the curious case of Juan Dela Cruz

“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead with our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”  Ephesians 2:4-5

 

Once there was a man named Juan.  He was born to a loving couple of honorable descent.  Though they were not nipa-hutrich, their family was well-provided for.  They lived in a nipa hut surrounded by luscious vegetation, alongside a cool and clear river teeming with fish on which they could feed on.  His parents raised farm animals as if they were family.  Every morning they wake up to a burst of golden sunshine with sweet music of birds tweeting.  And late at nights, they sleep on lullabies of crickets as glittering stars lit up the evening sky.  Such was the simple life of Juan.

 

He grew up to be a robust and fine, young gentleman.  His father and mother toiled the fields with hopeful joy as they dreamt of a bright future for their young boy.  They sent him to school determined that Juan would become an educated man whose future would be as bright as the mornings they woke up to.  And studied hard did Juan.  He was intelligent and hard-working, and soon enough, he finished his studies with honors.  Indeed, Juan was a very bright young man.

 

But something happened along the way that slowly ate up the essence of Juan.  His knowledge grew inversely proportional to his morals.  The once simple Juan learned just oh so much, that simplicity no longer satisfied him.  The pride that was born of his acquired knowledge became a curse.  His simple needs became grand. And as such, he mistakenly began to equate success with having more and wanting all that the world has to offer.

 

moneyOn this basis, he started his own family.  He married the richest girl he met, built a mansion, had a string of flings, and had numerous off springs, legitimate and otherwise.  This he accomplished as he raked money in, regardless of the means, business, politics, gambling; name it, he ventured in it.  The simple Juan became Don Juan.

 

But everything has its price.  And Juan was not ready to pay.  One day, Juan was stricken with cancer.  As his family tried to have him cured by the best doctors and medicine that money can buy, his precious mri1stash of money started to dwindle.  So did his properties.  And finally, even his so-called friends.  He was so desperate to get cured that even that valuable piece of land on which their nipa hut once stood, he contemplated to sell.  Poor Juan.  Even his children’s children were now burdened to pay all the debts that he eventually accumulated not only because of his illness, but from all the vices that he unmindfully busied himself with, while he was on a roll.  Poor, poor Juan. Nothing left but his frail body and a broken spirit.  Is there still hope for poor Juan? 

 

Kabayan, why then do we get this feeling that we already met Juan?  Is it because we all knew Juan from somewhere?  As a child, maybe we had played with him.  Or maybe, we were seatmates at school.  Or worked with him in his firm.  Maybe we were at his wedding, or his children’s birthday parties.  Maybe we were drinking buddies? or one of his flings  perhaps? Or probably we were his physician, who tried so hard to cure him but didn’t.  

 

How the story of Juan ended is really up to us.

Because Juan Dela Cruz is a myth.  But his story is real...

His full name is JUAN DELA CRUZ…

And his full life is the CROSS.

 

cross

Curiously, it is also our story whose ending shall depend on our sincere repentance and submission to the will of God in the remaining moments of our lives.   

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Francis M-ang kababayan ko, bagets forever

 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

kiko2Francis Magalona is now being laid to rest as I write.  it’s been almost a week now since he passed on and so many praises had already been said.  honestly, the moment i learned of his death, i instantly wanted to write about him.  but what really do i know about him except at a distance?  so i held back and watched on GMA7 as everyone close to him share anecdotes of what he was, as they all knew him.

the reason why i really feel sad is somehow because of the connection that we have.  i grew up in his Bagetsera.  bagets, that’s entertainment, breakdancing, spray nets, and tusok pants.   those were the years when we were bridging the gap from the age of the young to the age of the restless.  and it was a happy era.  a carefree generation.  a joyful batch.  so that in his death, a part of my bagets life died too.

looking back, i am truly amazed about how Kiko, as he is fondly called, was able to accomplish so much in such a short lifetime.  his life, as we all see it, was a full life.  he was all over the place. no lulls, no emptiness, no gaps.  his death was an exclamation point to a statement whose message we must all learn from.  and that statement is not to take life for granted.  ours is but just a journey. and whatever we can do today to make the world a better place as we pass by, then by all means, JUST DO IT. and NOW!

morbid as it may seem, and somehow a bit funny, i am already designing in my mind a slide show which i would want to be shown in my own wake or funeral with matching musical score.  i have even joked with bhoy that when i die,  i prefer that i also be cremated so that they will always have me close to them.  because you see, cancer or without, we are all dying in a different kind of way.  but then again, all that would no longer matter to me when i die.   but what is important now, is how i shall be living the days ahead of me fully. (how i wish with the same kindness, compassion, courage and drive that Francis M had).  we just need to be prepared and remember that everyday  is a gift.  a day that leads us closer to Home, and be with our Creator for eternity. 

kikoall of  Francis’ accomplishments and passion were already enumerated in all the other articles and blogs written about him.  i think, the real message of his life  is for us to reflect it in our own.  our life shall be measured by our good deeds, the trials that we overcome and  the people whose lives we touch.  and that is what Francis M had become.  over and above the accolades, he will be remembered as a man who truly cared, a man who truly loved, a man who truly lived.  touch act to follow, but then again, as Jesus’ sacrifice would not have been in vain, so should Kiko’s death.  Kiko lives for as long as we instill in our hearts his child-like submission to our Father’s will. 

KALEIDOSCOPE WORLD
(Francis Magalona)
So many faces, so many races
Different voices, different choices
Some are mad, while others laugh
Some live alone with no better half
Others grieve while others curse
And others mourn behind a big black hearse
Some are pure and some half-bred
Some are sober and some are wasted
Some are rich because of fate and
Some are poor with no food on their plate
Some stand out while others blend
Some are fat and stout while some are thin
Some are friends and some are foes
Some have some while some have most
Every color and every hue
Is represented by me and you
Take a slide in the slope
Take a look in the kaleidoscope
Spinnin’ round, make it twirl
In this kaleidoscope world
Some are great and some are few
Others lie while some tell the truth
Some say poems and some do sing
Others sing through their guitar strings
Some know it all while some act dumb
Let the bassline strum to the bang of the drum
Some can swim while some will sink
And some will find their minds and think
Others walk while others run
You can’t talk peace and have a gun
Some are hurt and start to cry
Don’t ask me how don’t ask me why
Some are friends and some are foes
Some have some while some have most
Every color and every hue
Is represented by me and you
Take a slide in the slope
Take a look in the kaleidoscope
Spinnin’ round, make it twirl
In this kaleidoscope world

francis2

RAP IN PEACE FRANCIS! REST IN PEACE…

Save the Embryonic Humans

By Deacon Keith Fournier 3/7/2009                                                                                                                                             Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network.  Let us broadcast,  we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

With the stroke of a Presidential pen human embryos will become property, capable of being “manufactured” like a commodity and available to be used as spare parts. We must speak for human embryonic Life as we speak for all human life. We must expose and oppose this new form of genetic slavery wherein an entire class of human persons is being labeled as property to be used by those who are more powerful. CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – Two years before he would give his “Yes” to the invitation of the Holy Spirit to become the successor of Peter, Karol Cardinal Wotyla, spoke to the U.S. Bishops. His ominous observation was republished in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 1978: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” And take it up we must. The task is huge and the implications beyond what we can begin to expect. The challenges we face in undertaking this task include the insults, accusations and calumny of even our fellow citizens. We will, for example, be accused of being against progress and even “anti-science”, when nothing could be further from the truth. We are simply Pro-life and believe that science exists to serve the person, the family and the common good. Science, after all, can become a force for evil and our common history has shown how that can occur when the human heart and capacity for making the right choice has been so clearly corrupted. On Monday, March 9, 2009, President Barrack Obama, whose election offered the promise of “hope and change”, will hold a signing ceremony where he will sign one more Executive Order against life. This one is expected to remove all restraints from the use of the always deadly process of extracting stem cells from human embryonic life for experimentation. It will also open up the funding of such lethal efforts with Federal tax dollars. This is so even though research has clearly demonstrated that other types of stem cell research, for example the use of adult stem cells which can be extracted with the consent of the donor and which do not kill, have produced even greater promise and results. In addition, cells derived from fetal chord blood have shown significant promise but have received little or no attention or research support. Recent reports have heralded the discovery of what may be an alternative to the deadly process of extracting embryonic stem cells and killing the embryonic human person in the process. They have led to hopes of using what are being called “induced pluripotent stem cells”, or iPS cells. These can now be produced by activating genes in adult cells which “reprogram” them and do not require the use of dangerous viruses or involve the taking of a human life. However, the signing of this Executive Order is expected to open the door not to the promotion of these life friendly alternatives but rather to the unlimited production of human embryonic life which could then be killed and used. With the stroke of a Presidential pen human embryos will become property, capable of being “manufactured” like a commodity and available to be used as spare parts in experimentation which has produced no discernible scientific results. Make no mistake, every so called “extraction” of embryonic stem cells kills a living human embryo. In 1987, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See issued its important teaching entitled “Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation”. Among the many questions it answered with absolute clarity was: “What Respect is due to the human embryo, taking into account his nature and identity?” The answer given by the Magisterium: “The human being must be respected – as a person – from the very first instant of his (her) existence.” Unfortunately, the prevailing view of human rights entrenched in American judicial precedent and legislation denies the equal protection of the law to the human embryonic person. American law refuses to recognize that human embryos have a right to life and a right to a future. There are a number of differing philosophical arguments offered to promote the lie that these fundamental rights are conferred by positive civil law rather than by the Natural Law. Most of these arguments reserve the use of the concept of “person” to those humans who are deemed to somehow be “independent” and/or “autonomous”. They are also promoted by people who now call themselves “medical ethicists”. These folks have substantial academic degrees and professional pedigree and sit on Advisory Councils. Some of these new “ethicists” try to make a distinction between “potential” and “actual” human persons and relegate the child in the womb to the category of being only a “potential” human person. Others view interdependency as a negative and insist on independence and “autonomy” as a criterion for any human rights to ever attach. Some equate the human embryo’s dependency on the mother as a form of “non-personhood”. Still others propose a progressive notion of consciousness as indicative of a growing presence of “personhood”. A few concede that human embryos are human beings but deny they are persons. We find all of these ideas in the field sadly referred to these days as “Bio-Ethics” even though such positions are anything but ethical. We find them in textbooks being used to teach the subject to future medical practitioners. (See, e.g., Singer and Kuhse, “Bioethics”)

One of these “ethicists”, Michael Tooley denies the child in the womb should have any rights at all. His rationale evolved over time. In each version, as scientific research cast serious doubt on his claims, he conveniently shifted his ground to reach the same conclusion. Yet, human embryology and developmental biology affirm that a human embryo is not distinct in kind from a human being, but a human being at an early stage of development. Even prior to implantation, a human embryo is a unique living human being with the genetic constitution and epigenetic primordial that continues to develop throughout his or her life. However, the right not to be killed in the womb, the right to be born and the right to participate in human relationships are rejected for these little persons. Human embryonic lives are reduced to what one astute Catholic philosopher and lawyer, Robert George, called a “pre-personal way of being human”.

The idea that people can be less than persons is now being applied to other stages of human development outside of the womb. The disabled (physically and mentally), the aged and the infirmed are increasingly denied the protection of the law. There is an emphasis on individual rights over relation and autonomy over solidarity. The late Servant of God John Paul wrote in “The Gospel of Life” concerning what he called this “remarkable contradiction”. He further elaborated: “…the roots of the contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human rights and their tragic denial in practice lies in a notion of freedom which exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way, and gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them.”(Par. 19) This counterfeit notion of freedom also views comatose human beings as no longer worthy of being called “persons”. Their caregivers are encouraged to stop giving them food and water. Seriously ill children are viewed as interlopers who should not continue to use medical and social resources. Whether the criteria for being recognized as a human person is a satisfactory level of brain function, an agreed upon notion of self awareness, non-dependency, individual autonomy, or some similar “acceptable” level of physical or mental capacity, this reduces the human being to a human doing, valuable not simply because they are members of our human family and gifts to be received but based upon their functionality and subject to deadly treatment once they are no longer of economic value.

There can be do debate that we were all once human embryos. We all lived in the first home of the whole human race, our mothers womb. For the Christian, we further profess that the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, was a human being, who, in the embryonic stage, lived in his mother’s womb. At every age and stage of our “human-being- ness”, be it in the womb, as an infant, as a child, an adolescent, an adult, in our times of illness, in our old age, we have always been dependent on others and vulnerable. This is what it means to be a human being. The emphasis of the proponents of the culture of death on independence and autonomy informs a worldview that Pope John Paul II taught threatens the “…entire structure of human rights.” (Gospel of Life, Par. 19)

So, we must rise and suffer the indignities of being verbally pilloried, accused of being anti-science” or “impeding progress”. We must speak for human embryonic Life as we speak for all human life. We must expose and oppose this new form of genetic slavery wherein an entire class of human persons is being labeled as property to be used by those who are more powerful. In conclusion, I speak specifically to my fellow Catholics; we will be at the front line. Why? Because our Church has been absolutely clear in her unbroken teaching on the dignity of every human person, including what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently called “embryonic persons”. Be ready to be called, as happened recently in response to our opposition to the appointment of dissident Catholic Kathleen Sebelius to the HHS, “Catholic Extremists”. The late beloved Servant of God John Paul II called it and he was indeed prophetic: “We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.”