Friday, January 9, 2015

The Human Person: A Reflection

Reflection on the Human Person

I will start my reflection on the question; What is really in Man that God cares so much for us? This is the very fundamental question that most of the time I take for granted. Mainly because I live a life of security, equality (in the society, at least) and love. There are many, however, individuals living a life where their humanity, their being human, has been violated by others who does not value the Human Person. They violate because they do not understand what is really a Human Person.
In my experience in the mission immersion with the Badjao community in Cebu, I can still remember the event that really marked a scar in my heart. It was the time when their community was razed by a great fire. I saw it by myself the day after the fire many children died and the community was displaced. The Badjaos claimed that it was the government who did the fire to paved way for the construction of the South Reclamation Project, now known as the South Road Properties. A reclaimed area intended for the rich and the ‘can afford’ people. At that very moment, my young mind was awakened and had started to question are  not these Badjao people a Human Person? They too are created by God. They too are willed being and they have dignity. They could have been placed in a more decent area and not just burned and leaving them dead and homeless.
This reminded me of what Bonaventure said about the Human Person. He said that we are willed creatures, God willed us to exist. We start existing in God and will end in God. The central focus of social morals is on how we look at Human Persons. When we look at the human person as people to lord over, to take dominion over, and sometimes as ‘slave’, we do not look at them as persons with dignity. If we look at the other person in the Christian perspective, understanding the value of each individual as a creature created in the image and likeness of God, then each will have the dignity worthy of him as a person. If we look at people having a sense of dignity then we treat them as how we would like to be treated. In this way we can uplift the value of each individual as a person bearing dignity.
So for the question what is really in man that God cares so much for us, it is the act of God when he breathed His spirit on us, giving us the right to be called Human Persons. This life/breath that we have comes from Him alone. It is important for us to understand this very foundation of the human persons in order that our acts and judgments will look at each and every individual as what he or she really is; a creature of God, created in His image and likeness, and with dignity.

Reflection submitted to Social Morals class...


Saturday, March 9, 2013

On Homosexual Marriage

There are groups around the world calling for the church to recognize the unions of men to men or women-women. Some causes protests on the streets such as the gay pride march which made some states in the US to at least legalize Homosexual or Same Sex Marriage. This prompted other countries to follow their steps while many conservative countries remain strong in pointing the immorality of Homosexual Marriage. This issue is no longer avoidable in my country as it broke many traditional concepts and cracked cultures around the world. The Metropolitan Church, for instance, offers marital union for the LGBTs and it gained support from the minorities in the country today. It is in this light that we can say that the Church and the government is not anymore blind from recognizing the reality of this issue.
Having studied theology of marriage, as a lay individual, I get to have a wider opportunity to converse with homosexuals. I have many friends who are gays. They are very good people who just want to live the same normal life as others have. They've been longing to be accepted by the society and by the Church. When they love, they also want to get married, seal their love with a covenant with God and with each other. But the Church and our State does not adhere to this idea. This unacceptance has brought these people to hide; others even to the point of disregarding religion and simply put their faith on themselves.

In one of my conversations, my friend asked me what the motivation of the homosexuals for their marriage is. I guess that they do have the same motivation as the man and woman have before they present themselves to the altar. If it is just merely for recognition and legality, then it shouldn't be done. I think it still goes the same with the man and woman marriage. In our previous discussion, the Church gave emphasis on the relational aspect before getting into marriage. Marriage has gone too far from being simply an exclusive right over the woman’s body into something relational and committal. Both man and woman wants to get married for them to seal their love in the bonds of marriage, I think it goes the same with the Homosexuals.
On the one hand he pointed out on the morality side and said that the church is very enthusiastic in presenting the immorality of Homosexual Marriage. That according to the Bible union between the same sexes is immoral. Only man and woman can get married. I was very struck when he answered that notion in a question form. He asked me “why is it that when they see both men, loving each other, getting married they immediately points out that it’s immoral. While when they see teenagers, impregnated after a one night stand, got married and would not comment on the immorality of their marriage. They simply say it is better that they get married because it is for the welfare of the child and the woman. Without taking consideration that both man and woman don’t even love each other.” Which of this two points are moral and immoral or simply lesser immoral?
On the other hand our own culture has greatly influenced my countries stand on the immorality of Homosexual Marriage. For more than three centuries, we’ve been colonized by traditional and very conservative Westerners and they shaped our culture and beliefs. The same Westerners who have been very open to the concept of Same Sex Marriage nowadays. I think there is a need for a deeper understanding on the issue, awareness and acceptance; that these people does exist and they also have a place in the Church and in the Society. As the post modern thinkers would say, these values need to be ‘deconstruct’ in order for us to grow into our full existence.
Taking full consideration on the motivation of the homosexual couples, the questions of moralities and the culture that influences us, I guess it narrows us down into two very essential points.  First is on the encompassing love of Christ for us; that the love of Christ is unfailing. That it transcends beyond our questions of morality, society and culture. That His love chooses no gender and is free and constant for all. Secondly, is that we are bound to decide according to our conscience. We are always guided by our conscience. If our conscience would say it is right and moral to commit into a homosexual marriage then go, if there are hesitations seek for the working of the Spirit and ask for its wisdom.
Maybe the time is not yet ready for us to fully accept the concept of Homosexual marriage. As Fr. Tom Groarke, C.Ss.R. concluded in his lectures on the Challenges of Contemporary Marriage “Marriage is not a static reality. It evolved and developed in the course of history. Marriage within the most culture is also in a state of transition.” This transition is always moving and maybe in due time, Homosexual Marriage will be recognized, legalized and considered a moral act if done out of love.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

No Love No Marriage

No Love No Marriage

Marriage has gone a long way. As I have learned in our class the concept of marriage has evolved into different stages from a very simple gesture of marrying to form alliance of different kingdoms, to an exclusive right of a man over a woman for sex and thereby completing the marriage by the act of consummation. Now marriage, in the Church, has been lifted into a level of a sacrament. And for this reason couples put more importance on the preparations and the externals of marital rites in the church. These days also, we seldom see couples marrying out of wedlock, alliance or business partnerships, and marrying out of pregnancy. Couples turned out to be ‘in love with each other’ before they get married. But is love really essential before marriage?
My grandfather married my grandmother without courtship and shall we say love. As what our family history would say, my grandfather was a handsome and hardworking teacher and just asked for the consent of my grandmother to get married and both got married on Feb. 14, 1958. They had two children, and one is my mother. And for 35 years they had a very good relationship, filled with love and faithfulness until my grandmother died on 1993.
My mother got married with my father because both of them loved each other. They surpassed the trials of time and for 20 years they were together. And when we all finished our college, and all of us were professionally working in our different fields, my father left home and left us. We did not know what took place, what transpired. We were very clueless. My brother was working abroad when he heard the news. When he came home, we gathered and later did we know that the love they both shared had been gone for quite a time. And they finally decided to separate after considering that we are all mature enough to handle the situation.
I cited these two situations as my point of comparison. These are very real situations, situations that we sometimes disregard but needs the attention of our church. The examples I gave would somehow reflect the marriage before and at present. The latter showed marriage without love but turned out to be faithful and lasting, true to their promise. The former has love then marriage but failed. The question is this; up to what degree can we say that the love the couples have for each other is enough for them to get married and to keep their marriage successful. Considering that marriage is not merely for procreation but also a lifelong partnership, a commitment to God and each other.
Why is this happening? I believe that these are realities that we should look into. In my own view, I would not put more weight on love prior to marriage but love before, and ‘during’ marriage. As Gabriel Marcel would say, love is the highest phenomenon we can do to express our existence fully. And in this case it should be present within the marriage for it to work. But it does not stop there; both should have hope and fidelity for each other for marriage to work.  Hope that their marriage would last and fidelity that no matter what happens throughout time they remain constant in their commitment.
 I believe that the Church should put more stress on the relational aspect of marriage. In my lay perspective, I see that the Church has lapses when it comes to handling post marital concerns of many couples. Even the pre-nuptial seminars was considered to be a burden for marrying couples thereby considering it as nuances and less prioritized. The obligation of the Church does not stop from officiating the wedding rites of the couples but it goes down into the level of the couple, understanding their differences and helping them cultivate that love within marriage. What is essential is for the couples, with the aid of the Church, to cultivate that ‘love’ in their marriage.

This article was my reflection paper on my Theology class.

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