Dear Young Pinoy: ‘Igalang mo ang iyong ama’t ina’

Back to the basics. A synopsis of the message of Pope Francis at the World Youth Day in Panama this year, together with that of the CBCP when the Filipino Bishops declared 2019 as the Year of the Youth.

And the most basic principle that you ought to relearn is the adherence to God’s Fourth Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

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“Never insult your parents! Your mother. Your father. They gave you life!” urged the Holy Father, who deviated from his prepared text to stress the back-to-basics approach (General Audience, Sept. 19, 2018).

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The Vicar of Christ was teaching you something fundamental: “There is no perfect family. We do not have perfect parents, we are not perfect, we do not marry a perfect person or have perfect children… So there is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness” (July 19, 2018). Therefore, learn to say “sorry.”

Motherhood is strength and mothers are mighty

I sat countless hours with my dad and mom during the sundown of life and I remember so well what they told me, how God was so kind to give them immeasurable blessings and unending joys. Oh, how they loved it when I held and kissed their hands in utter silence as if kissing a relic, overflowing with reverence.

Before my mom died several years ago, I promised her that I would always remember her by doing something special. I always write Jose Mario Bautista Maximiano, quite a long one that carries not just a middle initial but the full BAUTISTA as a middle name, my mom’s family name. In Heaven, does my loving and sweet mom wink at me? You bet.

Motherhood is strength and mothers are mighty because they carry LIFE in their womb and bring forth into this world THE IMAGE OF GOD. Imago Dei (seated in the immortal soul) can only be transmitted from mother to her child through pro-creation and, in this special sense, our mothers are divine co-creators.

In silence, every now and then, I pray Psalm 139:13, “You, O Lord, knit me together in my mother’s womb.” 

God gave mothers that special assignment, which make all mothers specialists in survival, in taking care of their young and giving up everything, without condition, until the very last energy – until their last breath. May I remind you, dear young readers, there’s no living substitute for a mother.

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In defense of the family

In Panama, two weeks ago, the Holy Father told the crowd at the 2019 World Youth Day: You are the ‘now’ of God…” (January 27, 2019).

The Vicar of Christ believes in your “joy and enthusiasm, with its freedom, sensitivity and critical capacity. He believes that NOW you can start “the new evangelization in the family.” That you can remind your mom, being the first catechist, to spend more time teaching values to her kids. That she is de jure and de facto the BFF (best friend forever) of her daughter.

That NOW you can tell your dad, being the first SCHOOL DIRECTOR, to set the best examples – in words and deeds. That he is de jure and de facto BFF of the son. That our HOME can become the first chapel where the CROSS of Christ is displayed in every room, where discipline and forgiveness are taught and learned.

Dear Young Pinoys, if I may say: Wherever you are, go back to the basics, go back to manopo gesture, and po and opo responses. And paumanhin po, just in case you have forgotten to say sorry in Filipino.

Mano po is distinctly Pinoy and a time-honored tradition, a veritable sign of love and high regard to our parents and elders. The word mano is Spanish for “hand” while po is the magic word for respect.

Don’t make them cry. Don’t break their hearts. Mothers and fathers are loved. Pray for them and thank YHWH God for the gift of your parents, for you never know how much sacrifices they went through because of you. Go back to the basics: Igalang niyo sila!

Jose Mario Bautista Maximiano ([email protected]) is the author of 24 PLUS Contemporary People: God Writing Straight with Twists and Turns (Claretian, 2019).

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TAGS: Catholicism, Christian ethos, family, parents, religion, respect for parents, Ten Commandments, youth
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