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Entertainment

Banking on prayer power

STARBYTES - Butch Francisco -

I realized only during the long holiday last week that next to the Lenten season and Christmas (when we have the nine-day Misa de gallo), we are probably at our most prayerful during All Saints’ Day.

From my bedroom window, I could hear wafting through the air last Nov. 1 murmurs — actually collective prayers being recited along the rows and rows of concrete tombs at the San Juan cemetery, which is practically just right down from where I live.

Prayers offered during All Saints’ Day are selfless because it is for those who have gone ahead of us — not a grocery list of what we want for ourselves. (Don’t we just ask God for so many things?)

Prayers are our easiest line of communication with the Lord above and I am sometimes appalled with the way some showbiz people treat the subject of prayers lightly.

Unfortunately, the entertainment profession may be reeking of talent and good looks, but is sorely lacking in honesty and sincerity. How many TV and movie celebrities have we heard say that they “will just pray for their enemies” during television interview? “Ipagdadasal ko na lang sila.” (“I will just pray for them.”)

What do they pray for? For their enemies to shut up and leave them alone? Enlightenment for their enemies? For their enemies to fall into a ravine and never get rescued? Do they really mean what they say and actually pray for their enemies? I bet it’s all lip service.

In a way, I was also guilty of treating prayers lightly. Since I am officially assigned to cover all the showbiz funerals in Startalk, I sometimes find myself telling the family of the bereaved on the air that I will pray for the repose of their dearly departed — only to conveniently forget everything I said right after the program. But in time, I realized that I should be true to my word and to this day, I still pray for the souls of Maria Teresa Carlson, Chat Silayan, the sister of Lolit Solis, Evelyn Bonner and the mother (Teresa) and husband (Vicente) of Bessie Badilla.

I still should be praying for the soul of Nida Blanca, but I thought that a lot of people are already doing that for her. However, realizing that after six years, nothing has happened to her murder case, I ought to put her back to my list.

Yesterday, her sixth death anniversary, we again heard showbiz people say that they continue praying for the late great actress. I believe they do because they are mostly Nida’s friends.

But pardon me for being callous when I hear people in the entertainment world say that they pray for this and that when you obviously know they don’t. How do I know? Some aren’t even good enough actors to convince me. Many a times, I would bump into showbiz people who would tell me that they pray for me. Well, thank you — I would tell them. But do they really do? Most of the time, it’s really just an accidental meeting and for lack of anything else to say, they tell me they pray for me. Oh, believe me, I would appreciate a “You look great!” compliment anytime because there could still be some sincerity to it. (I wish!)

Oh, but there are still a few sincere people left in show business. About a decade or so ago, Tina Revilla, in one of our more serious talks, told me that she prays for me. Although I believe her, I really just left it at that — until we decided to hear Mass together one time at Mary the Queen Parish and she showed me her prayer book. At the back page were names written in pencil and I was there — Butch F. No, it couldn’t have been something she scribbled at the last minute — it had been there all along. That was a comforting thought and I felt that everything was going to turn out right in my side of the world because somebody was praying for me.

Too bad, not everyone is like Tina — and in show business, we have all kinds.  There are those who pray and hear Mass, but gossip about others even within church premises. There are those who regularly go to service and worships, but immediately start stabbing people in the back once it’s time for business.

However, human behavior is like that and we cannot be judgmental for we — including me — all still need to be perfected in the manner in which our Creator wants us to be.

At this point, I can only appeal to some showbiz people to be more careful when talking about the subject of prayers because it is like taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain, which is what the second commandment is all about.

Would showbiz people heed this bit of advice? We can only hope and pray.

ALL SAINTS ALTHOUGH I BESSIE BADILLA BUTCH F MDASH PEOPLE PRAY
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