‘Pinoy interconnectedness’ solution to poverty

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MAKATI City, May 9, 2015— “Kapatid.” “Kabiyak ng puso.” “Kabagang.”

These relational terms point to the distinctly Filipino perception that, says a priest, is possibly the solution to poverty.

Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner, Dominican Prior Provincial and member of the International Theological Commission (ICT), asserts virtuous poverty can help stamp out the kind of poverty that results from human iniquity by living out a culture of "bahaginan" or sharing and living simply. (Photo: Raymond A. Sebastián)

According to Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, Prior Provincial of the Order of Preachers (O.P.) in the Philippines, Filipinos are culturally-wired to see others as essentially part of themselves and are thus, called to live out “bahaginan” or sharing.

During the recent First Saturday Marian Conference on May 2, held at San Carlos Seminary, he said the evangelical counsel invites all Filipinos to reexamine their culture, and to see this value as a “concrete cultural expression on how to live evangelical poverty in the country.”

Reminding the audience of the wealth of the native vocabulary, the Dominican noted how certain relational terms point to the innateness of sharing among Filipinos, with colorful words like “(kap)utol,” “kaut-utang-dila,” and “kabagang,” proving that they subconsciously view other persons, especially family members, neither as mere outsiders nor as strangers, but as integrally part (“bahagi ng katawan/pagkatao”) of themselves.

One Father in heaven

Timoner said it is important for the faithful to recapture this attitude of self-giving, and to see other people, irrespective of blood relations, as brothers and sisters, as sharers in the same umbilical cord (“kapatid, kaputol ng pusod”), in as much as they all have One Father in heaven.

“When we pray the Our Father, we acknowledge that there is One Father in heaven. And this Father in heaven is the Author of heaven and earth, of all created reality. If we have truly One Father who is in heaven, then we are brothers and sisters to one another. How come we do not treat one another as real brothers and sisters?” he asked.

According to the member of the prestigious International Theological Commission (ITC), the Divine and generous Providence of God is grossly offended when His children “go hungry in a fruitful world, go naked in a world filled with all kinds of materials for clothing.”

Blessing not curse

While Jesus became poor, as God, He was originally not poor, opting for a life of poverty so that His creatures would become “rich.”

Timoner also discussed how the evangelical counsel of poverty he referred to as a blessing offers a Bible-based solution to help root out poverty as a “curse” resulting from human iniquity.

“The evangelical counsel of poverty is the Christian solution to poverty. Poverty as blessing is the antidote to poverty as curse,” he declared.

God’s children

“When we were baptized we became God’s children. Even before baptism we were already God’s children. We are God’s children. So how come there are so many among us who live lives that seem to be beneath that dignity,” he added.

The priest also blasted how popular culture, particularly movies, often romanticize poverty as though it is something desirable in itself. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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