The statue of Blessed Pedro Calungsod to be featured for his canonization in Rome shows him holding the book “Doctrina Christiana.”
Blessed Pedro Calungsod was a Catechist who was killed by pagan tribes in the Marianas 400 years ago while on a mission of evangelization.
This month, Pope Benedict XVI declared the “Year of the Faith” almost simultaneously with the canonization in Rome of Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
Blessed Pedro Calungsod’s canonization and Pope Benedict’s “Year of the Faith” are two opportunities that confront the Christian world under different circumstances of Christianity’s growth and development.
Blessed Pedro Calungsod’s apostolate was persecuted by primitive paganism, mostly by tribes engaged in voodoo or animist rituals, which, when faced with the “Doctrina Christiana” teachings, ended up in the martyrdom of Christian missionaries.
Pope Benedict’s XVI “Year of the Faith” addresses all Christians, especially lapsed and lukewarm Catholics in the modern lifestyle centers of the world, where a new kind of paganism erodes the morality of middle-class societies afflicted with doubt and unbelief in the teachings of Christ conveyed by the magisterium of the Catholic church.
Peter Kreeft, the most contagious Christian writer-thinker, describes the world’s predicament: Moral values have become both privatized and collectivized. The modern mind has fallen victim to what C.S. Lewis calls the “poison of subjectivism,” the idea that morality is man-made, private, subjective, a matter of feeling, a subdivision of psychology. “I feel” replaces “I believe.”
Kreeft further explains, “Sociology has socialized and collectivized morality; consensus determines the rightness or wrongness and democracy becomes a religion.”
The symptoms are all over. For example, the Philippines is being ridiculed by ultra-liberals, relativists and politicians shooting from the hip for being backwards, because ours is the only country in the world without a divorce law. What an insult to the Gospel!
Pope Benedict XVI, the theologian-philosopher-doctrinaire, possesses the mystical spirituality and the scholar’s intellectuality to discern the role of faith as an integral part of Christianity’s role in the modern world.
He admonishes that the Gospel of Christ and the living of a Christ-like life is the only authentic source of people holiness, a faith-driven holiness that is integral to the richness of human experience in the modern setting.
A new re-evangelization must happen in the hearts and minds of priests and the laity.
In the “Year of Faith” that starts this October all the way to 2013, we must revisit the updated “Catechism of the Catholic Church” book released several years after Vatican II. It contains all the significant Catholic beliefs, practices and rituals based on the truths of the Gospel and the traditions of the Church as guided by the Holy Spirit since the Pentecost, perpetuated and safeguarded from error by the Church.
“Doctrina Christiana,” the forerunner of “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” symbolizes Blessed Pedro Calungsod’s apostolic work during his lifetime. It holds the articles of faith used in the evangelization of the Philippines, in the earliest days of our 400 years of Hispanic heritage.
The beginnings of our rich Christian culture were shaped by the teachings of the “Doctrina Christiana.”
Our updated catechism will allow us to rediscover the beauty of Catholicism. If we study our Catechism seriously, we will fall in love with our faith immensely.
The Year of Faith must first remain in the awareness of both the clergy and laity of the Catholic church. It must not only be a theory, but must be translated into conscious acts and deeds that bring a fresh appreciation of our faith, and a feeling that we are gaining a renewed optimism and enjoyment of the benefits of living our faith.
Easily, three things come to mind. The first is to establish a theme for 2013 onward. There’s nothing more logical than the theme of living a Christ-like life. This will lead us to read regularly the New Testament to get into the spirit of the Gospel.
Secondly, we can follow what some Catholics feel is an idea to re-evangelize Christians by pursuing personal holiness at the level of our everyday tasks, whatever our station in life. St. Josemaria Escriva, the saint of ordinary people, calls it the Sanctification of Work and the patronage of Divine Filiation.
Thirdly, the Year of Faith can be manifested especially by the Catholic laity when they pursue personal holiness by pursuing excellence in all their upright works, big and small, keeping the faith alive and enjoyable when work is done with Christ-like fecundity. After all, Jesus, the God-man carpenter in Galilee, carried out the craftsmanship of his work in perfect obedience to the spirituality of his humanity and his divinity.
The canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in the Vatican this Sunday will expose the robust Catholicism of Filipinos to the whole world. On the votive Mass on Oct. 20 at the Vatican, Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales delivered a homily on “Proclaiming the Catholic Faith.” Tomorrow, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, in another votive Mass at the Vatican, will deliver his homily on “Our Vocation to Sanctity.”
We Filipinos can be proud of our faith. We are grateful to Blessed Pedro Calungsod for the tremendous blessings bestowed upon all of us.