What would you consider as the top three Christian values that the Filipinos have shown during this crisis?
Crises reveal character. If there’s a notable event that comes out of the furnace of a tough time, that’s the uncovering of character – both good and unpleasant. There are notable Christian values worth highlighting common among Filipinos, which make us stand out. Here are top three:
Charity – the world will know that we are His followers if we love one another. Charity was the hinge by which everything hung in difficult times. Charity saved us in our helpless estate, and charity is our response to a world in need. Filipinos experienced God’s love, so many took the initiative to mirror that love to others. Each, according to their gift, imparted practical ways to help. When our nation’s economic activity plunged, the poor had a more difficult life. When their everyday sustenance depended on their no-work-no-pay livelihood, their food for the coming day loomed more uncertain. I was inspired by seeing people distributing sacks of rice, packs of meals, and grocery items, just to selflessly help our nation survive another day. Some didn’t even want to be recognized or named. The social media savviness of Filipinos flourished by collaborating to help the poor. We decided to share our essential goods with strangers when we don’t even know what to eat the next day – I don’t know what you call it if that’s not charity. As apostle Paul said, “Faith, hope, and charity, but the greatest of these is charity.”
Resilience – we have the ability to rise up when we fall down. “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up eight.” Resilience is a Christian virtue that fortunately permeated the fabric of our culture. Being in the circum-pacific ring of fire, this circumstance makes our country vulnerable to calamities such as volcano eruptions and tropical storms. With literal storms crushing our shores yearly, and figurative ones bombarding us each day, we as a community learned to hone our tools for resilience, to wit: To contextualize the Bayanihan spirit; To prioritize family-centric practices; to smile in the face of the storms. The emblem of Masskara Festival has never been so needed in times like these – it was a very dragging journey, but one thing that hoisted us was the capacity to find joy in our circumstances. Qualities include positive outlook, emotional regulation, and clinging to the unseen hope with the eyes of faith.
Joy – it’s critical to find something that won’t change your disposition despite what’s happening in the surroundings. This is the essence of joy: to rely upon an unshakeable reality that makes your confidence absolutely firm. I saw anxiety, I saw fear, I saw anger in the faces of our fellowmen, but beyond all, I saw joy – the capacity to delight in whatever circumstances. I saw the barangay minivan distributing 3 kilos of rice and 2 pieces of canned sardines, and I witnessed how people were so grateful to receive them. In others, you will be met with ingratitude but I believe joy and contentment are at our core. In the midst of life’s storms, it’s a great Christian virtue. After all, God’s 10th commandment deals with our greatest need – contentment. How can we have that? Only if believe His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
As a promising law student, how would you be able to help others during this crisis?
As a promising law student, I would be able to help others by the capacity that He gives me. And that capacity is not to elevate myself, but to elevate His glory and find joy among ourselves. What defines our happiness should not be what I get, but what I give. Christ Himself said, it is better to give than to receive. I also believe that God blesses us so we can bless others. I know that He blessed me so I can let His light shine. And the way I can help others is by sharing those gifts he entrusted to me as a steward. First, financially: I can help through monetary means by the wages I receive from my job. Second, through service. As a digital marketer, I support the spread of reliable information and the curtailment of falsehood. Third, as a Christian, I emphasize that all these crises, including our material possessions, are temporary and they are a form of tests that would affect our eternal dispositions. Therefore, I should ask myself what part of me can I sacrifice for the greater good? What words can I say so I can comfort those who are suffering the temporal trials of this life? Above all, His gospel is our ultimate comfort.