The last three months have simply been a dizzying campaign period for the presidency. Interestingly, we’ve seen a plethora of political styles ranging from the traditional to the more contemporary with particular emphasis on social media. Moreover, it’s been quite interesting to observe the contrasting rhetorics by which the contenders have tried to woo their electorate. Be that as it may, at the end of the day only the numbers will determine the fate of the would-be presidential elect. Hence, the principle – vox populi, vox Dei – will hold sway.
Based on unofficial results provided by the COMELEC, it appears that Mr. Bongbong Marcos, son of Ferdinand Marcos, a former dictator deposed in 1986, may be the apparent winner, leading with a landslide vote of 31 million. Whilst I may be a bit disappointed that my choice is lagging behind, I nevertheless have to respect the results of the national election. Vox populi, Vox Dei!
I submit that the right to suffrage is an inalienable right. As to what the final outcome will be, there is no other choice but to accept the voice of the people. After all, vox populi, vox Dei takes primacy in any democracy. Hence, to the would-be winner of the presidential elections, I hereby reserve my congratulatory note.
To the would-be President, I wish you well in your public service endeavor. If I may, I sincerely wish to share for your success St. Josemaria Escriva’s commentary in point no. 48 of The Way, which reads:
“You lack character. What a mania for interfering in everything ! You are bent on being the salt of every dish. And — you won’t mind if I speak clearly — you haven’t the qualities of salt: you can’t be dissolved and pass unnoticed, as salt does.
You lack a spirit of sacrifice. And you abound in a spirit of curiosity and ostentation.”St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, #48
A Servant Leader
Viewed in a constructive way, the message of St. Josemaria provides a clear picture of how a leader ought not to be. Clearly, he wants to point out the importance of having a spirit of sacrifice for the motherland, coupled with a disdain for the spirit of curiosity and ostentation. In a word, it points to harnessing the virtues of a servant leader.
Quo Vadis? To Take the High Road or the Low Road?
Given that this recent election has driven a wedge of disunity amongst the Filipino people, it behooves all of us to ask the existential question: Quo Vadis? Where do we go from here?
Without a doubt, the answer is to take the high road. Indeed,there is no other choice lest one falls into despair. Obviously, the right thing to do is to work for solidarity and the common good.
At this juncture, I wish to highlight some points in my blog entitled “To Take the High Road or the Low Road”, dated October 11, 2020, which I find apropos to the present situation. In a nutshell, these are the highlights:
The High Road: A Call for Heroism
The havoc that has been wrought by the Pandemic as well as the divisiveness engendered by the recent elections have only made it more urgent that we rethink our style of life, our relationships, the organizational of our societies and, above all, the meaning of our existence.
For the sake of the common good, we need to rise above our human frailties and shine forth as heroes by dint of self-sacrifice. We need to feel the grief and suffering of those in the fringes of society. This should move us to be sensitive to the needs of our bretheren who have less in life.
Be a Good Samaritan or a Bystander
In rallying everyone to take the high road, Pope Francis points out that the social milieu of today may be likened to the characters in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. He said: “Each day we have to decide whether to be Good Samaritans or indifferent bystanders. And if we extend our gaze to the history of our own lives and that of the entire world, all of us are or have been, as each of the characters in the parable. All of us have in ourselves something of the wounded man, something of the robber, something of the passers-by, and something of the Good Samaritan.”1 Hence, the Pope asks: “Which of these characters do you resemble? We need to acknowledge that we are constantly tempted to ignore others, especially the weak. Let us admit that…we have become accustomed to looking the other way, passing by, ignoring situations until they affect us directly.”2
Furthermore, the Pope continues: “the parable eloquently presents the basic decision we need to make in order to rebuild our wounded world. In the face of so much pain and suffering, our only course is to imitate the Good Samaritan. Any other decision would make us either one of the robbers or one of those who walked by without showing compassion for the sufferings of the man on the roadside. The parable shows us how a community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion and act instead as neighbors, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good. At the same time, it warns us about the attitude of those who think only of themselves and fail to shoulder the inevitable responsibilities of life as it is.”3
To Be a Protagonist
In essence, each one of us is a protagonist in this COVID-19 pandemic and this post-election scenario. We cannot shirk from responsibility. One’s choice of action, on a daily basis, would have implications as to the final outcome of this crisis. As the Pontiff emphatically said: ”The pandemic is changing the world and putting us in crisis. It is impossible to emerge from a crisis the same as before. Either we come out better or we come out worse. And how we emerge depends on the decisions we make during the crisis.”4
To Take the High Road
Indeed, we need to come out of this crisis better. Otherwise, we fail and come out worse. Therefore, it behooves us to take the high road of greater sacrifice. After all, as each of us commits to exert one’s best efforts each day, then, we can only rest assured that it will ultimately foster solidarity and contribute to the common good.
Fall in Love and It Will Decide Everything
Finally, I would like to share with you a quotation, which hopefully will inspire you to take the high road, to wit:
“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything”.5 This love for God, that can approach everything in life with passion, is possible thanks to the Spirit, for “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom 5:5).Pope Francis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, 132
- Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti, 69
- Ibid, 64
- Ibid, 67
- Interview of Pope Francis, Carmen Magallon, Il Mio Papa
- Pedro Arrupe SJ, Enamórate