Prayer for My Nation This Summer of ‘22
By FR RODERICK SALAZAR SVD
“The summer smiles, the summer knows,” assures
Michel Legrand in his theme for the film, “Summer of ’42”;
“the summer knows and un-ashamed she sheds her clothes
the summer smoothes the restless sky and lovingly
she warms the sand on which you lie…
“The summer knows, the summer’s wise,
she sees the doubts within your eyes
and so she takes her summer time
tells the moon to wait and the sun to linger
twists the world round her summer finger
lets you see the wonder of it all”
“And if you’ve learned your lesson well
There’s little more for her to tell
one last caress, it’s time to dress for fall..”
Lyrics these, for a different context, of course.
For the story line of the movie cited.
But they still come to me on the lovely music
with which they blend so fittingly, as time has
moved me to a different century, another millennium
but to a season my nation is eagerly moving towards
as it offers a chance for a new direction for our people.
The light grows longer as summer lengthens and the days
draw nearer to crunch time for deciding our destiny.
April will soon yield to May and election battle lines are
now pulled tighter, prompting words and acts that tend to
divide Filipinos from one another.
For whatever reason, sometimes reason itself is thrown out,
Boasts are made of rally numbers real or bloated just to try
to show a candidate’s chances of winning.
Hurting words are uttered, not taken back but reiterated in the
vain hope for attention. In the guise of apology, vengeful
Oh, my Lord. I thank You for the gift of life, for our nation,
For the democracy that leads us to where we are now.
But Lord, we prostitute Your gift. We buy or sell our votes,
our rights, our present, our future. We spread lies, we distort
the truth, we plan to cheat, we plan to fool the other when in
fact it is ourselves we fool. Lord, have mercy.
You proclaimed to us You are the Way, Truth, Life.
But we sit on the side of the Way. We cannot handle Truth.
It is most easy to think myself as good and others bad
But I do remember the wise words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn
“The line separating good and evil passes NOT through
states NOR between classes, NOT between political parties
either — BUT right through EVERY HUMAN HEART.
Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small
bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of
all hearts, there remains… an uprooted small corner of evil”.
So I raise to You, my Lord, our fears and our doubts,
evil thoughts, words, actions planned or already released.
Mine and those of others. Lord, have mercy.
We each and all have individual dreams and ambitions for
ourselves, our families, our nation. In pursuit of them we
remain good or we forget our principles, our faith, our God.
Please forgive us. Help us use our intellect and memory
to really know what happened in the past, what is happening
now in the present. Help us NOT TO DISTORT TRUTH.
It seems good to say or hear that we forget the past and
move on. But we need to acknowledge what truly happened
yesterday in our nation’s history, own the bad things, rue them,
regret them and pledge that they do not happen again.
It does not help us to deceive ourselves saying everything in the
past was perfect and that we should only move on.
We can move on only if we truly cast out what weighed us down
as a people. Then only are we truly free and can aspire to and
help to meet and create a new dawn.
In my short-pants days many years ago, We opened school with
our anthem and the pledge that I don’t think we really understood
then but always proclaimed in our young voices:
I LOVE THE PHILIPPINES. It is the land of my birth.
It is the home of my people.
May all Filipinos, young and old today, voters or not.
remember that indeed we are one people.
Our votes may differ but we are meant to share talent and ability
when called upon to build our nation.
Help us remember and live Your Commandments especially
NOT TO STEAL. Whether votes or the nation’s funds.
In the watchful eye that we need to cast on public events
may we continue to remember Your New Commandment:
“Love one another AS I have loved You.
You are the Example and Your kind of loving the Pattern.
It is now not even to love others as I love myself.
Mine is not the love and the loving to follow but
You and Yours.
In a film called “Paul, Apostle of Christ”, there is a tender scene
with Paul and a pagan Roman official whose daughter was healed
by Gospel writer Luke whom Paul had recommended to him.
Though grateful, the official would eventually still oversee
Paul’s execution. But for the moment he listens to Paul:
“Imagine yourself looking out at the vast sea before you.
You reach down and you put a hand into the water and
you scoop it up towards you. Immediately, the water starts
leaking through your fingers until the hand is empty.
That water is a man’s life. From birth to death,
it is always slipping through our hands until it is gone
along with all that you hold dear in this world.
“But the Kingdom I speak of, that I live for,
is like the rest of the water out in the sea.
Man lives for that cup of water that slips through his fingers.
Those who follow Jesus Christ live for that
endless expanse of sea.”
The Roman nods but does not completely accept Paul’s words.
Paul assures him that he was not trying to convince him.
“There’s only a moment. It is not me.
It is Christ Himself who looks at you and shatters your defenses. And in that moment, you will understand
that you are completely known by God.
And you are COMPLETELY LOVED.
I pray that moment comes to you…”
I pray too that in the heat of this summer of 2022
and in the heat of the political campaign leading
to the May 9 national elections, we Filipinos who call
ourselves a Christian nation may not forget who
we follow or should be following beyond our leaders.
That though our choices differ, we do not forget to be love and
to be fair and just and kind.
May each and all of us be always aware and ever alert to not
let any evil rule our heart but allow only the good to prevail.
You are the Way, the Truth, and Life.
Let not the little truths that we hide or kill
or bury stay where they are.
As You rose from death,
let Truth arise, resurrect, transcend its crucifixion.
Let our nation taste Spring
even in this hot Summer of 2022.