May sakit ako ngayon so nagkaroon ako ng time for blogging.
* * * * *
It’s been barely a month since Caritas in Veritate was released by Vatican but the news of its publication seemed slow to spread in the Philippines. I’ve been scouring the local papers for some words about it, but the first social encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI seem not as newsworthy as, say, our politicians being photographed with the US president or his pet dog. It’s quite saddening that the world’s most recent knowledge of the Popeever speaking of something socially relevant wasthat misquoted opinion of the Holy Father against the use of contraceptives in the AIDS-stricken African nations. And what do we make of Caritas in Veritate? It’s just tad too boring to rouse the media hype.
But we still have plenty of time ahead of us. Malay ba natin, it’s just picking up its momentum. Lalo na when the latest Vatican offering on social issues is lauded by experts as Church’s learned dialogue with sociologists, economists and leaders of the land. The authoritative and modern manner that it was written just goes to show that the Pope has been doing his homework of updating himself to the current global realities. Reading the encyclical, one cannot but rail to remark how Caritas in Veritate acted like the biblical dragnet (from the Gospel of St. Matthew, you heathens), scouring every important corners and backalleys of the modern society for “occasions of salvation” : the financial system, the labor unions, bioethical issues, international economic institutions, ecumenism, and even a “espace sacré” for tourism and the plight of the migrant workers. While we say that Caritas in Veritate packs a social clout, this is not to say that it pales on the theological department. At each themes and subthemes, Pope Benedict XVI exercised well his vocation of preaching the coming of the Kingdom, by precising on economical and sociological terms, the image of the Kingdom of God. And for our main man Benny, if our quest ofr the much anticipated Kingdom of God has a soundtrack, it has the words “love” and “truth” all over its refrain.
Personally, I find the English translation of Caritas in Veritate a refreshing, albeit a longish, read, especially when at some rare moments, we’ll find a few very up-to-date English expressions that somehow lent a little zest on the usual conciliar or curial language of the Vatican documents. Thus, we find phrases like “weaving the networks of charity,” “putting the breaks on violence,” “gaining a foothold on economy” and “running on a level playing field,” just to name a vivid few. Whether the credit for such novelty is due to the genius of the translator or to Pope Benedict himself or even to the alleged ghostwriters of this document (many remarked that Veritas in Caritate is sooo un-Benedict.), I don’t know. All I know is that omong these “pop-culture” savvy lingo that found a usage in the newest encyclical, my personal favorite is the word “breathing-space.” The term, breathing-space is found at least four times in the document: on numbers 3, 11, 20 and the fourth one, it just eludes me right now. But it’s right there, look for it. Veritas in Caritate (VC) # 3 spoke of how “truth frees charity from fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing space”. VC # 11 reports that “without the perspective of eternal life, human progress in this world is denied breathing-space.” Then, CV # 20 tells us how “the perspective of charity of Christ remains fundamental in giving breathing-space to our comitment for the development of the people.” Again, the fourth mention of breathing-space, ikaw na ang maghanap. Andyan lang yan, pramis.
Now the word “breathing-space” may not perfectly put into nutshell the social message of the Pope, but ican very well be the Holy Father’s one-word critique to the whole world today. By this word, breathing-space, itcan be conjectured that the world today seemed more and more deprived of its natural function of breathing, that is, breathing in every sense of the word. Which means that we are being stifled, held by the neck, strangled, asphixated, not just environmentally, physically or economically, but culturally, morally and spiritually as well. To breathe without restraint is one of the most basic freedom of every human being, with the breath, the biblical “ruah” as the primordial gift of God to mankind in the book of Genesis. Thus, to give humankind a space for breathing is to allow the Spirit of God to work in us, as we pursue our paths to progress. Bringing back the much needed breathing-space in our modernity is a call for us not to stifle or strangle the Gospel values of truth and charity, in the name of economic development. The pope’s demand for a “breathing-space” is a rallying message that global progress does not consists only of tehcnology, commercial wealth and financial wizardry, but rather it has on its very heart, the welfare of humanity, the living and breathing humanity, which must wholistically benefit from such modernity, and at the same breath (no pun intended), be inspired by the Holy Spirit, who breathes through the two nostrils of truth and charity.
In Caritas in Veritate # 77, Pope Benedict XVI is telling us, “In every truth, there is something more than we woudl have expected; in love, there is always an element that surprises us. We should never cease to marvel.” This is an invitation for us to learn how to gasp in awe and wonder in God’s continous creation despite all the scientific learning and economic progress we have acquired. True to the Second Vatican Council’s tradition of “letting the fresh air in the Church,” the Holy Father is calling us to always reserve a big breathing space for humanity, for the Spirit to work on, that whatever progress we may have attained, it be always geared up towards the sanctity and wholeness of the human person, turhtfully and lovingly on its way towards the Kingdom.
* * * * *
At syempreds, ang ating stainglass window of the day ay ito:
Ito ay isang stained glass window sa Chapel de Notre Dame de l’Assomption ng La Salle en Beaumont, sa parokya namin sa La Mure, France. Ito ay nagdedepict ng passion ni Christ. Modern-modernan ang istilo dahil sobrang modern din ang simbahan na ito.
In fact, eto ang altar nya.
at eto naman ang modern rendition nila ng Blessed Mother:
Gawa ang estatwang yan sa isang tipak ng kahoy. Teka, at eto nga pala ang labas ng chapel: