The other side of prayer » Manila Bulletin News

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By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

There are certain poor families we are helping. Theirs is a hand-to-mouth existence. In extending help, I give counseling about responsible parenthood, telling them that they should not reproduce  children whom they cannot support, specifically those who cannot provide for their daily food, shelter, clothing, and education.

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I admire the faith in God of these people but God does not expect them to keep on bearing children whom they cannot support. Doing it is a wrong application of faith in God or God’s command to “Go and multiply.”

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Moreover, faith in God does not mean running to God for every problem and difficulty which we put ourselves in. It will help a lot if poor couples plan their families  so they won’t suffer the heavy burden of supporting children way beyond their financial means.

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Yes, we should pray, and I am one who truly believes in the mighty power of prayer.  But we must not forget to do our part. As the spiritual writer Andrew Costello said: “One reason why some of our prayers are unanswered is because we forget the other side of prayer: OUR side.”As the worn-out saying puts it: “God helps those who help themselves.”

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Human Responsibility vs Fatalism. Finally let’s not forget one important thing. Faith is not fatalism or irresponsibility. It does not mean constant dependence on God for every problem and difficulty which, by the way, is a common attitude among many.

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The same holds true for our nation to become an economic superpower in Southeast Asia. God won’t bless our efforts, and it’ll be all self-defeating if our government officials continue to disregard God’s commandment “Thou shall not steal.”

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Faith in God presupposes faith in ourselves.

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The lighter side. Beggar to a wealthy man passing by: “Please, sir, be kind … even if it’s only for a cup of coffee. Out of charity, the rich man said: “Here…this will buy you 10 cups of coffee.”

After a week, the beggar meets the rich man. Very angry, he says: “Hey, it’s all your fault. The 10 cups of coffee almost killed me of hypertension!

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I asked God for equality of wealth in the world. God replied, “No, that’s difficult.” I asked God to make me handsome, and He said, “Let’s go back to equality of wealth!”

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Sick indigents. There’s a saying: “Give a man a fish and he will live for a day; teach him how to fish and he will live for the rest of his life.” But there are sick indigents who need help because they’re so weak to even hold a fishing stick.

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These are the cases of Fr. Ruben Mamuad and Dante Cabansag, both suffering from renal failure, R. Cayunda, M. Maranga, Jacky Lopez who are so weak to work due to pulmonary ailments. How about alleviating their sufferings by contributing an amount to buy the necessary medications so they get well and return to work.

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God bless — the following charitable people who responded to my appeal:  Willy-Lina Ong, a very generous Chinese-Filipino donor for many years,  Gerry “Mr. Freeze” Santos, TresRoque.

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Others who may wish to help may e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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