Peace and char­ity


PEACE has been mis­con­strued as a sit­u­a­tion where ev­ery­thing con­forms to our in­di­vid­ual com­fort zones. When there is com­fort and re­lax­ation in a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion, it is im­me­di­ately “peace­ful” to us. Once a sit­u­a­tion fa­vors us and our com­forts, then there is “peace.” Th­ese are our mis­con­cep­tions of peace. Th­ese are the no­tions taught to us about peace.

On the other hand, char­ity is an act only for holy men and women. We who are not in the re­li­gious pro­fes­sion has noth­ing to do with this. Char­ity is sim­ply an act of giv­ing old clothes, buy­ing tick­ets or feed­ing pro­gram (plus all the doc­u­men­ta­tion and press re­leases).

Char­ity for most of us is a great deal for our po­lit­i­cal and even pro­fes­sional ca­reers. Char­ity is also syn­ony­mous with “love.” How well do we un­der­stand love? To­day, love is only con­strued as for op­po­site sexes (even same sex). It is no longer the virtue of love that is taught to us. It is more of the feel­ing of af­fec­tion rather than the “dy­ing for an­other.” To­day, it is more of I like you be­cause of your phys­i­cal self and be­cause I need you. I love you be­cause I want to use you, as in the words of Rev. Fr. Car­los Vil­l­abona, OAR of Colom­bia. Love should be “I be­lieve in you.” This should be our at­ti­tude to­wards love.

Christ “be­lieved” in his apos­tles. He did not make them his friends for he wanted to use them or to uti­lize them for his min­istry but he be­lieved in them. He be­lieved in their ca­pac­ity and in their abil­ity to love oth­ers. He ac­cepted them no mat­ter who or what they are. He man­i­fested the un­con­di­tional love of his Fa­ther in Heaven which in re­turn was re­cip­ro­cated by the Apos­tles by pass­ing it on to the dis­ci­ples and even­tu­ally to us. But how do we use “love” to­day?

*** Pres­i­dent Rodrigo Duterte re­cently halted the peace talks with the Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines (CPP)-New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA)-Na­tional Demo­cratic Front (NDF).

This is due to the lift­ing of the cease­fire by the NPA and some of its vi­o­la­tions. In the early stages of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, the ad­min­is­tra­tion was com­plain­ing about the re­quests of the NDF panel. In most in­stances, the ad­min­is­tra­tion gave in to the re­quests of the NDF. A hand­ful of al­leged rebels were given pro­vi­sional free­dom. Yet, ac­cord­ing to many po­lit­i­cal tech­nocrats of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, this is too much of a con­ces­sion. If they (NDF) want peace, let them ne­go­ti­ate with our terms and not with their terms, one mil­i­tary of­fi­cial opined.

In the Philip­pines, peace talks is al­ways cou­pled with cease­fire. In the late 80’s, Cory Aquino sought peace talks and de­clared a cease­fire. When the cease­fire col­lapsed, the talks also col­lapsed. This time, the cease­fire had been vi­o­lated, so the peace talks is sus­pended. In short, there will be no peace but rather fear in the com­ing months.

Peace should be taken in the con­text of jus­tice, char­ity and com­mon good. We should view peace not as a sit­u­a­tion of “rest in peace” but as a sit­u­a­tion of co­op­er­a­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tion, and ser­vice for the com­mon wel­fare.

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