MANILA, July 10, 2013—With current trends of relativism and secularism hounding the present world, a Catholic bishop has called on the faithful to fight negative influences that harm the Catholic Church by turning to the Blessed Virgin Mary and asking for her intercession in their day-to-day living.
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, in his talk during the July session of the Marian Conference held at the San Carlos Seminary, said that separation from the Holy Mother leads to an undue crisis that pushes people away from God.
“Apathy, secularism, consumerism, and materialism…(these are manifestations that) we only think of the world around us. That is not good and it causes our behavior and goals to lead toward useless things. But when we think of the life of saints and of the Blessed Mother, we are thinking of a life that is real and eternal,” he said.
Arguelles noted this in relation to the eschatological nature of the Philippine church, which primarily pertains to being always united to the church in heaven.
“We are the Philippine church, but we are not isolated. We are united for we are always linked to the heavenly church…Many of us do not live wisely because we forget the eschatological dimension of our life and of the things that remain always,” he said.
The reason for celebrating the year of faith is to go back to the lessons taught by the Second Vatican Council and be converted by it, helping people to grow closer to God and not to be separated farther away from Him, Arguelles said.
“We have to critique our present life and the life to come. We have to live in hope that there is a future for all of us. We must prepare for it and we should live according to it,” he said,
Mary in the plan of salvation
Arguelles said that Mary plays an important role in fulfilling God’s plan for salvation, adding that she is led by the Holy Spirit to dedicate herself totally to the mystery of man’s redemption.
“Mary’s whole life was dedicated to save us. Her life is with Christ, placing it within the context of our salvation. We must also be like that, everything must be in Christ,” he said.
The prelate added that with the inseparable bond kept by the Blessed Virgin Mary to the sacred word of Christ, consecration to her leads us closer to the fulfillment of the promise of salvation.
“The fact that she was crowned queen of heaven and earth is a will of God. The glory of our mother is meant for all of us. That is how the Lord wants it to be…Where God is, that is where we should be,” Arguelles said.
He further noted that spiritual nourishment is attained by being “attached to the Blessed Mother and living by her ideals.”
“In her, the church holds up, admires the most excellent fruit of redemption, and joyfully contemplates it. In Mary, the fullness of redemption is revealed,” he added.
Arguelles further said that Mary’s notable impact is very effective in propagating Christianity not only to non-Catholics but to non-believers as well.
Through the Blessed Virgin Mother, the good news can be shared to other individuals who are also the children of God, he said.
Example of ideal faithful
The prelate noted that with the important role played by the Holy Mother in the mystery of salvation, she serves as the ideal example of a pious individual who has dedicated her life to the fulfillment of the church’s mission.
“She is the woman of faith, an example of the ideal faithful. We cannot avoid seeing Mary according to what Vatican II explains to us, which is the history of salvation,” he said.
With Mary described by Blessed John Paul II as the “star of new evangelization,” Arguelles urged the faithful to follow her deeds in receiving Christ and bringing Him closer to others.
“It is the Blessed Mother that is very active in us now. We can have no other leader because she is the one who was with Christ first. Receiving Christ will not be possible without the influence and help of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he said.
He recognized the faith possessed by simple people, who, despite lacking knowledge on high-level theological concepts, exhibit the purest and deepest devotion to the Holy Mother. He added that this kind of piety must be imitated by the laity to establish a lasting impact that may benefit mankind.
“Lay people, you have a role in the apostolate and in the holiness of the church. The Blessed Mother is the perfect example of how to be with Christ, be instruments of Christ, and work for Christ …All of us have to be Marian in all forms of power and in everything that we are invited to do,” Arguelles said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)