August 24, 2014 Leave a comment
No Michael, please do not. It is just how we Filipinos are. We are at times so “Christ-like” [a nation of saints as Pope Francis reportedly said to Card. Chito T.] to the point that we are able to live in contradictions often forgetful and forgetting that the Jesus on the Cross and at the Temple were one and the same–the only difference, perhaps we have failed to realize, was the kind of persons our Lord encountered in the two events.
Even Father Thomas Green,SJ wondered how we can have images of the Christ on our jeepneys side by side with images of nudity. And yet he (a Buffalo, New York boy!) stayed in the Philippines and the Ateneo, living in the same room at the San Jose Seminary for, I do not remember now, how many decades.
I wish I can ask him now why he stayed, how this deeply spiritual man, this saint of our times, was able to take it all in. He was even the retreat guide of our much-maligned former Pres. GMA when she was discerning whether or not to run for vice president.
But, I think I know the answer. It lied in his view of God, our God. He is the Lord of History (as described by Rizal [an Atenean!] in the last chapter of El Fili, (which Fr. Schumacher, SJ in one of his “making of the nation” essays suggested that Filipinos of Rizal’s time were not able to read before our people’s 1896 Revolution was launched). This was the Lord that fr. green alluded to, again and again, in his sermons, his writings, his classes (even in Philo of language and science!) and his conversations: always personal, always caring, always fatherly, always keeping us, His People, in His Heart.
Last year I’ve heard you speak in the Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium symposium and i said to myself, the Ateneo and its students are lucky to have this teacher (and Leland dela Cruz, too) among its faculty ranks. i haven’t met you in person but you may be the Ferriols, the Lahiff, the Leonard of this generation of Ateneans albeit, deceivingly, in a laity’s garb.
Note: My heavily edited response to Ateneo de Manila’s Theology teacher who was scandalized by the school’s inviting and welcoming Imelda Marcos in one of its activities.