Baclaran Man's Desperate Plead For Help
Baclaran Church is very well-known in Philippines as being one of the churches visited by the great Pope John Paul II. It was a very controversal visit as Marcos had ordered that the special Coconut Palace was built with the main aim of accommodating the Pope during his visit, but this offer was refused. Pope John Paul II had suggested that the money should have been better spent servicing the needs of those suffering under the blanket of poverty across Manila and subsequently checked into a hotel instead.
There is never a better day to visit Baclaran Church than on Baclaran Day. Thousands of people come from all over Manila to participate in the weekly service, making it nigh-on impossible to enter or even approach the church building itself. People flood out of the overcrowded building into the surrounding grounds, and out onto the road or market at either ends of the church. Vendors and beggars crowd around the exits looking for customers or donors and even the traffic grinds to a dull lull during the service.
One thing is for sure. If you are in Pasay City on a Wednesday, then you will know it is Baclaran Day.
During my last visit, I was fortunate enough to be able to find a tight path between the swathes of people and actually entered the church. Despite the crowds, there was one man kneeling alone, praying quietly to himself in his own private little circle of space just inside the door. People walked past him, blessed themselves in front of their God and continued on their path without paying him the slightest bit of interest. I found it fascinating how, in this crowded, chaotic, publicly open place, our man was afforded the privacy to pray. A tiny circle of quiet in this thriving throng of madness.
He seemed to be quietly praying at first, but as the minutes passed, he began to sound more desperate. He began pleading. Tears escaped him. He looked up to the roof of the church and raised his fists, shaking them, angrily.
I feel that religion has a lot to offer. Religion can offer hope, faith, confidence, support, togetherness. Religion also has a lot to answer for. I felt sad for the man that he seemed to be placing all his hopes in having his prayers answered and I truly hope that his prayers are answered and is able to address the issues of his life.
In the meantime, I imagine how any forthcoming reply might sound and I try to use these thoughts as inspiration in my life and to those around me:
"And he said unto God, why did you give me this life? I have worshipped you and been a good man, but you gave my family disease. You took away my job, my money and my food. You left me with no hope. Why can't I have what my friends have? Why can't I have a good job, a healthy family and lots of money? I have never asked you for much! Why did you do this?"
"And God said unto him, raise from your knees, my child. Go home and think carefully about what you want in life. I have given you hands, a brain, legs, a body. Go forth and use them to the very best of your ability and prove to me that you deserve to have all the things you have asked for. If you can do that, you will have everything you want."
This story raises a lot of issues about beliefs in fate and destiny. What do you think about this? Why not leave some comments below?