“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8
the funeral mass for Corazon C. Aquino is now over. the homily of Rev. Catalino Arevalo S. J., Cory’s spiritual adviser, was simple yet profound. part of it enumerated three distinct Cory attributes that are rarely inherent in one ordinary human being all together.
1. her selflessness – Cory always sought what was beneficial for others, always before her own self, her family even. in her times of suffering, she would always think about them and what she could still do for them.
let us ask ourselves: how may times did we have the chance and the capability to help lola carry her heavy bags while she crosses the street, but did not? because we are too focused on our timetable, that lifting a finger to help someone in need would be a waste of time. how many times do we change our mobile phones in a year to be “in”, yet oblivious to the immediate needs of a relative who desperately needs financial support for immediate medical attention, because he can’t pay us back ? or simply, how many times did we stop and look through a person’s eyes when we answer his questions? are we always too self-indulged, that what we want to see are only ourselves? or we are just too selfish, we won’t respond at all. are we too eager to go first in line, that we viciously sneak our way to the front, regardless whether those who came ahead of us honestly wait for their turn no matter how long it takes? simple things that we could simply do, but we won’t. even if we can. because i, me, mine always comes first. such selfishness.
2. faith in God– Cory’s faith in God is so strong and powerful. through all the episodes of her life, God was ever present. God was truly a part of her everyday life, she attributed every moment of it as His will for her. she accepted each difficulty with resignation and each blessing with gratitude. she was a Marian devotee, remembering always to pray the rosary. she went to mass regularly, and she prayed without ceasing, always seeking the Lord in whatever circumstance. as such, her faith is so overwhelming, it cannot be contained within her. it burst into flickers of light to everyone who came close to her, until that flicker glowed into their own. later will they realize that Cory had planted a mustard seed of faith in them, that grew as days go by that she lived by her example. needless to say, everyone who came close to her or those who only see her on tv, now pray the rosary, and hear mass as often too. all because of Tita Cory. imagine how many souls she had saved just by living a life of faith in God.
let’s ask ourselves: how involved is God in our life? how many hours, minutes or perhaps seconds do we spend each day just thinking about him? do we remember to thank him for little blessings like a beautiful sunny day or perhaps the smell of roses? do we talk to God when we’re alone in the car and got caught in the traffic asking him to give us more patience? do we tell him our innermost secrets? or ask his advise when we had to make an important decision in life? or do we remember Him only during calamities, misfortunes or sickness? such a shame.
3. her courage– Cory was only a woman, the weaker sex, or so they say. but she has proven that gender has nothing to do with courage at all. when Ninoy was arrested and eventually assassinated, she was left to raise five children. that alone required much. but lead a nation to stand up against a regime that has been in power for so long; to survive seven coup attempts during her term; and to fight that last battle with colon cancer with such faith? indeed Cory was incredible and inspiring. that was an understatement of course. how great is Tita Cory, only a woman; but how remarkable and noteworthy that brave and grown men weep at her passing. her courage was a gift that God gives only to those who deserve it. and believe me, if heroism is defined by one’s courage and bravery, then indeed Cory Aquino is a hero.
let’s think about this: we already knew that Tita Cory was deeply respected and admired as our icon of democracy. but only in her death did we realize how much she is loved and will be missed by the Filipino nation. all of us wish to be at least loved and missed at our own funerals. maybe admired and looked up to, for those who seek power and recognition. but are they as brave enough to fill in her shoes? to fight for the rights of the weak? to speak for those who can’t? do they have enough courage to put God, country and family above themselves? are they valiant enough to stand up for what is good, right and moral when all around them dictates otherwise?
if each Filipino could only pick up bits and pieces of lessons from her life and make them part of their own, what a beautiful nation this would be. with little Tita Corys in each of us, how could we ever go wrong? for with that faith in God that she lived by, who can ever be against us?
thus was Corazon C. Aquino: a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, a public servant, a President, a hero, an icon, an inspiration, a pillar of strength, a gift from God, a Marian devotee, God’s loving daughter. and her life – a picture of crosses and roses. all together is a sweet blend that is Cory. truly one of a kind.
her funeral procession is now over. she is gone forever. but her legacy lives on. and her selflessness, her courage and her faith in God… i pray would remain engraved in our hearts forever.
for the first time, i can now truly say i am proud to be Filipino. because Cory taught me what it means to be one.
Maraming Salamat, TITA CORY!