Saturday, August 31, 2013

Scouting is most relevant today

THIS may sound a bit childish, but it’s true—scouting is still most
relevant today. Its motto of “Be prepared” is an ideal that has to be
pursued by everyone. Not only the small boys and girls, but also and
especially the old ones, harried already by life’s many trials and
challenges, should be most concerned to live by it.

    Its call for us to be “physically strong, mentally awake, and morally
straight” continues to ring with urgency. That’s because many now are
the factors and conditions that tend to make us physically soft and
weak, mentally asleep or lethargic, and morally askew.

    Many of us now lead a sedentary life. Even the young ones, who are
supposed to be out there doing all sorts of things, are becoming couch
potatoes, hooked to TV and the internet, and hardening in their

    With such predicament, it’s not hard to imagine the kind of
consequences that can follow. Idleness and self-centeredness lead to
moral aberrations, starting with the hidden and personal ones, and
later on, becoming more visible and social and even cultural.

    Learning from the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were
foolish and the five sensible (cfr Mt 25,1-13), we need to put a stop
to this, and be quick to recognize the many signs that point to this

    Reading the signs of the times is, in fact, now an indispensable
component in our abiding duty to be watchful and prudent in life. It
makes us see things behind the appearances, trying to figure out the
causes and conditions that bring about certain situations.

It also gives us an idea of the direction and trend these situations
are heading. We should not just be reactive, but also proactive. We
should not just blindly flow with the tide, but rather be discerning,
anticipative and capable of directing the course of events.

For this, we can always rely on our common sense and the rich and
growing contributions from the ever-evolving human sciences and arts.
Thanks to God, with our modern technologies, these scientific and
artistic inputs are now very accessible to us.

But we need to realize that the ultimate guide for us to read the
signs of the times properly is our Christian faith. Coming from God,
revealed in full in Christ and now authoritatively and vitally
articulated and taught in the Church, our faith holds the final say on
what is right and wrong in things, what is good and evil.

Our faith is the ultimate oil that keeps the light we need in our
earthly journey toward our definitive destination beyond death. It is
what gives the proper meaning, value and place to everything that we
have to deal with in this life. It is what brings us to heaven.

It is the faith that gives us a sense of transcendence, reminding us
that our life is not just earthly but also has a celestial end, not
just material and temporal but also spiritual and eternal, not just
mundane but also sacred, not just natural but also supernatural. Too
often, our problem is that our vision is life is narrow, shallow and

    The prudential act of the five sensible virgins of bringing oil for
their journey to meet the groom can be understood as our duty to study
the doctrine of our faith thoroughly, making it flesh of our flesh,
and the criteria by which we see and assess persons and events in our

    It’s a pity that many of us still take our Christian faith very
lightly. Some have even gone to the extent of rejecting it,
considering it as irrelevant, impractical or impracticable. Others are
ashamed to show and much less defend their faith in public.

    We need to correct this anomaly. It is not, of course, a matter of
being triumphalistic about our faith. If we have to follow Christ, we
would know how to live it also with naturalness, without behaving is a
strange way.

    But, yes, we have to be thoroughly consistent with it, whether in
season or out of season. Like the five sensible virgins, they just
brought oil even if in the end it may not be needed.

    This is what the scouting motto of “Be prepared” is all about. It’s
about being ready for any eventuality, looking ahead and equipping
ourselves accordingly.

    May this skill and art of reading the signs of the times be an
integral part of our life of preparedness. It is most needed these
days and. in fact, always.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Our life is also supernatural

WE should not doubt about this. Our life is not simply natural, ruled by reason and will alone, supported by our emotions, memory, imagination and the whole gamut of bodily senses, organs and systems.

            Nor is it simply conditioned by social trends, economic and political developments, or historical and cultural factors. 

            It is also supernatural, not only in its goal or orientation, but even now, as in, here and now as we breathe. And that’s simply because there’s something spiritual in us. We are not purely material beings. 

            Our spirituality, which is found in the way we think, desire, use our will and exercise our freedom, etc., cannot but flow from God, its creator, and tend toward him, its proper end. It has that potentiality which is actualized first of all by God’s grace, which is given to us in abundance, and also by our cooperation.

            We have to be more aware of the spiritual and supernatural character of our life, and learn how to develop and live it as best as we can, always with God’s grace. But sad to say, to a large extent, we have been neglecting this duty.

            To be sure, while there will always be some moments of tension and awkwardness in carrying out this duty of taking care of our spiritual and supernatural life, we should realize more deeply that the spiritual does not contradict the material in us, nor the supernatural annul the natural in us.

            They can go together as they are supposed to be, the former actually giving the proper life and perfection to the latter. Our spiritual soul animates our body to make it human and not just animalistic, and the supernatural dimension purifies and elevates our nature, so that not only would we be thinking persons but also God’s children, intimately sharing the life of God.

            Obviously, these truths are not simply natural truths but also supernatural truths that need to be appreciated through faith. Thus, we need to exercise our faith more, so that we can be more aware of them and start to act on them.

            The supernatural life is a life of faith, hope and charity, virtues that actually are given to us freely and in abundance, but which we have to develop. They come to us, in a manner of speaking, in seed form. We have the duty to nurture them to their fullness.

            Let’s hope that we can be more determined to take this duty more seriously, cultivating the necessary attitude and picking up the pertinent practices to sustain this supernatural life from hereon.

            We have need to learn to pray, to study the doctrine of our faith, develop virtues, live in God’s presence to such an extent that we would be able to see God in everything and to relate everything to him. In other words, that we would know how to be contemplatives even if we are immersed and dirtied by the things of this world.

            We need to have recourse to the sacraments, especially that of the Holy Eucharist, because the sacraments are the ordinary channels through which God’s grace comes to us. How wonderful if we get to understand the true significance of the sacraments which are the effective signs of Christ’s continuing presence and redemptive work among us! 

            In other words, we have to develop a certain unity of life that is founded on the truth that our life is supernatural, and not just natural. We have to learn how to blend prayer with action, the sacred with the mundane, the spiritual with the material, the eternal with the temporal, etc.

            Our consciousness and outlook should not just be natural, but also supernatural. We have to follow what St. Paul once indicated. “As we have borne the image of the earthly, let us bear also the image of the heavenly.” (1 Cor 15,48) We have to learn how to keep our mind and heart in heaven even while our feet are firmly rooted on the ground.

            Let’s hope that from everyone’s serious effort to cultivate this supernatural life, we can develop a culture that is infused with a supernatural ethos. This might sound quixotic at the moment, but let’s continue to be hopeful and to persevere in working it out.

            If now we are enjoying some technological marvels that were deemed impossible some years ago, we should also entertain the hope that what may seem unreachable insofar as the supernatural life is concerned, will, with God’s grace and our cooperation, become a breathing reality among us.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let’s also be forceful

WE need to remind ourselves that there’s also such a thing as righteous anger, a certain outrage driven by love that knows how to defend the truth in charity, that knows how to distinguish between the error that has to be condemned and the person in error who has to be loved.

            We should not be afraid to enter into that mode when necessary. In fact, many times these days, with all the complicated challenges we’re having, that mode is becoming increasingly relevant and urgent! So, let’s train ourselves in this tricky aspect of our life. Let’s learn how to complicate our lives also, but in the good sense.

            We should not shy away from these possible occasions when we have to be angry and to apply some force. Christian life, of course, is a life of joy and peace, but neither is it blind to the need for struggle and war, since Christian joy and peace can only be achieved at the expense of some war, a war of love.

            Christ himself gives us a graphic example of this kind of rage in a number of occasions. At one time, he forcefully drove away vendors who turned the temple into a market place. In another, he castigated certain people for their stubbornness and for their hypocrisy.

            While he was furious, we could always see that his anger was not just an outburst of blind emotions. They were shown to bring out very important truths that just cannot be trampled upon for long and with impunity.

            These usually are truths that have been distorted not just once but many times, to such an extent that the distortion has hardened and has become some kind of stable feature of the people’s culture. They have corrupted the different systems of society.

            On another occasion, Christ tells us very clearly that “from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent bear it away,” (Mt 11,12).

            This shows us that we just cannot be sitting pretty, scratching our belly, being complacent and cavalier about things, and expecting that we get to heaven. We need to struggle, and even to wage war against the enemies of God and of our soul, for enemies there are and they do have also their powers and wiles.

            That’s why Christ tells us to be “shrewd like serpents, but simple like doves.” We have to learn to read the signs of the times, aware of what’s right and wrong in any given situation, and come up with an appropriate strategy to promote and defend truth, charity and justice that ultimately can be found only in God.

            Our ideas of truth, charity and justice cannot hold water unless God is in the core of them. Without God, we would just be left to our own devices, and while that set-up can give us some good and benefit, it cannot last long and cannot answer all the questions we will have nor definitively resolve all the issues that we will encounter.

            There’s a great need to study and master the doctrine of our faith, so we can articulate the will and the ways of God relevant to a specific situation in a most convincing way. In this, of course, a lot of effort, often thankless, is needed. In this area, we have to go beyond the sophomoric stage and make ourselves real experts, but always in God.

            We also need to exercise some force because the very process of growth, be it physical and especially spiritual and moral, would always require some forcefulness. The virtues, for example, just cannot come to us without persevering effort. Our skill at praying and sacrificing just cannot come without great effort.

            Besides, the continuing need for apostolate, of bringing God to men and vice-versa, certainly requires energy and a burning zeal. In one parable of the gospel, Christ even talks about a certain holy coercion in his desire to bring people to heaven.

            This is the parable of the “compelle intrare,” where the master told the servant: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Lk 14,23)

            For sure, this holy coercion is not a matter of physical force, trampling on the freedom of people, but rather a matter of an abundance of doctrine, of affection, of patience and understanding.

            In this challenge of the new evangelization that the present and previous Popes have been talking about, there’s this need for this kind of holy coercion.         

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why the narrow gate?

WHY be a killjoy? Why be a wet blanket? Why not enjoy as much as you can all the fun and the perks in life, be it because of your status, your position, your fame and talent, your wealth, etc.?

            Why? Because Christ said so. We have to enter by the narrow gate, he said long time ago, because the wide gate which, by the way, attracts a lot of people, leads us to perdition, while the narrow leads us to our true joy and fulfilment.

            This is not supposed to be a breaking news, but now, with all the screaming scandal revolving around some pork barrel, it seems this gospel truth is in urgent need to break into people’s consciousness, politicians’ especially.

            We have to shout it out in all corners, especially now when the people are simply dumb struck by the enormity of the deceit and stupidity some senators, congressmen and other public officials have been pulling on us for years.

            We have to explain why this doctrine is necessary for us. It admittedly is not a very popular doctrine, but it should be made so. And we can take this time when we wallowing in some national crisis to make this doctrine more known, appreciated and lived.

            Entering by the narrow gate is not meant simply to make our life hard, though certain hardships and self-denials are involved. Much less is it meant to go against our nature and basic needs.

Quite the contrary. Rather, it’s meant to make us happy, to make us reach our true goal without getting distracted by false items along the way. It’s an act of genuine realism and prudence, given our wounded condition.

It’s meant to liberate us from the effects of sin that lead us to be self-centered and self-absorbed, to be narrow and shallow-minded, thinking only of the here and now without much consideration for the more precious things beyond. It’s meant to be a strong antidote to our tendency to easily get spoiled by the good things in life.

            We cannot get on with our life properly unless we enter by the narrow gate, that is to say, unless we live simplicity, restraint and moderation, transparency and austerity. These virtues make us see things more objectively and extensively, with our feet on the ground even as we realize we have a tremendous supernatural goal to pursue.

            We cannot get on with our life properly unless we continually fight against greed, lust and avarice that have no other way but to end in corruption and to feed it lavishly. These capital sins, like weeds, grow together with the good wheat we have our field of life. We need to uproot them as soon as they appear, lest they choke the good wheat.

            We are also told that when these weeds get to be too many and too dangerous to uproot without harming the good plants, we have to wait till harvest time. But yes, with prudence and much caution, we can still take them away little by little as we go along.

            We have to be always on guard against world forces that pressure us to be materialistic and consumeristic. It should be a daily duty for us to check if the material world is dominating us or not, using the appropriate criteria, like whether we still have the appetite to pray, to make sacrifices, to continually give ourselves to others in spite of tiredness and lack of resources, etc.

            We need to see to it that our spiritual life is continually on the go, is vibrant and eager to show itself in deeds and not just remaining in good intentions. We have to cultivate the relevant culture for this, since at the moment, we all seem to be at least cavalier only in this regard. In fact, we sometimes feel embarrassed to show the vitality of our spiritual life.

            This is what is meant by entering by the narrow gate, an affair that should not only be personal but rather also social and global. We have to assure ourselves that this culture and lifestyle will not jeopardize our economy. Rather it will make our economy develop properly, with genuine not false goals pursued and achieved.

            We have to realize more deeply that our life here on earth has always been a fight between good and evil. We ought not to be unaware of this truth, and much less, unprepared to tackle the implications and consequences of this truth. Entering by the narrow gate prepares us for this.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Boils down to holiness

“NO man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other, or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt 6,24)

            That’s quite clear. If we still have some traces of Christian faith left in us, we know that we have to choose God over any other god or idol that may catch our fancy, be it fame, lucre or worldly power.

            That’s why as to the current burning question of how to resolve our screaming national scandal of corruption in the high places of our government, there’s only one answer. And that is, that everything boils down to holiness.

            Without God, there can never be integrity and honesty, whether in one’s personal affairs or in the different levels of our collective life. Lies, deception, envy will fester when God is marginalized or, worse, ignored.

            That’s why, at the moment, what we can do is to pray hard and to appeal to everyone, especially those who are holding public office, that they be truly men and women of God, of prayer and sacrifice, whose desire to serve the people and the common good is undergirded by an abiding pursuit for holiness.

            It cannot be any other way. Reliance on our own will to be good and honest would be nice and, in fact, indispensable, but it will never be enough. All of us are weak, in spite of our strengths and assets in other areas. We all have feet of clay.

            Our resolve to be honest and fair, while fervent in the beginning, cannot be expected to remain so if not continually reinforced and renewed. This is a fact of life that is proven true over and over again all throughout the course of history.

            We need to engage our mind, will and heart actively with God, especially when we are dealing with our unavoidable and necessary mundane affairs like business and politics.

            Even those engaged officially in sacred duties, like bishops, priests and nuns, have to exert much effort to stay put with God because everyone knows that even if the office is already very holy, the temptations to play around with God can actually be greater, and the ways to fall into them, both overt and covert, are also plenty.

            We all have to sharpen our need for God, our hunger for his presence and the urge to follow his will and commandments to the last detail. This is actually everyone’s bounden duty. It’s never optional, though, obviously, we have to choose it freely. We should never dare to carry out any other duty unless this one is fixed first.

            We have to learn how to relate our temporal affairs to God, and even to see God in them. The relation between God, us and our worldly activities should develop through the dynamics of love. No other language can fit that role. Unless it’s love that drives us, we can never expect to remain sincere in our desire to serve the common good.

            The underlying problem we have is precisely this—that we don’t see God in our business and politics, that most often these activities are considered purely human affairs with God hardly having anything to do with them.

            Thus, one item that needs to be clarified urgently is the truth that the world and everything in it, minus its sins and its structures, both come and belong to God. God has placed us there to find, love and serve him. God is actually testing us to see if we also choose to correspond to his love for us, repaying love with love.

            It’s always a question of love which is the essence of holiness and of God himself. We need to develop a healthy love for the world too. That love would obviously include hatred for sin. Thus, this healthy love for the world involves the duty of purifying the world of its sins.

            If we only would have this attitude, then money need not be a Mammon with a whopping evil influence on us. Money can in fact be a very effective instrument for our love for God and for others. We would rescue money from the clutches of the evil one.

            We have to pray for deep and thorough conversion for everyone, and especially for our public officials, even as we try to sort out the mess to see how best we can be prudent in the use of public fund, given our wounded and weakened nature, prone to greed and corruption.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spirit of penance

TO be sure, our life is supposed to be happy one. And Christian life, much more so! That’s simply because in spite of the many challenges, difficulties and trials in life, we have been wired to find joy in any situation. Besides, for those who believe in God, we have the assurance that everything will be all right as long as we cooperate with him.

            But we should neither forget nor even underestimate the enormity of the challenges, difficulties and trials that can come our way, situations that can cause severe tension, at least, if not great suffering and pain that ends in death.

            Our Christian faith tells us that all our suffering and pain are due to sin. While in the beginning when the first man and first woman enjoyed immortality, complete integrity and impassibility, now with sin and its effects, we are certain to die, to face conflicts and contradictions, and to experience all kinds of suffering.

            These are the facts of life that we always have to bear in mind. But we have to reconcile it with another wonderful truth of faith, the Good News that is meant for all of us.

            And that is, that with the redemptive work of Christ, all these suffering and pain, which are summed up in Christ’s cross, are also now converted into our way of salvation and human and Christian perfection. As a liturgical prayer would have it, the tree of death is turned into a tree of life.

             We too can avail of this passage from death to life, from suffering to joy, if we unite ourselves with Christ. We ought to die with him to be able to rise also with him, for only in him is this transition from death to life possible.

            This dying with him is what may be described as the spirit of penance that we all should try our best to cultivate and develop. Christ, in speaking about this need for dying, alludes to the example of the grain of wheat.

            “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, of itself it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” (Jn 12,24-25) And he proceeds to invite everyone to follow him. “If any man ministers to me, let him follow me. Where I am, there also shall my minister be.” (Jn 12,26)

            We have to realize ever more deeply that this spirit of penance, this dying a little every day, is a crying need for us. This is because, in spite of our best intentions and best efforts, we cannot avoid to commit mistakes and sins both big and small,

            The very least that we can do is to say sorry to anyone to whom we may have caused some distress, no matter how slight. This practice, especially when it becomes habit, would lead us to realize that we need to say sorry ultimately to God who is always affected every time a mistake or sin is committed.

            To this practice of saying sorry should be the desire to make whatever atonement and reparation is necessary or even just convenient, if only to smoothen ruffled feelings and recover and strengthen strained relations with God and with others.

            This spirit of penance actually lightens our mind and heart, and paves the way for reconciliation. It greatly helps in building up joy and peace personally and socially. It’s truly a wonderful thing to have, though it needs to be better understood and appreciated.

            We should develop a culture of penance that should go beyond the motions we go through during Lent and especially during the Holy Week.  The spirit of penance has to be with us all the time, organically blended with our desire for happiness.

            We have to be wary of a demonic trick to picture our human aspiration for joy and peace as one without the Cross of Christ. That is pure and simple delusion. And yet many are falling for it.

            Let’s spread this Good News about our need for a spirit of penance. And let’s develop the appropriate practices that we should try to learn starting from the homes, then in schools, then in the places of work and even of our rest and recreation, etc.

            Let’s explode the myth that our true joy can be attained without the Cross. As a saint once said, our joy should have its roots in the shape of the Cross.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Humor and holiness

THESE two should go together. While it’s true that holiness necessarily involves suffering, and suffering all the way to the cross or martyrdom, it should never be forgotten that sanctification is a happy adventure.

            Unless sanctity is understood and lived this way, we would have serious reason to doubt whether one is really on the right track to his ultimate goal. Most likely, what would happen is that one is simply embarking on his own enterprise without the benefit of God’s protection, an anomaly that has to be remedied.

            Holiness is necessarily a project with God. In fact, it is God’s project first, before it is ours. All we have to do is to cooperate as freely and lovingly as possible, using all the powers and resources we have, powers and resources that also are provided for us by God.

            It’s in this context that sanctification can be described as something like a reality show. Reality shows are seemingly unscripted shows but actually have a lot of planning and programming put into them.

            The work of sanctification is the ultimate reality show where are all players in a life-long drama involved in a very suspenseful and mystery-laden drama, but with God in full control of the whole situation.

            Except that in this work of sanctification, the outcome is, as a legal jargon would have it, final and executory, with effects that will run for all eternity. There can be no more appeal to be made. Just the same, we should focus more on the fact that God is in full control of the whole situation, no matter how much we mess it up.

            He is the ultimate father who knows how to provide for his children, how to heal what is wounded, how to repair what is damaged. In the end, we are told that his mercy is forever.

            But again, in spite of that supreme goodness, with our freedom, with our capacity to misuse our freedom, we can manage to get God’s condemnation. So, we should also do our part properly. And this is no laughing matter.

            The need to integrate humor into our lifelong task of sanctification has to be understood on the basis of God’s unwavering love for us. We have no reason to plunge into deep worry and anxiety, since God will take care of everything, for as long as we at least don’t formally go against him.

            Yes, we can still commit mistakes and all kinds of sins even with our best intentions and efforts. But as long as we go back to him, everything will be just fine. Those sins and mistakes, in God’s providence, can also occasion bigger graces from God.

            We have to be cheerful all the way, deliberately training ourselves in this field, since with our human weakness and some adverse world conditions, we can easily be overcome by worry and anxiety.

            Cheerfulness, even in its form of naughty humor, has very salutary effects and advantages. It makes us see things better. It makes us more flexible and more able to handle varying situations.

            It gives us some space and distance from events so that we would be able to assess and judge things calmly and properly. And all this aside from its immediate effect of making everybody feel good, which is already a tremendous

            In the face of severe trials, joy expressed in wit and humor is a precious element to have. It can only show one’s deep trust and confidence in the providence of God. There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of. There’s the conviction that everything, including martyrdom, is an organic part of God’s saving plan for that person and for everyone else.

            A good example of a saint with a tremendous sense of humor is St. Thomas More. He was a renaissance man who knew how to pursue sanctity in the secular world. He liked to have so much fun that he kept a clown and a monkey in his house. He never had the sanctimonious air about him.

            He was cracking jokes all the time amid the serious work as Lord Chancellor of England. And when he was finally to be executed, he requested that he removed his beard from the chopping block since, according to him, it had nothing to do with the treason he was accused of committing.

            We need to cultivate our proper sense of humor as we go about our serious business of finding and loving God, and of serving others with our whole heart. After all, there’s always a happy ending if we believe and love God.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Saving childhood

ONE morning, while driving to work, I met a young mother with her
three kids in a street corner. The kids could have been between ages
three and ten. Each one of them was carrying a bunch of bananas in
varying amounts, with the mother having the biggest load on her head.

    I surmised they were vendors who were not street hawking but were
delivering the goods to different houses. I had to stop the car to get
a close look at them. I was moved to pray and interiorly throw praises
at them. They looked happy, and I thought a certain spirit united them
to find joy in their work. It was truly a blessed sight.

    Though I also thought that the children were too young to be doing
that work, I found consolation in the observation that they were all
smiling and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I was not too worried
about their childhood being wasted and needing to be saved. They all
looked fine. The mother seemed to have done a good job with her kids.

    Truth was it was me who felt some twitch in my conscience. “Here I
am,” I thought, “in a car with aircon and radio, and sometimes
complaining interiorly because of the pressures, the rains or the sun,
etc., and look at these wonderful souls, all happy…”

    This is actually one of those occasions that would spontaneously spur
me to be sorry over some failures and to move on with greater resolve
to do better. And I started to think of the children who have been
spoiled by the so-called “good things” they have in life.

    Yes, I’ve also met a lot of this kind of children. Poor souls! They
actually are drinking everyday some sweet poison without knowing it.
They have all the money they need. They can satisfy all their wants
and caprices. The parents concerned usually replace their presence and
attention with mere money and other resources.

    No wonder, some of these kids become monsters in no time. They don’t
greet others or smile at them. If ever there’s a smile, it’s of the
cynical kind. They are almost completely self-absorbed, lost in their
own world. It would seem the only connection they have to the outside
world is when they need to eat or to go somewhere.

    Recently, I learned a word that could be applied to some of them.
It’s “emo.” It’s still a fuzzy word that’s trying to get a clear
definition, but some of its elements are that it is supposed to refer
to some punk and hard-rock type of youngsters who have lost their
sense of reality to such an extent that they find pleasure in cutting

    They put dark lines around their eyes, sport a choppy or spiky
hairdo, tattoo themselves heavily, and ornament themselves with studs
in different parts of their faces and bodies. They are very emotional
and moody kids, with reason almost in flight.

    It’s clear we need to do some rescue operation with respect to these
children. It has to start with the parents, with the family—that they
are functioning properly, fulfilling their responsibilities well.
Otherwise, things will just be a big mess.

    There, of course, are many things to be done in this regard, but
underlying all these should be the serious quest to inculcate piety
proper to all of us in our relationship first of all with God and with
everybody else, starting with parents, elders and other persons of

    Children are actually wired for piety. They have a natural curiosity
and desire for what is good, true and beautiful. We just have to make
sure that this innate desire is properly engaged and developed, not
ambushed by some cheap if glittery things, and entangled there.

    Christ himself described children as the condition for one to enter
heaven. “Unless you turn and become like children,” he said, “you will
not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this
child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever received
one child such as this in my name receives me.” (Mt 18)

    What wonderful words! Divine and therefore true and lasting, capable
of bringing us to eternal life! We should do all to keep childhood the
way it is meant to be in the mind of God. There are now elements that
seek to undermine and destroy this nature of childhood.

    We need to be alerted and develop the proper attitude and skills to
promote and defend, and in some cases, save childhood.