Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Faith . . . system and people . . .

Those are from two articles: (a) Faith alone is not enough [Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD, Manila Bulletin, 4th Oct 2013] and (b) System and people change requires time [Federico D. Pascual, Jr., The Philippine Star, 8th Oct]. It is important for Juan de la Cruz to recognize those realities so that we don’t prematurely celebrate the enviable run of our economy over the last several quarters? And as this blog has consistently raised, international institutions have in fact figured that it would take us at least a generation to approximate a developed economy; and in the meantime, we must recognize the imperative of focusing on “the vital few” – and it starts with basic infrastructure, i.e., if we are to have a prayer in establishing a vibrant industrial base like the seven industry winners proposed by the JFC.
In any case, “staying in the moment” is the secret to a stress-free day? It is also the secret of a Malaysian friend, practically a scratch golfer, who cleaned up a bunch of Americans he met on a golf course in South Carolina. But it is also the secret of care-givers, apparently, especially those attending to dying people in hospices. And it is what compassion is about (i.e., it has no connection to outcomes) as explained in a TED Talk that my wife shared with me. [She knows that in my consulting in Eastern Europe, where I insist on transparency, I am committed to outcomes, the object being to create and spread wealth. Economic development demands it as well in a bigger scale?] And does compassion explain why we Pinoys are a happy people – and proud of our resiliency? And not surprisingly, we support efforts like GK, CCT, CSR and even comprehensive land reform – i.e., they all demand compassion yet haven’t made a dent on PHL poverty?
Wrote Fr. San Luis: “Our Lord replies, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be uprooted…and it would obey you” (Lk 17:5). That does not mean faith will give us power to move trees literally. But faith will give us power to COPE with difficulties and obstacles, and not lose hope . . . But faith or trust in God alone is NOT ENOUGH. As much as we must implore God’s help in crisis situations so must we do our part. Remember the oft-quoted saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? When people come to me asking me to bless their cars, I tell them: “My blessing is good only up to 90 kilometers per hour; what’s beyond that is your responsibility.” Obviously that’s just a joke. Indeed, even if I pour a drum of holy water on your vehicle, if you’re reckless in driving, my blessing won’t work. Maybe we should pour the holy water on the driver! That’s true also in solving our national problems. We may be a prayerful people but if our leaders think only of their vested interests or keep on plundering government funds, we will not prosper as we should.”
And from Federico D. Pascual, Jr. “Walk the city streets. Drive on EDSA or in the “looban”. Buy foodstuff in a public market. See where your meager wage goes. Monitor the news, mostly about corruption and violence.… Something’s terribly wrong. Mr. President, Sir, what’s happening to our country? The nation seems to be breaking into pieces, and we are going nowhere. We feel having been left to fend for ourselves. “Kanya-kanya na ba”? It seems we cannot even trust many of our officials, our leaders. It is obvious that the country is not being managed well enough. And, we must admit, all of us are to blame.”
“CHANGE NEEDED: Before the situation spins out of control, somebody — logically the President, the father of the nation — should do something fast and drastic. But what to do? No need for another costly research . . . From my vantage, I see a gathering consensus for both System Change and People Change. The ill-fitting political system lifted from the American model is not conducive to good governance in a Filipino setting. And then, we the people need re-education. But while effecting System Change and People Change is long-term, our problem calls for immediate attention. The patient on the operating table cannot wait.”
“CHARTER CHANGE: Unfortunately, pursuing System Change and People Change appears to be beyond the competence of an administration that is still improvising with only less than three years left of its term. In fact, its critics say that the Aquino administration itself is part of the problem — that it carries and spreads the very germs of the corruptive disease it is trying to cure. The move to amend the Constitution is trapped in the stalemate between the status quo groups, who benefit from the system, and the reformist, some of them radical, sectors.”
Is it high time for Juan de la Cruz to own up – precisely what Francis wants from the Vatican?

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