What’s in a name?:
January 12, 2014
(A former United Nations colleague emailed that he had resent a 2011
column we had written titled: “What’s in a name?” That dealt with what
startles visitors here but which we take for granted. We’ve re-read
the piece. Does it bear up? – JLM)
A British Broadcastng
Corporation reporter and a business executive from England have
written, nine years apart, witty features on unique Filipino names
that we take for granted but stun foreigners.
“On my first day in Manila, I…was served by a smiling coffee shop girl
who wore a name badge: BumBum,” Kate McGeown of BBC recalls. “I did a
double-take. But if it’s is a joke the whole country seems to be in.”
Matthew Sutherland agreed in an Obsever feature “The secretary I
inherited on arrival had an unusual name: Leck-Leck.” Filipinos, he
discovered, were fond of “repeating names.” They include: Lenlen or
“Names are refined by using the ‘squared’ symbol as in Len2 or Mai2,”
Sutherland wrote. “How boring to come from the UK, full of people
named John Smith. How wonderful to come to a country where imagination
The head of the Catholic Church here then was named Jaime Cardinal
Sin. “Welcome to the house of Sin,” he’d greet guests. “Where else in
the world could that have happened but in the Philippines!”
Everyone here has a nickname: Babes, Lovely, Precious, Honey Boy,
Bing, and Dong. Even the former chief of the National Police, and now
Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson has a doorbell name: “Ping.”
“There are millions of them”, gasped Sutherland. Such names are
frequently used in doorbell combinations like: Dingdong; and Bingbing.
Others graduate into “repeating names” like: Len-Len, Let-Let; Mai-mai
“How wonderful to come from a country where imagination and exoticism
rule,” Sutherland says. “How boring to come from a country, like the
U.K., full of people like John Smith.”
“The President’s full Christian name is Benigno Simeon Cojuangco
Aquino,” McGeown weighed in. “(These) names are Spanish, Hebrew and
Chinese. His nickname, Noynoy, is the only part that is truly
Former president Joseph Estrada is commonly known as “Erap.” When
spelt backwards, Erap becomes “Pare.” That means mate in Aussie or
buddy in Tagalog.
“No one questions the integrity of Joker Arroyo, one of the country's
most respected senators (who has since retired),” McGeown wrote. “That
is his real first name. Apparently he got it because of his father's
fondness for playing cards. Joker's brother is called Jack.
Sutherland points to another category: the “randomly-inserted letter
“H” names. “It results in creations like: Lhenn, Ghemma, Jhimmy or
Jhun (Jhun2?). I think it is designed to give a touch of class to an
otherwise only averagely weird name.”
Then, we have the tendency to cluster names for children, like Jun,
Joy, Joyce, Luzviminda splices Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. And
Jejomar, of course, is not only the vice-president; the name melds
Jesus, Joseph and Mary. “They look great painted on the trunk of the
cab you hail.”
Why those unique names?" McGeown asked Filipino friends. Soon a heated
debate began. “They agreed that, to outsiders at least, it all might
sound a bit strange.” The Philippines is a melting pot of different
The Spanish, in a 1849 decree, mandated everyone had to have a
surname. That resulted in tens of thousands of newly christened Marias
So even today, most surnames are Spanish. “With the Americans came
names like Butch, Buffy and Junior – and the propensity to shorten
everything if at all possible.
The large Filipino-Chinese community here is caught up in this
national name game. “Their surnames are often a form of Anglicised
Chinese. But the Philippine penchant for fun shines through.”
Tsinoys apply imagination and humor in the naming process.
Sutherland’s favorites include: Bach Johann Sebastian, Edgar Allan Pe,
and Van Go.
When they become U.S. citizens, some Filipinos opt to “Americanize”
their names. What happens then?
Side-splitting mayhem, says a tongue-in-cheek Internet feature.
Gregorio Talahib, for example, becomes who else? George Bush! That’s
who. Tomas Cruz is recycled as Tom Cruise, while Remigio Batungbacal
becomes Remington Steel. But Maria Pascua prefers Mary Christmas.
The Internet feature is captioned: “Filipino Names = U.S. Citizens.”
It asserts the pre-September 11 Immigration and Naturalization Service
“released the list of names of Filipinos, who changed their names,
when they became naturalized U.S. citizens.”
The U.S. too, is full of John Smiths. But that does not deter the
mint-new Pinoy Americans. Thus, Juanito Lakarin took the name of
Johnny Walker, while Esteban Magtaka picked Stevie Wonder. Leon
Mangubat flicked through the sports pages and chose Tiger Woods
Victoria Malihim preferred to be literal; she picked Victoria Secret
“Pinoy is what Filipinos call each other, a term of endearment,”
author Gilda Cordero Fernando writes. “You’re Pinoy from Pilipino just
like you’re tisoy from mestizo or chinoy from chino.
“It’s a nickname just as Minoy is from Maximo, Tinay from Florentina
and Kikay from Francisca. But now they’re Maxi and Ben and Tintin and
So, no one raises an eyebrow that Boxer Manny Paqaio named his two
girls Queen Elizabeth and Princess. Ay, lintik!
The pursuit of
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 8, 2014
Everyone, I suppose, wants
to be eloquent, that is, forceful and persuasive in his conversations,
dialogues, speeches. Especially to those engaged in public speaking
and publicity work, eloquence is the apple of their eye, their jewel
of the crown.
Thus, politicians, media
men, advertisers and all kinds of public communicators do all to
sharpen their skills in that department. They check the quality of
their voice, its pitch, tone and volume. All of these should be
appealing to the public. The voice should be neither too strident nor
too dragging. Better if it is clear, smooth and warm.
Then they employ all sorts
of devices, tricks and gimmicks to enhance their expressiveness. Thus,
they are fans of similes and metaphors, anecdotes, jokes, the popular
expressions and slogans, buzz words and memes of the moment, and other
literary sparklers. They are constantly minting new words and
Of course, they also check
their appearance and image. They are willing to go through complicated
make-ups and make-overs just to achieve their desired persona or their
Some people are not even
averse to using underhanded means, like bombast, spins and hype,
exaggerations and hyperboles to prop up their eloquence. This is not
to mention many other factors, both licit and illicit, that also go
into their pursuit of eloquence.
There can be pressures from
outside, for example, from different sources – ideological, financial,
commercial, political, etc., that are systematically pushing their
partisan views, biases and prejudices.
We need to be aware of these
forces that are at play in our public exchanges and know how to treat
them properly. Of course, they are not altogether bad. They will
always have some good, truth and beauty, otherwise they will not
prosper. But they need to be examined with a fine-toothed comb to see
what is fair and unfair, safe and dangerous in them.
We need to understand that
eloquence is first of all a matter of having a vital union with God,
the source of all that is true, good and beautiful. Without this, all
claims of eloquence would be false and deceptive.
Thus, eloquence requires a
great effort to be with God always, making him the beginning and end
of our discourses, the motive and objective. This requirement is not
at all inhuman and unnatural, but rather what is fundamentally proper
to us, given our nature and dignity as persons and children of God. It
may be hard, but it is practicable.
Since eloquence is a
question of being persuasive, we have to understand that the first
person we have to persuade is our own selves. We need to be persuaded
that we need God first of all. Only then can we feel confident that we
can persuade others about God and about anything else in life.
Eloquence should not just be
a play of persuasion and expressiveness about worldly and temporal
concerns, no matter how valid they are. Its first objective is the
acceptance of God as our Creator, Father and Provider for everything.
The ultimate objective of eloquence is to relate everything to God.
This is the big challenge for us who seek eloquence.
So we have to be most wary
of the glib talkers who only speak about politics or business or some
worldly affair we have. Without a clear grounding on God, their words
can only be shallow and biased, if not insincere and deceitful, even
if they are heavily supported by facts and data and seasoned with all
literary and rhetorical devices.
Real eloquence will always
lead people to God, giving them true wisdom. It is not meant to lead
people to mere ideologies or to some interest groups exclusively. It
will always lead people to God, and because of that, it will also lead
people to all others, in spite of one’s particular position that can
be different or even in conflict with that of the others.
Real eloquence avoids
contention and envying. It is not driven by bitter zeal. It does not
arouse sensual or merely worldly reactions to issues. We have to be
wary of speakers who are wont to stir intrigues and provoke
controversies, restricting our discourses at the purely mundane level.
Real eloquence can use all
the devices and gimmicks that are licit and moral, but as St. James
said, it would embody a heavenly wisdom expressed in meekness and
eloquence would be “chaste, then peaceable, modest, easy to be
persuaded, consenting to the good, full of mercy and good works,
without judging, without dissimulation.” (3,16)
Who are we really?
December 12, 2013
"The communists tend to see man simply as a material creature, subject
only to social, economic, historical, political forces."
A story is said about
Alexander the Great who astounded a beggar who only asked for some
alms but instead was given the government of five cities. When the
beggar expressed his consternation, Alexander just said: “You asked
like the man you are. I give like the man I am.”
Well, that’s how the cookie
crumbles in this life. Whatever we do or say is determined by the way
we are. We understand, see and react to things according to the kind
of person we are.
As some Latin adages would
have it, “Operare sequitur esse” (our deeds are determined by our
being), or “Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur”
(Whatever is received is received according to the manner of the
The guests in a wedding give
gifts to the newly-weds in accordance to their station in life. The
millionaire may give a car or a house, while an ordinary housewife may
give a set of chinaware. It can happen, though, that the latter gives
it more wholeheartedly than the former.
When you just have a little
money, you usually give a modest tip to the barber or the waiter. But
when you have a thick wallet, you tend to give away a lot more.
Different people react to
issues or tackle problems according to the way they are. The
intellectual sees things differently from the way a farmer sees them.
Same with how believers and unbelievers approach challenges.
This is a law of life that
somehow sheds light on the importance and the need of truly enriching
our identity, our humanity, because everything else in our life would
depend on who we really are.
I suppose we can readily see
that we are much more than just a biological creature, or a
socio-cultural product, or a political animal or economic phenomenon.
For sure, these aspects also go into our identity, but there must
still be some deeper underlying basis that holds these aspects
Some ideologies have put
forward their conception of our nature. The communists tend to see man
simply as a material creature, subject only to social, economic,
historical, political forces. There is nothing beyond our death.
Atheists and agnostics tend
to limit us only to our temporal and earthly dimensions. Hardly
anything spiritual and supernatural is considered. In fact, they are
averse to such considerations. They claim there is no God, or that
God’s existence is doubtful, and therefore we hardly have any relation
We need to enrich our
identity because our humanity is not a static matter determined solely
by genes or legal status or some social and cultural criteria. Our
identity is a dynamic affair that ultimately depends on who we believe
The quest to know our real
identity and to bring our humanity to its fullness cannot help but
touch on our core beliefs. It has to enter into the question of
whether we are created, and if we are created, then how we are related
to our Creator. Is it a relation between a person and a thing, or
between a person and another person?
The Christian faith tells us
a wholistic vision of our humanity, one that covers not only the
temporal and earthly, but also the eternal and supernatural. It gives
meaning not only to the good events we have like our joys and
successes, but also the bad ones like our sufferings and defeats.
The Christian faith tells us
that we are persons, not things, since we have intelligence and will.
We can know and love. We can enter into a relationship and are
conscious of it. More than that, we are expected to keep and
strengthen that relationship.
This is a very crucial point
to be understood by us – in fact, by all of us as much as possible.
Sad to say, we often are remiss of this duty to keep and deepen this
relationship. We just let ourselves be led by some feeling or changing
perceptions. We seldom go to the root of our identity.
Our Christian faith tells us
that not only are we persons, created in the image and likeness of
God. We are children of God who with grace are expected to participate
intimately in the very life of God. We have been enabled for this
dignity, and this potential is made actual by God’s grace and our
correspondence to it.
This is the truth of our
faith that needs to be processed thoroughly and assimilated deeply so
we don’t get lost in the confusing ways of our earthly life.
Killing the ideals
of dissent and free speech - two more killed, one wounded in attacks
A Statement from the Asian
Human Rights Commission
December 12, 2013
'License' to torture, kill and to silence the oppressed
On December 9, the Asian
Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has expressed its deep concern over the
renewed targeted attacks of journalists and activists. In the space of
one week, five journalists and activists, known critics against
corruption, wrong doings of local politicians, extrajudicial killings,
and so on, have been killed. These killings were done in broad
daylight and in crowded places displaying a blatant disregard for the
rule of law and most definitely to send a message to the public - such
dissent will not be tolerated!
The AHRC has now learnt of two more persons being killed and another
wounded. Those killed were: a broadcast journalist critical of local
politics and a poor and ordinary villager trying to protect his son
and their home from being demolished by armed policemen. The one
wounded was another broadcast journalist. The names and reasons for
why they were attacked are as follows:
On December 4, Nexon Togao, a poor and ordinary villager, was killed
when policemen shot at him as he was trying to save his son who
fainted from inhaling tear gas. He was struck in a kidney and the
Nexon and other villagers were trying to prevent the demolition of
their homes. A court sheriff and a demolition team, including
policemen who were carrying loaded weapons arrived unannounced in
Lugait, Misamis Oriental, to demolish the homes of the informal
settlers. The police also allegedly hog-tied several women protestors
at the height of the scuffle.
In separate incidents, a broadcast journalist was killed and another
was also wounded in shootings. On December 10, Jonavin "Jhey-R"
Villalba, (43), a reporter of radio station dyOK Aksyon Radyo in
Iloilo, survived an attempt on his life. But on December 11, Rogelio "Tata"
Butalid of Radyo Natin, was killed in front his radio station in Tagum
City. Rogelio received threats to his life before he was murdered.
These renewed attacks, once again, clearly demonstrates the absence of
adequate and effective protection from state agents, and persons or
groups working for them. The government expresses its condolences to
the victim's families and 'demonstrates' its 'political will' to
ensure justice, but beyond that nothing happens. The perpetrators
still kill, in broad daylight without fear of punishment; and their
victims, still fear for their lives without any sort of protection.
Clearly, there is a pattern of the systematic, widespread and routine
inability of the government to protect persons whose lives are
threatened; as in the case of Rogelio and Jonavin. The government
appears to be doing nothing to prevent the loss of lives and use of
excessive force on poor villagers defending their dwellings, like in
the case of Nexon and others. The government's, present and its past
administration, are fully aware of this trend. However, why it has
done nothing to halt these targeted attacks remains the question. If
the government is and was in control of this situation, they must be
asked: what is wrong and what went wrong?
While we express our concern on the lack of, if not the absence of
punishment, or any sort of remedy for the victims and their families,
we are more deeply concerned that the space to express dissent and to
assert one's fundamental rights and one's freedom to express his
opinion on matters of public interest, is becoming narrower with the
passing of each day.
The AHRC is of the opinion that, in addition to killings people, to
kill persons and to systematically target those embodying the ideals
of dissent are causing far deeper damage to Filipino society. With
these killings the attackers are not only killing the physical bodies
of their victims but also the ideals they hold dear more than their
own lives. These continued attacks and the government's inability to
protect them perpetuates this.
Furthermore, we strongly urged the government of the Philippines and
its justice institutions, the public and those who still value the
ideals of those who were killed and those who continue to assert and
fight at the risk of their lives for this ideal, to speak out in
condemning these targeted attacks. In a society where killing people
in broad daylight has become commonplace it must be realised that
'bodies' may inevitably die, but the ideals they embody must and will
continue to live.
Mandela – AHRC salutes a great man, embraces his Legacy
A Statement from the Asian
Human Rights Commission
December 6, 2013
The Asian Human Rights
Commission joins all people across the world to salute Nelson
Rolihlahla Mandela of South Africa, who passed away at the age of 95
In the person of Nelson
Mandela the world can proudly celebrate a towering personality, whose
life has universal relevance for all times to come. His life and
struggles have always focused on the greatest of ideals that any human
being could aspire to: equality, freedom, dignity, truth, and – above
all – love for all. And all of these qualities are centered in the
greatest of the ideals of human rights.
In his life achievements he
has justly acquired the honor of being a role model for every child
born on this earth, irrespective of race, gender, colour, ethnicity or
any other factor.
Nelson Mandela lived in
extremely troubled times. Born a black, in apartheid South Africa, he
knew very well the bitterness of being discriminated against. This
profound knowledge of 'the humanity of the oppressed creature' guided
him to become a relentless and uncompromising freedom fighter who
remained loyal and steadfast to his fellow sufferers and, at the same
time, made him a universal figure. Equipped with this knowledge, born
from suffering, he takes his place amongst the other greats of this
world, such as Frederick Douglass of the United States and Bhimrao
Ramji Ambedkar of India. Together with them, Mandela will remain an
inspiration for all oppressed peoples struggling for their freedom and
will retain a dignified place in the fabric of their societies.
Nelson Mandela gives meaning
to the words 'ideal political prisoner'. The twenty-seven years of his
imprisonment have now reached a state of universality, gifting all who
live under oppressive political regimes a reminder of the value of
making sacrifices to end their oppression, to achieve freedom.
Nelson Mandela is also an
icon of faithfulness and truth. This was aptly demonstrated when he –
even after achieving the status of a great and influential global
political leader – was able to humbly admit to his son's death due to
HIV/Aids, and continued work towards the prevention of Aids globally.
All the issues on which
Mandela fought hard need further fight and struggle, for which his
life will ever remain an inspiration. The defeat of apartheid has not
turned South Africa into a paradise. The country is caught in global
contradictions of harsh economic and political consequence. The
tyranny of global economic bondage is a threat that humanity as a
whole – white black, and brown, male and female – must face. Nelson
Mandela was profoundly aware of this global phenomenon, and to his
admirers in the more developed countries his message would be to face
this global challenge which generates misery for the greater part of
Nelson Mandela would
certainly say that – in order to bear the fruits of the struggles that
he shared with freedom loving people across the earth – major changes
need to be ushered in for a more just and a fair distribution of
resources in the world. Facing this mammoth challenge is the only way
forward, to continue Nelson Mandela's legacy and walk the path he
would wish for his fellow beings.
Nelson Mandela, the
uncompromising freedom fighter, was also a man capable of forgiving
and reconciling with his opponents. The manner in which the victory
over apartheid was used to unify a country and bring together people
of all walks of life is another of his great legacies. In the art of
reconciliation, the lessons he has left for us will remain an
inspiration for all humanity, for all times.
We salute a great man, and
we embrace his great legacy.
Truth objective and
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, email@example.com
October 27, 2013
WE have to be clear about
what is to be objective and what is also to be subjective. Very often,
if not almost invariably, we contrast the two, as if to be objective
is the very antithesis of being subjective. That is to say, that they
cannot be together.
This concern is important to
us, since out of a good understanding between the two would we know
how to be truthful and fair. Such good grasp of the two concepts would
help us to engage soundly in our dialogues and conversations in the
different levels of our life that are growing and multiplying by the
To be sure, there is good
reason to put the two notions in contrast. And that reason is when we
mean by objective, being in the truth or being fair, and by
subjective, being so opinionated as to miss the truth or to be unfair.
But that situation is more
the exception than the rule, since the basic reality is that we cannot
be objective unless we are subjective also. The objectivity of a
certain truth or fact will always require a subject, who is a person
who thinks, judges, reasons out and makes conclusions.
In other words, the
objectivity of the truth cannot help but be apprehended by the
subjectivity of the thinking, judging and reasoning person. There is
need to establish an organic link between objectivity and subjectivity
in relation to truth, whether we are looking for it, or desiring to
establish it, or wishing to develop it, etc.
This cannot be avoided, and
we should be ready to tackle the challenge and to undertake the task,
since this proper connection between objectivity and subjectivity does
not come to us automatically. It has to be worked out.
The Thomistic definition of
truth as the correspondence of a thing to the intellect masks a lot of
considerations that need to be uncovered. That definition is so
generic that it fails to tell us much about what kind of thing is
involved, whether it is merely a material thing or a non-tangible or
spiritual or even moral thing, etc.
When we speak of a material
thing or of a fact or data, objectivity should not be difficult to
establish. It’s when we speak of non-tangible or spiritual or moral
things that it becomes unavoidable that the question of objectivity
To be sure, truth is not
simply about material things or facts and data. Truth goes far beyond
a mere statement of fact or data, or a simple pointing of a physical
object. One can say, “I don’t have any whisky,” which may be true as a
fact, but such statement does not capture the whole truth. There are a
lot more of considerations behind that fact.
Truth should therefore not
be limited to a simple statement of facts. The objectivity of a fact
as truth should go hand in hand with the subjectivity proper to it.
While it’s right that for
purposes of legality and other social considerations that govern more
our external behavior than probing into our internal motives, we
remain in the level of facts, it would be wrong to nail the whole
concept of truth to its legal or social dimension alone. It has to
look into the motives and goals involved.
The motives and objectives
that comprise the subjectivity of the truth should be those proper to
the truth itself. And these motives and objectives cannot be none
other than love for God and others, which is what truth is all about.
Truth has to go with charity, otherwise it would not be truth in the
It’s charity that
establishes the proper connection between the objectivity and the
subjectivity of truth. This is how we should understand truth, and its
derivatives – how we should be truthful, sincere, candid, etc.
It’s charity that makes
truth really lovable, a principle that fosters unity and harmony in
the different levels and aspects of our life in spite of our
differences of views and position on certain issues.
The absence of charity with
respect to truth, as when we just mention facts and data, would make
our assertions prone to be divisive and destructive, sowing discord
and contentions everywhere.
We have a lot of clarifying
to do in this area and, hopefully, of building up the appropriate
structures that would nurture this understanding of truth. Obviously,
the task is first of all a personal affair before it ramifies into our
social and cultural dimensions. It should be done freely, without
Truth should be both
objective and subjective.
Getting back on our
ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 17, 2013
WE have been floored by a
7.2 magnitude earthquake. The number of casualties is increasing, and
the damage has been extensive in terms of properties and
Houses and buildings have
fallen. Landslides have blocked roads, bridges destroyed, isolating
towns. But it’s most heartbreaking to see churches collapse or
practically ruined. That sight alone touches right deep in people’s
soul like no other.
Gone, for now, are those
precious treasures that represent our people’s journey of faith and
piety through the centuries. Their mere presence, even as we just
happen to pass them by, never fails to evoke a certain sense of our
We may not have been a very
good member of the Church or one who is consistently faithful to it,
but somehow we feel we belong to it, just as any child continues to
belong to a family whether he behaves well or not. We are always
welcome to enter it. It does not make easy, uncharitable distinctions.
Some of us are asking why
these churches have to go the way they did during the temblor. Well,
God has his ways, his very mysterious ways. And if we continue to have
faith, we know that everything happens for a good reason. “Omnia in
bonum,” as they say.
We have to reinforce our
belief that God is conveying a beautiful message to us through their
disappearance. Obviously we have to try to decipher and fathom it. We
can always try.
We should not just focus on
the purifying or penalizing aspect of their disappearance, destruction
or damage, though that alone holds a good basis. For one, we have
often taken them for granted, allowing them to drift to deterioration.
Very often, when I visited
many of these old churches, I got the impression that they were
treated like aging great-grandmothers who were more of a bother than a
useful constituent. They seem to be maintained only as a religious
prop or cultural ornament. Their sacramentality as our home with God
is practically lost.
This is not to mention that
in our life of piety, many things have gone sour. We like to strut our
religiosity, yet even in the externals alone, many holes and
inconsistencies can be seen. If we are not lax, our most prevalent
predicament, then we go to the other extreme of being too fastidious
as to be rigid and superstitious.
But I’m sure there is a lot
more of positive reasons why these beautiful churches are gone for
now. I like to believe that God is challenging us to rebuild our
spiritual life so we can rebuild our churches, making them more
beautiful, stronger and more adapted to current and foreseeable
situations and challenges.
God is asking us to get our
act together in both our own personal and collective life. We need to
develop a strong and functioning interior life of love of God, and a
vibrant concern for the others in all aspects of life, both material
and spiritual, both mundane and sacred.
We have to break loose from
our complacency in our relation with God and others, and really enter
into a most meaningful engagement with him and everybody else.
We need to mature in our
faith, after so many centuries already of Christian life. We need to
man up so as to grapple with the real issues of our life and not get
entangled with the non-essentials, though they too need to be duly
attended to and related to what is truly important.
I know the transition is not
easy. But it can be facilitated if we try our best to put our mind and
heart, plus all our resources, into the task of rebuilding
simultaneously our spiritual life and our churches. This can be done.
This is not a quixotic dream.
We need to get back on our
feet and move on with a revitalized and purified sense of purpose in
life. We have to rise from the ruins, counting on God’s grace and our
Christ has reassured us that
we can resurrect not only on the last day, but also on any day as long
as make the necessary changes in our life. His promise of a new
creation is effective as often as we decide to return to him and to
take him and his beautiful will for us seriously.
This, I believe, is how we
should react to the loss of our beautiful churches and the devastation
of the earthquake. God is planting a seed in us that has to die first
in order to grow and bear more fruit.