MANILA, June 2, 2013—A Catholic prelate on Saturday called on the faithful to transition their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary into ways that could straighten crooked ways and bring change to the country’s political, economic, and cultural landscapes.
Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, in the fourth Marian conference held at the San Carlos Seminary, noted the positive changes felt by a person bound by love, and urged the laity to translate those into measures that can pose beneficial changes to the society.
“Tayo ay isang bayang sumisinta kay Maria. Iniibig natin si Maria. Pero nagbago ba ang buhay natin? Ang economy, politics, at culture, nagbago ba dahil sa pagmamahal natin kay Maria?” Bacani said.
He compared the Marian devotion of the Filipino Catholic against eros, the romantic love felt by humans to their special someone, and noted that emotional changes brought by such love must be used for the benefit of the country.
“Kapag ikaw umibig, magbabago ka to be worthy of the one that you love. Kapag nagmahal ka, sisigla kang gumawa ng mabuti sa iba. Pero yung mga umiibig lang sa sarili, hindi babaguhin ang kapaligiran dahil wala silang pakialam sa mundo,” Bacani said.
PH problems remain unsolved
Just few weeks after the 2013 midterm polls, the prelate criticized the current state of Philippine politics, noting that the preponderance of vote-buying has gone worse and that politicians and citizens alike have not been effective agents of change.
“Ang politics ba ganyan na lang? Ngayon, sumulong ang vote-buying in an unprecedented rate. Every year, I get from priests everywhere na masahol pa than ever before ang vote-buying,” he said.
“When people choose, do they think of the common good? When people run for office, makakatulong kaya?” he added.
He challenged people to use their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary to be concerned citizens who will bring change to the current state of Philippine politics.
“Let us ask ourselves: Magbabago pa ba? Our devotion to Mary should lead to change us. Eventually, that change in ourselves will push us to change society,” Bacani said.” Hindi tinatag ang simbahan para baguhin ang lipunan, pero kapag ikaw ay pinasok ng Diyos, babaguhin mo rin ang lipunan.”
The priest also downplayed the reported 7.8 increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first quarter, noting that such statistical growth does not reach people at the grassroots level.
“There is 7.8 percent growth in the GDP but the percentage of poor remains the same. Sino nga ba ang kumikita kundi yung mga malalaki na ang kita. Yung mga walang kinikita, lalong walang nakikita. Hindi rin kasi sila nakikita,” Bacani said. “Kung nagmamahal talaga kayo kay Maria, Ganyan na lang ba tayo?”
“Maganda ang pagtaas ng ekonomiya. Pero ang dapat talaga, maramdaman ng mga maliliit na tao ang benefits nito. Kasi kung hindi, ang makikinabang ay yung mayayaman pa din,” he added.
In terms of culture, Bacani noted that Filipinos are becoming more secular over the years, as proven by current issues like the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law, divorce bill, same-sex marriage, and other simple manifestations such as having a liberated lifestyle.
Act as true lovers of Mary
Bacani urged the faithful to use their Marian devotion to transform these societal ills into positive changes that would benefit the deprived and exploited majority.
“Sana masabi sa ating,nagbago tayo dahil in love tayo kay Mary. Kung mahal mo talaga ang Mahal na Birhen, magbabago ka. At babaguhin mo ang ugali mo. Tutulungan mong magbago ang mga tao,” he said.
“Let our devotion, starting in the coming consecration, signal this change. Ibigay ang sarili sa Mahal na Birhen upang kanya tayong maibigay sa Panginoong Hesukristo ng buong-buo,” Bacani added.
The prelate noted that with majority of the country’s population being Catholic, evil can be greatly reduced if only they will submit themselves to Divine will.
“Kapag tinotoo ang consecration, the backbone of evil will be broken. Eighty percent of the Philippines is Catholic. Can you imagine if even half of those consecrate themselves truly to Mary?” he said, urging the laity to be true to their Marian devotion.
“Let us act as true lovers and devotees of Mary. The best way to show devotion to the Blessed Mother is to imitate her,” the bishop added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)