MANILA, June 25, 2013—Often, people have a tendency to see ‘grace’ and ‘blessings’ as simply objects or material possessions received, says Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during the Centennial Mass of the College of the Holy Spirit Manila (CHSM) last June 20 at the CHSM Paraclete Auditorium.
Blessings are more than the material
Tagle talked about the ‘commoditization’ of blessings and how the working of grace is seen as limited to the sphere of the material, financial or physical.
On the contrary, he explained, “The Gospel tells us that the first gift of the Risen Lord from the Father is not an object, but a person, a Divine Person, the Holy Spirit.”
He went on to explain the formula of blessing given to Aaron through Moses, as it is written in the book of Numbers (cf. 6:26).
The capacity to smile, to hope
The phrase “the Lord bless you and keep you,” Tagle explained, refers to the Lord’s protection of His people from their enemies or from anyone who have malicious intentions to do harm or damage to them.
This safeguarding from danger is a blessing, Tagle stressed.
“The Lord let His face shine on you,” he said, points to another blessing, a great capacity for hope because of a closeness to God — something the Filipino faithful have in abundance.
He went on to describe how foreigners who go on immersion programs in poor communities in the country are fascinated by the poor’s light-heartedness despite their hardships.
“What startles [foreigners who come to visit the Philippines] all the more is to see among the poor the capacity to smile, the capacity to find hope,” added Cardinal Tagle.
Citing a foreigner’s insight, Tagle said, the poor probably smile a lot because “they have seen how God smiles.”
Lastly, he explained, the last component of the prayer, “The Lord look kindly upon you and give you peace,” invokes the compassion and gentleness of God Himself.
Tagle said, it is God’s kindness that gives us well-being and peace — something which the CHSM has enjoyed for the past one hundred years of its existence.
In closing, he challenged the CHSM community to share all the blessings it has received to others, being “true to the Holy Spirit”. [Mark Vertido/Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]