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12 signs why Filipinos are God's Chosen ones
« on: June 10, 2007, 06:20:28 PM »
12 signs why Filipinos are God's Chosen ones
By TJ Burgonio

 Are Filipinos God's "chosen people"?

Can we believe that Filipino workers slaving abroad, those modern-day gypsies who clean toilets in cramped apartments, hop from one hospital room to another tending to patients, or drill holes in the middle of the desert, are God's "messengers"?

There may be doubts but the signs are everywhere, according to Alexander L. Lacson, lawyer and author of the best-selling book "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country."

Our history as a Christian nation is replete with signs to prove this, he said—from the Spanish conquest that started when galleons dropped anchor in our waters in the 16th century to the arrival of Bible-bearing Americans 300 years later, from our rich natural resources to the Filipino diaspora.

Lacson has listed 12 signs purportedly showing why Filipinos are God's chosen. He discussed these signs—the subject of a forthcoming book—in a recollection talk last Tuesday at the Church of the Holy Sacrifice in Diliman, Quezon City .

The signs are "like pieces of a puzzle that, if put together, show us a picture of ourselves—who and what we are as a people," Lacson said.

These are:

Explorer Ferdinand Magellan's arrival in 1521 on Limasawa Island, Leyte, in a flotilla of five ships with a crew of 237, including a number of priests.

The priests were ready to spread Christianity among the islanders, but Magellan was killed by local warrior Lapu-Lapu's men, forcing the Spaniards to sail back to Spain, Lacson said.

"If our history stopped there, it means we would never have become a Christian nation," he said.

Filipinos were claimed in the name of God.

In 1565, a second Spanish colonial expedition led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi sailed into Cebu.

When he set out for this part of the globe with Fray Andres de Urdaneta, Lopez de Legazpi had specific instructions from King Philip II to convert every soul on the island to Christianity.

"What that means is that we were actually claimed in the name of God in the second expedition," Lacson said. "If you look at this [through] the eyes of a Christian, of a believer, [you will see that] there's a determined plan to make us a Christian people, a Christian nation."

No accident

As an offshoot of the spread of Christianity in the islands, the Philippines became the first Christian nation in Asia.

"My question is this: Do you think it was only an accident in history when we Filipinos became the only Christian people in this part of the world?" Lacson said.

He pointed out that the world's three major religions—Christiani ty, Islam and Buddhism—subscribed to the idea that "there's no accident in life."

"I'd like to believe that it was not an accident, and that in fact and in deed, God had chosen these people to be His people in this part of the world to spread His message," Lacson said, quoting John 15:16 ("You did not choose me, but I choose you...").

The Philippines is the first nation in Asia to have Bibles.

Although Filipinos had been converted to Christianity, they were prohibited from reading the Bible during the 300-year Spanish rule, according to Lacson.

But the Americans, who took over from the Spaniards after defeating them in the Battle of Manila Bay in December 1898, brought copies of the holy book.

"The Filipinos were the first Asians to read the Bible. I look at it as another sign from God why He chose us a people," Lacson said.

The Philippines is located in the middle of the world, at least on the Pacific-centered map.

"A small group of tiny islands—7,100 islands—but it's right there in the middle," Lacson said. "Is it an accident in history that our Philippines is right there in the middle? Accessible to the north, the south, the east and the west?"

4th richest

The Philippines is one of the richest countries in the world today.

"It is the fourth richest country in deposits like gold, copper, silver and chromite, and oil.

Out of 193 countries, we are No. 1 in terms of marine life biodiversity," Lacson said.

He said the country was so blessed with natural and mineral resources that if one dug a hole even atop a mountain, water would spring forth.

The story of overseas Filipino workers is biblical.

Lacson likened the OFWs to the young Israeli shepherd David who killed the giant Philistine warrior Goliath with his sling, and to Joseph "the dreamer," who was sold as a slave by his envious brothers but rose to become overseer of Egypt after accurately interpreting the Pharaoh's dreams about the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in the land.

"The Bible is full of stories of how God used the oppressed and the weak to spread His message of love and justice and to humble the mighty, the strong and the powerful," he said.

Lacson related an anecdote about the late Jaime Cardinal Sin who, while in Rome in 1999, was invited to dinner by the president of the Italian car maker Fiat Uno, whose children had a Filipino woman as their nanny.

"The host told Cardinal Sin that the nanny was so good that she turned their kids into better Catholics. It turned out that the nanny, with the kids in tow, would stop by a church and pray each time she went out," Lacson said, adding that there were countless other stories of Filipinos sharing their faith even with people of other religions.

He cited the story of Filipino nurses praying over a Muslim patient in the throes of death in a state-run hospital in Saudi Arabia .

"You know how I see that? I see that as an act of a messenger—shepherdin g these patients, although they may have other religions, to God," he said.

Seeds bearing fruit

The seventh sign naturally leads to the rest.

OFWs—nannies, domestic help, nurses and caregivers—are like ambassadors and messengers of God.

"Maybe today we don't see it yet. But maybe in the future, we'll see how the seeds [sown by] these Filipinos working as domestics—attending to these kids, influencing their minds and affecting their hearts on how to see the world and how to act—will bear fruit," Lacson said.

Filipinos breathe life to the churches of the world.

Lacson said it was not uncommon to see Filipinos in churches anywhere on the planet, either as a priest delivering a sermon, as faithful hearing Mass, or as members of the choir singing in the background.

"Wherever they are, whether as OFWS or residents, according to Fr. James Reuter, they breathe life to the churches all over the world," he said.

There is so much beauty in Filipinos as a people.

"Today, we have so many countrymen going abroad as singers, dancers... They entertain people. We have singers on luxury ships or members of rock bands in hotels. They bring happiness to other people; they bring beauty," Lacson said.

"If you ask me, this is one of the weapons that the Filipinos bring to the world. That's beauty," he said.

Filipinos can communicate with the world "with their tongue."

The Philippines is the third-largest English-speaking country in the world—again not by accident, Lacson said.

"We can actually communicate with the people in the South, in America, in Africa, in Asia. OFWs, caregivers, engineers—they communicate with the world," he said.

And it helps that there are "many races" in the Filipino, so that it is possible to "see the world in that person."

"The heart of the world is in him," he added.

Meticulously chosen

For the final sign, the name Pilipino means "piling-pili" (meticulously chosen) and "pinong-pino" (most refined).

"Is it an accident that we are called Pilipinos in our own language?" Lacson said, adding:

"These are 12 signs that convinced me that we are the chosen people of God. He chose us to be messengers, to be His ambassadors, to spread His message in other parts of the world."

The only problem is that Filipinos have been slow in claiming and proclaiming that they are indeed God's chosen people, Lacson said.

"I believe that if we can claim [to be] God's children, and proclaim it... and we teach our children this, God will be happy with it, and He will bless us as a people and as a nation," he said.


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