MANILA, Sept. 25, 2013—A high-ranking official of the Catholic Church on Saturday emphasized the importance of sacrifice in the life of the faithful, noting that it is only through living a life suffering that true happiness and fulfillment may be achieved.
Former Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said that sacrifice combined with self-renewal is needed to rightfully take up one’s cross and deal with the sufferings and challenges brought by one’s day-to-day living.
“No one will be truly happy without suffering, sacrificing, and dying out from evil. Once you have gone through all these, it is only then that you will be led toward a renewed life,” Rosales said in the vernacular during the Katolikong Pinoy recollection held at the San Carlos Seminary.
The failure to follow the path set forth by Christ is the primary reason why Filipinos remain confounded by the same societal issues and concerns every now and then, Rosales said.
“The reason why we do not progress as a nation is because we do not follow the rules given by Jesus. We have never really progressed because we have not fully treaded the path Jesus showed us,” he said.
“Do you want a better Philippines? I hope our leaders would lead us toward a vision that will make us a better country. And I am also hoping that the media would do the same by focusing on the good news instead of the opposite because that is evangelization—there is good news even after your sins and my sins put together,” Rosales said.
‘Die to what is evil’
The 81-year-old prelate also noted that taking up one’s cross should not be done hastily for one has to go through “the process of suffering, dying to what is evil, and rising to new life” to successfully follow the path treaded by Christ in saving humanity from sin.
“The cross does not end in sacrifice and death. Rather, it leads us to a renewed lifestyle, to a renewed way of life,” Rosales said.
Noting the hardships people are bound to face for taking up their cross, he urged the faithful to be stronger in facing the odds that might come their way.
“(A sacrificial life) is easy to describe and discuss, but difficult to put into life because (once you commit yourself to it), you are going to make sacrifices, bear sufferings, and ultimately, witness death,” he said.
He also chided individuals who live in abundance, adding that wealth and riches are meant to be shared to those who are needy.
“(Following this), some people have to die to riches. What are they planning to do with lots of money? Where are they planning to bring those? To Christ? Die to death. Know that God is giving this to you because He trusts that you will share it with others,” Rosales noted.
He also urged the faithful to always believe that Christ accompanies them in every step of the way as they choose to face and carry their burdens in life.
“Sacrifice and endurance are important. Remember that in the path of goodness, God is always guiding us. In Jesus Christ, we are encouraged to do this. He is always with us, not only to teach us, but to carry us throughout the journey,” he added.
Dwelling on the past and lingering to previous mistakes must also be avoided so the faithful may succeed in living a renewed life, Rosales noted.
“We do not progress because we are stuck remembering mistakes and putting the blame to someone,” he said. “Don’t look at the past. Does Christ want us to be always reminded of our sinful beginnings?”
“Let it fall, let it die, let it rot. You have to suffer and endure for if there is no pain, there is also no gain. Life is not only defined by the meaning of sacrifice, but of its importance as well,” Rosales noted.
Sinners are loved
With the church celebrating the Feast of St. Matthew (tax collector) on the same day, Rosales stressed that sinners must not feel inferior for Christ is always willing to forgive those who are seeking repentance from their mistakes.
“You are all the more loved by Christ if you are sinful. We do not need to focus on the mistake, rather what we have to focus on is the fact that we are loved by God,” he said.
“There are those who emphasize their sinful past. But do not fear as the Lord loves those who are in great need,” he added.
Noting that sins play an important role in the life of humans, Rosales said it is through the mistakes committed in the past that the faithful are introduced to the forgiving nature of the Divine.
“If there is no sin, we would not know Christ the way we know Him at present. We would have to rewrite theology,” he said. (Jennifer Orillaza)