By Fr. Tirso Villaverde


Religion columnist Rev. Tirso Villaverde (l, far end of table) had dinner at the closing of Monastero's Ristorante in Chicago with his friends Mary, Zel, Violet, Mike and Mary. A church is buying the property because the owner is retiring. Monastero's was a big supporter of Fr. Tirso’s Parish St. Margaret Mary in Rogers Park. (Photo courtesy of Pat Manalansan)

..."How blessed are we? "

...continued from Home Page

Gut instinct

As we well know, Jesus came to change all of that around. In so many ways, Jesus came to show that the test of God’s love was not to be measured in how wealthy you were but in how much you cared for the lives of others.

This was the point to the Beatitudes when Jesus said “Blessed are the poor.” In saying such things, Jesus came to prove that the true measure of how much God loved any human being was not to be found in how well off he or she may be. On the contrary, the true measure was to be found in the love of God Himself shown to all of humankind in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In other words, Jesus came to show that God’s love was freely given to all people despite what a person’s status might be.

top right photo: The Pope prays for Vinta victims. The typhoon claimed no fewer than 250 victims in Mindanao during the Christmas holidays. Thousand of families are in temporary shelters. See related story on page14. (Rappler photo)

Oftentimes, though, whether we want to admit it or not, we can still fall into the trap of believing we are more blessed because we have certain things or the more life is going our way. For example, when we reflect on our lives and “count our blessings,” we almost always consider as blessings things like stability in a job, financial wellbeing, good health, etc.

What about when life is not going our way? What about when it is one “bad hair day” after another? What if we lose the wealth or the fame or the success? Our gut instinct is to go into the mode of “Why me?” In this way, we begin to convince ourselves that we were only being blessed by God when our lives were full of those things we might consider to be positives. But when our lives begin to be full of the negatives, we may tend to think the opposite.


In the same vein, we might look at people who live in poverty, ill health, or constant struggle with such sympathy because they have a life that is “so bad.” There is the tendency to think that people in such situations may not be as loved by God as strongly as others. Again, though, Jesus changed all of that.

As we begin this new year, perhaps the best resolution any one of us can make is to believe more and more that we are blessed by God both when life is going our way AND even when life is not going our way. It does not mean that we are less loved or less blessed by God simply because we may have lost a job, a relationship, our health, etc. God is loving us and blessing us despite the presence or absence of those things. Furthermore, if God loves us and blesses us regardless of our status in life, His love and blessing of others is just as freely given. Knowing this, we can respond in sheer gratitude and live lives in greater fidelity to God’s commands not because we feel guilty but because we are extremely humbled and grateful for being loved and blessed by God.

When we are able to get to this point, the greater the chances are that there will never be anything that can happen to our lives that will make us forget that we are blessed. Whether we have the material things or not, whether our health is good or not, whether we have all the fame in the world or are basically in the background, nothing will ever take away the truth that God loves us and showers us with His blessings. That is the truth we may need to live by in this coming new year!



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