Thursday, June 2, 2011
Manny Pacquiao's reverence for life
BY MINYONG ORDOÑEZ
I THANK Manny Pacquiao for fighting for the life of the unborn. With Lea Salonga on the opposing side, Manny is heaven sent.
Manny didn’t pore over Humanae Vitae or Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Nor does he possess the erudition of our famous Jesuit theologian Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J., or the brilliance of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., priest-lawyer, constitutionalist, and columnist who can rationalize the nuanced provisions of the controversial (Reproductive Health) RH Birth Control Bill.
What Manny brings to life is his primeval instinct. A reverence for life that’s divine-authored. A primeval instinct which Pope Benedict XVI asserts as “written in the hearts of man.” Manny lives it.
Manny Pacquiao and Lea Salonga are two of our one-in-a-million iconic symbols of pride in the Filipino race. Both make good copy. But look how different their attitudes in life are.
Lea is a world-class artist who grew up in an urban sophisticated milieu, polished by an eloquent aesthetics of Broadway theater craft and the trendy lifestyle mode of New York and London. She epitomizes the modern liberated woman. She stands for the passage of the RH Bill, in the name of a feminist-conceived freedom.
I do not know the expanse and depth of Lea’s spirituality on the meaning of family life. All I know is that she has the deepest respect for the privacy and freedom of a woman’s sexuality. It’s when Lea sings that I know she has a lot of soul. Whatta voice! Her stage presence is awesome.
Manny Pacquiao comes from the dirt-poor peripherals of Gen. Santos in Mindanao. He endured hunger and pain in his youth, eked out his food for the day. True grit made him a street-smart survivor. He discovered boxing as his art, worked at it by pushing the limits of his muscles and bones up to the peaks of power and perfection. Manny is today hailed as the greatest boxer in the world. When Manny beats bigger white or black American pugilists, my spirit of nationalism soars up to high heavens.
Manny’s faith in God is simple, almost childlike. He goes down on his knees before and after each fight. Before to ask God’s protection and after to offer his thanks. As soon as he comes home from his bout, he hears Mass at Quiapo Church to honor the Black Nazarene, the patron of Filipino macho men. Pope Benedict XVI is amazed with this kind of Filipino connectivity with God. He calls it a vibrant and robust Folk Catholicism.
Manny and Lea for sure love and adore their children, their crown jewels. If need be they’ll make many sacrifices, big or small, to raise them educated, morally upright, and happy.
Their mothers, Manny’s Mommy Dionisia and Lea’s Mom Ligaya probably went through their pregnancy without having to confront an RH Bill advocating freedom of choice: To take abortifacients thus avoiding additional financial burdens of mothering. Or to accept the inconvenience of a big tummy overload, the pains of birthing and personal sacrifices out of love for children.
It’s providential that the maternal instincts of Mommy Dionisia and Mom Ligaya prevailed. Manny and Lea were born and the whole nation is extremely proud and richer because of it.
Mother nature equipped women with maternal instincts to put love and authenticity in the act of procreation. Mother nature also included the plan of regulating a woman’s birthing season by assigning infertile days in her reproductive organ and the occurrence of menopause during her old age. No need to tamper with Mother nature’s law.
Parenthood is never easy, whether for the indulgent rich or the feudal serfs. Raising a family whether of two or twelve is never easy. The woman’s birthing pains alone are a signal that motherhood is a selfless role. The biblical passage “by the sweat of the brow” is a signal that fatherhood is also a selfless role. So why do it? Because the physiology and psychology of man and woman is to love and procreate which is a miracle and a mystery. That’s why procreation is deemed as God-authored.
Methinks the RH Bill is not about Congressman Edcel Lagman and his team mates acting as knights in shining armor in eliminating the causes of poverty. They can’t because their politics is intertwined within the system of a government saddled with systemic incompetence and endemic corruption.
In the final analysis, the RH Bill, if enacted into law, will define who we are as a human being. We will be either wise or foolish. Convinced or skeptical. Using conscience that’s well-formed or malformed. Believer in God or Atheist. Obedient to God’s will or arrogant.
There are two passages in the Gospel that I find useful in processing judgment on whether the RH Bill must be passed or junked.
The first is: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?”
The second is: “Unless you become like little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Mull on them!
Minyong Ordoñez is a freelance journalist and a member of the Manila Overseas Press Club. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org