Bishop Palma’s prayer for Du30 and country

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc July 13,2017 - 10:38 PM

BAÑOC

When I attended the last scheduled Holy Mass last Sunday at Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, I heard for the first time the Oratio Emperata for peace issued by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.

The presiding priest led the people in praying the Oratio Emperata after the post-communion prayer. I observed that the people were serious and sincere in praying for peace in Mindanao and in the entire country.

I appreciate the way the Oratio Emperata was written by the good archbishop because it is more on calling for unity in prayer for peace. Unlike some previous pastoral letters of other bishops that could cause division instead of unity because they tackled politics, this one is way, way better and truly spiritual.

Bishop Palma, like the ordinary Filipino people who manifested their sentiments in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, knows that terrorism is a common enemy. In fact, said survey showed that majority of the Filipinos are in favor of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Part of Palma’s Oratio Emparata states, “As we condemn terrorism that is totally against the tenets of any religion of peace, move and guide us to pursue what leads to peace.” The prayer further states, “Draw us together so that we may all work for harmonious relationships among people of different faiths.”

Clearly, Palma acknowledged that in times of crisis, there is a need for us to unite together and stand against our common enemy — terrorism.

Apparently, Palma’s Oratio Emperata proves that he is in touch with reality, and he is well aware of the deepest thoughts of the ordinary people as they rally behind the President in fighting against the Maute Group, the local contact of international terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The content of the Oratio Emparata is very objective, devoid of any tone of hate and resentment or destructive partisanship. It gives hint to the faithful to be cooperative with the government’s decision in solving the problem in Marawi City. It does not fail to call on the faithful to be vigilant if the government runs beyond the sphere of its limit.

Veering away from any attempt at confrontation and judgment, the prayer went on: “Teach us to be calm in the face of Martial Law, to be obedient to the just commands of lawful authority, and not to provoke violent reaction. Keep us vigilant and responsive if it goes the way of evil.”

Palma is correct in including the President in the prayer. People know the many problems that the President has to decide on amidst the calamities in our country today both natural and man-made.

“Bless our President, government leaders and those in military service. Grant them wisdom and integrity of heart as they strive to respond to the problems of peace and order, of the continuing disruptive activities of other rebel groups, the problems of criminality and drugs, of corruption and underdevelopment.”

Instead of attacking the President in anything that he does, it is desirable to include him in our prayers so that he will be given the wisdom of Solomon in making the right decisions against the enemy of peace. It is understandable that because too much politics poisons our democratic environment, there are politicians who forget their job, except to criticize the president without letup. For God’s sake, in this very time of crisis, they should know when to do politicking and when to set aside politics for the common good. To advance one political agenda at any cost is simply unpatriotic.

The concluding part of Palma’s prayer says, “Bless the people of Marawi. Bless the people of Mindanao. Bless our country. May harmony and justice be assured, and lasting prosperity come with peace. Amen.”

I would like to humbly add a Bible verse to Palma’s prayer to emphasize that God is glad for his people if they unite in prayer. God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Lord, heal our land.

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