MANILA, Sept. 9, 2013—With influences of secularism hounding the quality of human relationships throughout the years, a high-ranking church official on Saturday urged the faithful to foster stronger ties with each other by gathering as a “community of humankind” that interrelates with the whole of Divine creation.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle noted the growing interdependence among people and urged them not to settle with the establishment of superficial bond with others and instead strive to anchor their relationships to a deep interpersonal level.
“The sign of the times shows the growing interdependence among people…It is clear that there is no single person, family, neighborhood, and even country that is detached or separated from the whole of creation,” Tagle said in his talk during the monthly Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS) held at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School.
“We could not claim that we don’t need others for we depend on them, and they, too, also depend on us,” he said in the vernacular.
Citing the Second Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes, Tagle pointed out the trend that dialogue among humans is getting more utilitarian as time passes by—merely settling on the levels of technology and commerce and fostering relationships only for the sake of benefitting something from the other.
“I am hoping that interdependence among people would go deeper than the exchange of goods and technology. Let us strive to anchor our personal dialogues to real interpersonal relationships—one that is rooted not from need but from the real connection that we establish with others,” he said.
Tagle said the faithful must fight the flourishing of utilitarian relationships for it merely bases the worth of humans from the benefit one is ought to get from the other.
“Nowadays, we base friendship according to what we will be gaining from the other person. Once we stop benefitting, we begin to deny them. In this trend, we can see that there is no personal relationship being established for we just tend to use each other,” he said.
Gift of oneself
“God has willed that all people shall constitute one family…He wants us to treat each other in the spirit of true brotherhood,” he said.
Tagle chided the prevailing trend wherein interaction between humans is being “mediated by goods and objects,” noting that total self-giving and not materialism is the way to strengthen human relationships.
“The gift does not have to be an object that can be bought by money or can be wrapped with lavish decorations. If we would resort to material things, we are just going back to relationships ruled by objects,” he said.
“We can simply achieve (the spirit of true brotherhood) by offering the sincere gift of oneself,” he added.
Once people learn to give themselves fully, the more they will be able to uncover who they truly are, Tagle noted.
“This is the mystery of the human person and that this how we must build our respective families,” he added.
The prelate also reminded the faithful to allot time for their loved ones despite the busy demands of their day-to-day living.
“Brought by our fast-paced living to attend to our work and other duties, do we still have time to give each other the gift of a caring presence?” he said.
Growth of political communities
Stressing the teachings of Gaudium et Spes, Tagle said that the development of the human person is not enough on its own as the growth of the political community also gives direct impact to the “growth of persons.”
“The development of the human person and the advancement of the society bear great influence to each other—progressing individuals contribute to the society while developing nations also contribute to the growth of individual persons,” he said.
Brought by this, he encouraged the laity to protect the image of the country against destructive issues by letting the virtue of integrity reign in their lives.
“Let us not do something that can destroy the reputation of Filipinos because there is a tendency for the flaw of one to be generalized as the flaw of all,” he said.
“Let us lift the honor of the Filipino. I hope that we would be able to establish an orderly political community. Once we are able to establish its dignity and honor, it will push and challenge us to be dignified,” he added.
Tagle urged the people to improve themselves not just for the sake of obtaining personal gains, but for the progress and improvement of all.
“The challenge is for us to improve ourselves through our own simple ways so we can contribute to the growth of our own respective families,” he said.
Pursuit of common good
Tagle said the people must promote the common good to give people from all walks of life equal access to basic needs and necessities for them to live comfortably.
“There are places wherein people rarely eat three times a day, but in other places, there are also those who have so much food that it just gets wasted. There are those who do not have access to housing, but there are also those who have so many houses that we can’t even count them with our fingers,” he said.
“Is this what we consider a family of humankind? While there are those who live in extreme abundance, there are others who are deeply marred in poverty, having literally nothing for themselves,” he added.
“How could others live comfortably while others are suffering from the wrath of poverty?” Tagle said.
The prelate urged the people to treat others the way they treat themselves to establish a more equitable situation where everyone benefits from growth that is inclusive of all sectors.
“Treat others not just as a brother or a sister. Treat them as another self, as another you. Maybe if we are able to do this, we can act toward successfully building a community of humankind,” he said.
“We should not exploit, take advantage, and belittle others. Whatever love we are giving to ourselves, we must also be willing to give others,” Tagle added. (Jennifer Orillaza)