tecne
As Solomon, the wisest king ever lived had said in his reflection that everything has a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Every one of us pass through different seasons of our lives personally and corporately. We have the choice to either respond to it negatively or optimistically.
We Filipinos, are known to be advocates of the value humor and joyfulness as evidenced by how we optimistically and creatively respond to this current challenge of the pandemic but we cannot also deny the fact that this season has been and continually destroying lives and relationships. We have been hearing news about suicides, quarrels, killings and the like. We are seeing how we are being put into a test whether to keep our resilience or give in to distress and defeat. Sadly, we have seen people lose their joy and eventually see them suffer depression, conflicts and the worst is seeing them taking their own lives.
We cannot deny the fact that our responses to different seasons of our lives, especially the season of difficulties and trials, will not only affect us but everyone around us. How we respond to difficulties depends on our source of joy that brings us resilience. Some think that the source of their joy comes from having abounding wealth, fame, pleasure, wisdom of this world, people, etc. but still find themselves empty and dissatisfied. King Solomon, enjoyed the latter but later on he realized and said “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Yes, the source of our joy indeed matters!
As one of the Psalmist uttered in his distress, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” The greatest source of our joy would be the very source of our life who is able to sustain and see us through the seasons, no other than God. Dwelling in God is having joy that brings us hope that makes us resilient as it was also said that He will make known to us the path of life and will fill us with joy in His presence, with eternal pleasures at His right hand.
When we are filled by that abounding joy from a great source, we are able to spread it to others that would make every season of our lives hopeful. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Be filled with joy and be contagious!
By: Ame-Phil O. Saquiban
Based on the Department of Health’s report on 14 November 2021, the Philippines COVID-19 cases reached a nationwide tally to 2,816,980 with 28,102 active cases and with death toll climbing to 45,581, which is 1.61% of the total cases. Every update on our COVID-19 dashboard is more than just a number. It represents people, families and communities. And more than anything, each case represents life.
This pandemic has caused a lot of havoc. Life has been put to waste, not only its very existence but also its productivity, functionality, and enjoyment. People cannot go to places they wish to. Children are prohibited to enter into enclosed establishments. Some are forced to stay at home or to spend for a period of quarantine in an isolation area if exposed to a COVID-19 patient. We are put into a confinement, not as a suspect of a crime but as a suspect of this alleged dreaded disease.
As we are confronted with this war on health, we get to intently and deeply reflect on how precious and sacred life is. We need not wait for such situation to cause us to pause and value this God-given life. How grateful we are for the breath of life is manifested at best when we make use of our time to honor the Author of life in our thoughts, words and actions. We live circumspectly and do the necessary activities for public good in every step of the way. We make a point that we become asset rather than liability. We consciously put to mind that we are not just living on our own but for others and that we should not be preparing for the present time but for the future as well.
Respect for life is not only limited to life preservation and fulfilling the command – “thou shall not kill”, but it recognizes the dignity and worth of every God-given life. Hence, whether we work in public service or in private sector, let us ensure that every life is valued, protected and given the opportunity to flourish, reach his/her full potential and live a meaningful life. Such mindset does not allow greed and selfishness to thrive. It breaks the cycle of acquiring wealth and goods for personal satisfaction.
It is said that we only have one life to live and once our time here on earth is over, we can no longer take it back. Let this truth invite us to daily acknowledge the importance of life, not just our lives but also the lives of others including the future generations.
Honor the Author of Life by making each breath of life count.
by: Atty. Carolina Lim-Gamban
The preamble of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that, “We the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime or truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution" The preamble describes the purpose of the Constitution and it clearly states that one reason why we promulgated this, is to establish a government that shall embody the promotion of common good. In the BusinessWorld article entitled, “The meaning of ‘the common good’,” Atty. Jemy Gatdula mentioned that ‘common good’ was used in the Constitution to “project the idea of a social order that enables every citizen to attain his or her fullest development economically, politically, culturally and spiritually" For this to happen, both the leaders and its citizens must resolve to promote the common good.
As part of our core value on Patriotism, promotion of common good is an important aspect that we should not exchange for silver or gold. Just last month, the filing of candidacy and voter registration ended, and we have a long list of aspiring candidates who will take over the different seats of power. We are nearing the election period and early as now, we must have a background-check on the candidates running for the different posts in the government, and we must examine how they have performed and have been performing. This is also the perfect time to ask who among them is promoting the common good. When we say ‘promoting the common good,’ these are not empty promises or flowery words that did not come to fruition during their stint or even when holding positions in other offices. Promoting the common good goes with action so as to actively encourage the others to do the same. We can see this in their behavior and we can further ask, “Are they worthy of emulation?”
How can we say that candidates, or even we as citizens, are promoting the common good? First, let us examine if the candidates (or we) have brought honor and not disgrace to our country. Looking at the example of our Olympians, they have devoted their time, effort, and resources to bring honor to our beloved Philippines. It somehow brought a common good to the Filipinos where our reputation in sports is somewhat uplifted, and the government recognized and paid more attention to the needs of the athletes. A candidate need not bring honor to our country in a grand manner but it is sufficient that they give their best in the service and have not used the power conferred to them for graft and corruption, or injustice. Second, we can take a look if they have genuine concern for the people. In a webinar attended by of Ms. Ana Patricia Non, the woman behind the community pantry, she communicated that the community pantry started because of her concern for her community during the pandemic. She just wanted to share what she has to those who are needy and wanted to encourage those who have more than enough to share according to their capacity, hence the tag, “Kumuha ayon sa pangangailangan, magbigay ayon sa kakayanan.” Fame, accolade, or recognition was never her driving force in that act of kindness. Third, do they have the mark of serving selflessly to the people even at their own expense? We can always look at the sacrifices of our modern heroes – the medical practitioners, who continued on nursing the Covid-19-afflicted even at the expense of their own health, time, resources, and even their lives, all for the sake of the welfare of the Filipino people. Do the candidates have the same courage, love, and dedication to the point of sacrificing their own? These are just some of the many ways we can see if the candidates (or we) are promoting the common good. There are many more we can add on the list but it will redound on the Scriptures saying, “love your neighbor as yourselves,” and “do not seek your own personal interests alone, but also the interests of others.”
Let us do our fair share in promoting the common good, even in the coming election, as it is pivotal to the destiny of our nation. Let us do this for the sake of our beloved country and the future generations.
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.