Ceiling experience

By: Sofia Aliño Logarta January 31,2016 - 01:38 AM

Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao compared his  experience in the 51st International Eucharistic Congress to the Apostles’ experience of the Transfiguration – a ceiling experience to strengthen them in their low moments, so wisely provided by the Divine Spirit. This was a high that they would not want to leave. I totally agree. These have been days of inspiring, enlightening talks; and beautiful, meaningful liturgy with moving song and exuberant dancing, even multimedia presentations.

Heartrending testimonies were shared. Stories of the persevering, persecuted Christians in China. The testimony of a Japanese Christian who endured the earthquake and tsunami. They started with the question: Where is God in all these?  But in the process of rebuilding, they discovered Filipinos whose faith was revived in their encounter. Their Christian community expanded in the process and they concluded that, indeed, God has always been there.

A Spanish-speaking Filipina talked about her experience with prostituted women. She encouraged us to join her work because it was not that complicated. All one needed was to be ready to provide healing by listening to them and to accept them as Jesus did in the gospels.

A youth evangelizer showed that we need to invite the youth to do their part. Responding to a parish invitation,  the activity made her realize that she had been living mechanically; the work and the people she encountered  here revitalized her existence.

A child who had lived in the streets, broken by a dysfunctional family and a cruel existence found healing in various groups that nurtured her, reduced her insecurities and assisted in letting her best self emerge. She prayed for parishes to have a shelter for street children.

A Belgian woman, when asked why she had come replied:  I have found healing in the Holy Eucharist. She had been sexually abused by her own father. She had undergone healing through other means. But the real and deeper healing has been with the Holy Eucharist.

Yes, we can make Christ’s presence real, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle says but we need cultural intelligence. He explained that this meant firstly our consciousness of culture’s influence on our outlook, our values, our actions. Then we need to appreciate the culture of others and he proceeded to describe other cultures as experienced by individual persons.  We need to build bridges so we can walk, work together for the common good.

Realizing that although various generations are in the same place but do not share a common culture, he discussed extensively the culture in which our young people  are immersed.  Descriptions of the effect of social media and other electronic media were met with laughs of recognition.  There was alienation, segregation, individualism. The measure was often the mindset: what’s in this for me? Mindless accumulation of material things accompanied by a throwaway mentality is common. The blame game substitutes honest-to-goodness solutions.

He invited all of us to respond as Jesus did, not with condemnation, but with acceptance and dialogue. These are possible with cultural intelligence. Jesus displayed excellent cultural intelligence both in his parables and in his life.

The cardinal illustrated acceptance in his making a  handicapped sampaguita vendor among the apostles whose feet were  washed for the Last Supper liturgy. The gesture was literally magical for the young girl and the community. The Holy Eucharist, he stressed, is an answer to the call of the young for integrity, authenticity and community. It’s really up to all of us. How can we assist the youth towards the great love here? Have we really communicated this love in the language that touches a chord among the young? Our faith needs our imagination so we can truly reach out to them in a way that they can see the Divine Spirit being with them as a Gift of Love.

Sr. Vincent, my spiritual mentor, reminded us before the IEC opened: What shall I do to respond to this great gift of the Lord? bringing us this great high of the 51st IEC  experience!

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TAGS: 51st International Eucharistic Congress, Archbishop Romulo Valles, Cebu, IEC

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