AFTER the destructive typhoon Ondoy that hit Manila and Central Luzon, and with still on-going work of compassion and rehabilitation, we are warned by the news of possibly stronger typhoons in the coming days or weeks. We are still facing a litany of storms, according to Pag-asa.
We are impelled to pray that the Lord save our country from further calamities due to typhoons, floods, drought, volcanic eruption and other calamities occurring in increasing number and intensity.
In this month of October especially, we recommend that the Rosary be prayed by individuals or by families or by communities in parishes for the above intention as well as other intentions. Our countrymen, still reeling in physical anguish and emotional distress, which many of them hide in their smiles and sense of humor, need also to be prayed for.
With the World Apostolate of Fatima and the Apostleship of Prayer and other religious (“praying”) organizations, we appeal not only for material assistance for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy, but also for prayer, repentance and penance. I have just been from an Asian Meeting of the World Apostolate of Fatima in Seoul, Korea. From the messages of Fatima, it seems there is some deep connection between moral evils (the “reign of sin”) and the calamities that descend on a people. Our Lady of Fatima’s exhortation to prayer includes the threefold cry “Penance, Penance, Penance,” which echoes the message of Jesus “Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mk. 1/15).
Then Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, had said “The heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of everykind.” Typhoons also, and floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are an invitation for opening our hearts to God. “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart: I have overcome the world” (Jo. 16/33). The hope-filled message of Fatima invites us to trust in her Son’s promise.
In the destruction wrought by typhoons, we must see not so much God “lifting His hand to punish” but moral evil having its “trail of harm and ruin” because we have destroyed God’s world.
We are challenged to open our hearts to God’s warning signs. Should we not at least ask ourselves if all the corruption and lies, the loss of integrity and the mounting “destruction of morality and moral values” (cf. Chief Justice Puno and Senator Salonga) in the present government and the present calamities: is there a connection? Is God not giving us “hints” regarding the future and even the coming elections? Nagtatanong lang kami! We do not have the answer! That is why let us also pray!
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
Archbishop of Jaro