Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Power of Prayer

Fr. Reuter, in his wisdom, borne by long experience in servitude to the Lord, is so right when he said that the Philippines is on a fixed course towards destruction (his article  *Let no one make us afraid... for in the end, only God remains is reprinted here).
There had been no lack of effort among well meaning men and women, from the sectarian and religious groups, to reverse the tide towards what the good Father projected as utter degradation of society, morality and the economy. There have been notable events such as the People Power revolutions which were joint achievements of the Church and civil society. They were relegated to be just historical “flashes in the pan” which, true to the form of the Filipino, fizzled out after the euphoria settled down, and we even became worst off, thanks to PGMA. Our downward spiral is validated by the Failed State Index (FSI) which categorized us among the fifty lowest countries and steadily slipping from the rankings since the (FSI) Index’s inception.
According to Fr Reuter, “It is time to move the battle to the spiritual realm. It’s time to claim God’s promise of healing of the land for His people. It’s time to gather God’s people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation.” He added the question “Is prayer really the answer?” In answer, he cited the Reformation, the early American struggle, the Korean recovery and revival through the largest Christian church were all fuelled by the getting together of the people of these nations intently praying and seeking Divine assistance. The power of a nation united in prayer is unarguably a potent force leading towards a new reformation which could steer us towards the “matuwid na daan” that Pnoy has pointed to, as the road not taken by previous society and past political and moral leaders. I think our prayer should be towards the unification of both civilian leaders and those of the clergy, a prayer which will make the factions realize that they are both from the forces of good and are seeking the same goals for God and country. Could they not, for the moment, suspend the rigidness of their stances and choose to lay aside the strong convictions on issues causing the divisiveness. Satan is the master of intrigue and would probably be the author of the divide and conquer strategy which has been employed by tyrants and evil men throughout the history of mankind. Just as during the Reformation, the church had to react through the Counter Reformation to stem the loss of legions of the faithful to the numerous rampant Protestant groups. They reacted with a few reforms within and perhaps the Council of Trent, though a bit late in coming, was the more serious response in the Counter Reformation.
We will never eradicate corruption if Pnoy and the CBCP will continue to be at loggerheads with irresolvable issues. If these issues continue to inhibit their coming together then we would have missed the rare opportunity of defeating corruption and making the Filipino level up to its birth right...a decent, moral, prosperous and progressive race.

The Council of Trent upheld salvation appropriated by grace through faith and works of that faith (not just by faith, as the Protestants insisted) because "faith without works is dead",
Let us then pray that Pnoy and Catholic Church set aside their differences and  work together as a team belonging to the forces good in a concerted fight against the forces of the evil lords of corruption, at the same time beseech our father to strengthen our faith that He will not forsake his people in these times of need.

*Let no one make us afraid... for in the end, only God remains

 My Beloved Philippines   By Father James Reuter, S.J.

BY HER own admission, GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) rightfully assessed that over the last decades, our republic has become one of the weakest, steadily left behind by its more progressive neighbors. Forty years ago, we were second only to Japan in economic stature, and way ahead of Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.. Today, at our present growth rate, it will take us 30 years to get to where Thailand is.
1. A population of 160 million;
2. Of those, 70 to 90 million (equivalent to our current population) will live below the poverty line;
3. Our national debt is estimated to be at US$200B (compared to US$28B when Marcos fled, and US$53B today);
4. We will be competing, not against Thailand or even Vietnam, but against Bangladesh;
5. We will be the most corrupt nation in Asia, if not in the world (we’re already ranked 11th most corrupt nation by Transparency International)...
THE SIGNS are clear. Our nation is headed towards an irreversible path of economic decline and moral decadence. It is not for lack of effort. We’ve seen many men and women of integrity in and out of government, NGOs, church groups and people’s organization devote themselves to the task of nation-building, often times against insurmountable odds. But not even two people’s revolutions, bloodless as they may be, have made a dent in reversing this trend. At best, we have moved one step forward, but three steps backward. We need a force far greater than our collective efforts, as a people, can ever hope to muster. It is time to move the battle to the spiritual realm. It’s time to claim God’s promise of healing of the land for His people. It’s time to gather God’s people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. Is prayer really the answer? Before you dismiss this as just another rambling of a religious fanatic, I’d like you to consider some lessons we can glean from history. England’s ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fueled by intense prayers. The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today -- a strong faith in God and a disciplined prayerful life. Throughout its history, and especially at its major turning points, waves of revival and prayer movements swept across the land. In recent times, we see Korea as a nation experiencing revival and in the process producing the largest Christian church in the world today, led by Rev. Paul Yongi Cho. No wonder it has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around it are faltering. Even from a purely secular viewpoint, it makes a lot of sense. For here there is genuine humbling and seeking of God through prayer, moral reformation necessarily follows. And this, in turn, will lead to general prosperity. Yes, we believe prayer can make a difference. It’s our only hope. TODAY, we launch this email brigade, to inform Filipinos from all over the world to pray, as a people, for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. We do not ask for much. We only ask for five minutes of your time in a day, to forward this email to your close friends and relatives. This is the kind of unity that can make a big difference. Of course, if you feel strongly, as I do, about the power of prayer, you can be more involved by starting your own prayer group or prayer center. We have tried people power twice; in both cases, it fell short. Maybe it’s time to try prayer power. God never fails. Is there hope? Yes! We can rely on God’s promise, but we have to do our part. If we humble ourselves and pray as a people, God will heal our land.. By God’s grace, we may yet see a better future for our children. “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14). If you care for your children and grandchildren, PLEASE pass this on.... Let’s not just abandon the Philippines.

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