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Misa de Gallo

By: JASON BAGUIA December 15,2017 - 11:40 PM


We rise before dawn and breathe the fresh, cool air. If the night is clear, we behold the beauty of stars, dead stars, live stars, constellations. Arm yourself with a cap or umbrella if rain is falling.

We go to church. The Christmas trees glow. So do the candles of the Advent wreath. We have looked forward to our Christ’s second coming. We hope we shall be judged worthy of heaven on the last day. Now we look back to his first arrival through the eyes of his Virgin Mother, the handmaid we honor in these nine dawn masses.

We wonder how it was in the days of old, when our grandparents’ grandmothers and grandfathers were likely to have been farmers. Did they grow cotton or corn? Did they pick mangoes or oranges after tilling the land and before going to Mass, to offer their harvest as thanksgiving? We do not forget those who have gone, who helped hand down to us gifts of faith, hope and love.

We think of our prayers. They say if you attend all of these nine pre-Christmas dawn masses, you will receive what you pray for. But prayer is more than petition. It is also adoration, thanksgiving, seeking forgiveness and intercession.

We have our individual prayers, but we pray for our nation too.

Marawi will not be rebuilt in a long time. May peace return there, a peace stronger than anything that will be built over the rubble.

Hearts that feel alienation and rage will stay vulnerable to the seductions of violent ideology. May those who feel desperate, especially in Mindanao, be shielded from attraction to terrorism.

Our leaders are dazzled by the power in their hands. May they remember they are temporary notwithstanding their efforts to be entrenched in their positions and choose the common good above their narrow interests.

We remember the lumads, the indigent communities whose daily life has been disrupted by sporadic armed conflict. May normalcy return to their lands.

We remember the victims of crime and their loved ones left behind. May the hand of the Christ-child lead the departed to restful shores and may his light fill the bereaved with warmth and consolation.

Our thoughts are with the victims of the government’s campaign against drugs — the wounded, those killed, the widowed and the orphaned, the law enforcers who perished. May those who have had to bury their dead be soothed by the hope of seeing their loved ones again. May all come to stand against bloodshed as a solution to society’s ills.

We pray for those who are hurting: the poor and lonely, the depressed and brokenhearted, the people who are putting back together the frail pieces of their lives. May the Son of Mary, himself the morning star that never sets be their strength and pledge of victory.

We pray, too, for a world torn by strife, pride and prejudice. May mankind recognize that it belongs to one family under the fatherhood of the Son of Mary, the foster-son of Joseph who is the face of mercy. May we embrace one another as brothers and sisters.

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