Reflections for the working soul
Gospel: John 16: 12-15
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”
God is family
By Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, DD
ONE OF the greatest values for a Filipino is family. Most of our countrymen are ready to take any suffering and sacrifice for the sake of the family. A great number of our compatriots leave the country and go through a lot of hardships and difficulties living and working in foreign lands just for the sake of the family. We can say then that in every drop of sweat and even at times blood dripping out of the Filipino worker, the love for the family is contained. Living in a family and for the family makes the person a being for others, not isolated and alone but connected with another person in the strongest bond, that is love. The greatest human need to love and be loved seem to be the ground for our being a family-oriented being.
However, there are indications which show that such love has to be purified and even raised up to a higher level, if not, to its highest. Sacrificing in doing one’s work in order to provide food and other needs of one’s children and family for selfish reasons like gaining control over the others, or even, to be assured of care love when getting sick or older-are selfish motivations for work. A more humanly fulfilling reason to work and submit oneself to the harsh demands of a job is to seek always the good and welfare of the others more than and above one’s comfort and convenience. The worker seems to forget his own self and see the other human being and gets so enthused and “in love” that he is so ready and willing to give all his strength and energy doing his job for the other. This kind of love for the others, for the family, is higher than selfish love and interest and is much closer to the love Jesus showed to humanity.
The highest kind of love that a human being is capable of showing is that of Jesus, loving till death, death on a cross. Loving like Jesus who loves His family, the Blessed Trinity. The worker, thorough a loving performance of his work, like Jesus, and united with Jesus in faith and love, becomes part of God’s family-the greatest motivation for one to do very well his job.
The family romanticized
By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
WHILE IT is true that Filipinos value the family, and that our family is the source of inspiration and the reason we endure travails at work, things should not end there. We must not romanticize “family” until it becomes no longer a reason but already an excuse for being unethical or immoral. True, Filipinos take pride in being good family men and women, in having close family ties, in having supportive extended families with us under one roof. As far as psycho-emotional health goes, we have a definite edge over those who value individualism over family-because family is always there for us, holding us afloat through trying times.
Love of family can also be perverted. Take for example a woman who goes into prostitution to support her family, or a man who augments his income through estafa to be able to afford luxuries for his family, a child persuaded by an elder to help the family finances by engaging in cybersex. Think nepotism, political dynasties, vendetta among warring tribes, and recall all the other crimes these mindsets have spawned-all in the name of family. Family is also a supreme value in the animal kingdom, and sometimes animals make even better family members than human beings in that the parents provide and protect their young fiercely and faithfully into self-sufficient adulthood. So how come human beings who are supposedly rational sometimes exploit their children, sell them to pedophiles, train them to burglarize homes, send them to the streets to beg?
When the Spirit of truth comes to guide us to all truth as Jesus has promised, we will do well to rely on His guidance to lead us to the truth that the ultimate parent in our family is God whom everyone in the family must learn to love with their whole being. This is not impossible, but may be done according to God’s plan through the nurturing of the Church, our mother. If we truly love our family, this is the way to go.
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