Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Steve Ray's Open Letter To The Filipino Catholics

> We stepped into the church and it was old and a bit dark. Mass had just
> begun and we sat toward the front. We didn't know what to expect here in
> Istanbul , Turkey . I guess we expected it to be a sombre Mass but quiet and
> sombre it was not-I thought I heard angels joyously singing behind me.
> The voices were rich, melodic and beautiful. What I discovered as I spun
> around to look did not surprise me because I had seen and
> heard the same thing in other churches around the world. It was not a choir
> of angels with feathered wings and halos but a group of delightful Filipino
> Catholics with smiles of delight and joy on their faces as they worshipped
> God and sang His praises. I had seen this many times before in Rome , in
> Israel ,in the United States and other countries.
> Filipinos have special traits and they are beautifully expressed as I
> gazed at the happy throng giving thanks to God. What are the special traits
> which characterize these happy people? I will share a few that have
> noticed-personal observations- as I have travelled around the
> world,including visits to
> the Philippines .
> FIRST, there is a sense of community, of family. These Filipino Christians
> did not sit apart from each other in different isles. They sat
> together,closely. They didn't just sing quietly,
> mumbling, or simply mouthing the words. No, they raised their voices in
> harmony together as though they enjoyed the sense of unity and communion
> among them. They are family even if they are not related.
> SECOND, they have an inner peace and joy which is rare in the world
> today.When most of the world's citizens are worried and fretful, I have
> found Filipinos to have joy and peace-a deep sense of God's love that over
> shadows
> them. They have problems too, and many in the
> Philippines have less material goods than others in the world, yet there is
> still a sense of happy trust in God and love of neighbor.
> THIRD, there is a love for God and for his Son Jesus that is almost
> synonymous with the word Filipino. There is also something that Filipinos
> are famous for around the world - their love for the Blessed Mother. Among
> the many Filipinos I have met, the affectionate title for Mary I always
> hear from their lips is "Mama Mary." For these gentle folks Mary is not
> just a theological idea, a historical person, or a statue in a church -Mary
> is the mother of their Lord and their mother as well, their "mama."
> The Philippines is a Catholic nation-the only such nation in Asia -and this
> wonderful country exports missionaries around the world. They are not hired
> to be missionaries, not official workers of the church. No, they are
> workers and educators, doctors, nurses and housekeepers that go to other
> lands and travel
> to the far reaches of the earth, and everywhere they go they take the
> joyous gospel of Jesus with them.
> They make a sombre Mass joyful when they burst into song. They convict the
> pagan of sin as they always keep the love of Jesus and the Eucharist
> central in their lives.
> My hope and prayer, while I am here in the
> Philippines sharing my conversion story from Baptist Protestant to Roman
> Catholic, is that the Filipino people will continue to keep these precious
> qualities. I pray that they will continue loving their families, loving the
> Catholic Church, reading the Bible, loving Jesus, His Mother and the
> Eucharist.
> As many other religions and sects try to persuade them to leave the
> Church,may God give the wisdom to defend the Catholic faith. As the world
> tempts them to sin and seek only money and fame and power, may God grant
> them the serenity to always remember that
> obedience to Christ and love for God is far more important than all the
> riches the world can offer.
> May the wonderful Filipino people continue to be a light of the Gospel to the whole world!
> Be a proud Filipino and forward this to friends!

I received this in an email and decided to post it here in my blog, I am Filipino and proud to be one. It seems that there are only a few articles or notations that mention Filipinos in a good way and this is a very good start. I hope to find more and more notes about the goodness of Filipinos....

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