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No Free Lunch

A Christmas prayer

/ 04:04 AM December 24, 2019

I directly address today’s article to Him whose birth is the source and center of the season’s celebrations, and yet is all too often sidelined, if not completely lost in the midst of all the bright lights, the merrymaking and commercialization that marks it. I trust that as you read through, we will be one in heart and mind in prayer for the welfare of our families, our communities, our nation and our entire world. Lord Jesus Christ, who by your birth through our blessed Mother Mary, the almighty God and Father demonstrated His supreme love for us, we praise and thank You for showing us by example how we must conduct ourselves in our brief sojourn in this earthly abode. At barely over three decades, yours was even briefer, cut short by human wickedness that was the manifestation of the very sins you came to redeem us from. With the Father and the Holy Spirit, You, our triune God, are worthy of all our praise and adoration, for You are the source of all goodness — of everything that gives us joy and sustenance in a world where the forces of evil constantly beset us and seek to draw us away from You. Forgive us, Lord, for the many times we have allowed ourselves to be led by these dark forces to defy Your call for us to love You with all our heart, with all our being, with all our strength and with all our mind, and as we do, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Forgive us particularly for our sins of commission, especially when we close our minds and hearts to contrary perspectives, practices and persuasions, and are quick to dismiss, judge, condemn or even unjustly punish those who do not share our views and our values, forgetting that amid our diversity, we are all one as Your children. Forgive us when we speak, spread and believe in falsehoods, wittingly or unwittingly, often to the point of destroying lives and damning futures. Forgive us when we take an undue share of the bounty You have provided our country in great abundance, often to the disadvantage of those lesser endowed to begin with, and ever widening the great inequalities among us. Forgive us when we fail to be responsible stewards of the natural wealth You have especially blessed our country with. And forgive us when we take outright what is not rightfully ours: from the commons, from the public coffers or from our neighbors’ possessions.

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Forgive us also for our sins of omission, when we do not amply reward those who work for us, failing to acknowledge that our very firms, farms and households would come to a halt without them, and that our own comfort and lifestyles rest on their toils. Forgive us when we see them as mere factors of production, not as fellow humans. Forgive us when we turn a blind eye, a deaf ear to those in pain, suffering or need around us, even if it’s within our means to lend a helping hand, a comforting arm or even just a sympathetic ear. Forgive us when we close our eyes to evil and oppression going on around us, whether glaring or subtle, accepting it all in silence and submission out of expediency, fear of reprisal, or unwillingness to “rock the boat” or “go against the current.”

We thank You, Lord God, that in the face of our sins and shortcomings, You continue to bless us generously with natural bounty, and with resourcefulness and resilience as a people. We thank You for the many opportunities You bring our way to uplift our lives and to attain true joy and happiness, and for an uncommon ability to find it even in the midst of adversity. We thank you for endowing us with positive traits that strengthen us and endear us to others, even as we pray for the ability to overcome and renounce the negative traits and values that keep us from making the most of the opportunities You bring our way.

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Finally, in deep supplication, we pray, Lord Jesus, that we, from our top leaders to the lowliest among us, find it in our hearts to change ourselves from within, and strive to imitate You in all we think, say and do: that we may bridge our deep social, cultural, political and economic divides, and achieve true oneness as a nation—one in working in faith for the welfare of all Filipinos, and for Your greater glory. Amen.

[cielito.habito[email protected]]

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TAGS: Christmas, Cielito F. Habito, Jesus Christ, No Free Lunch
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