What are the threats that confront Filipino families?

WELL-BEING - Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2017 - 12:04am

One of the best homilists in town is my classmate in college, Bishop Mylo Vergara of Pasig. His reflections are posted on his Facebook Bishop Mylo’s Page.

Last New Year’s Eve, Bishop Mylo posted on our Management Engineering batch Viber group his insights which I would like to share with all.

“Four words as we bid farewell to the past year and welcome the New Year:

“REMEMBER the many good and beautiful things that took place in your life in the past year; God has blessed us with so much.

“REFLECT on what you remember and, like Mary, ponder on them in your heart; gain insight on God’s goodness to you which should lead to gratitude.

“RENEW your faith in the Lord who will take charge of your life this new year; be filled with hope that God will make all things possible for you!

“RECOVER the peace we all aspire for in the years to come through active non-violence (cf.Pope Francis, 50th World Day of Peace Message).”

Further from his book A Shepherd’s Voice, he lifted and shared his reflection on the Feast of the Holy Family. Even though he wrote the book 10 years ago, the message still rings true today.

The gospel passage tells us that an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and warned him: “Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.” (Matthew 2:13)  

Herod felt that Jesus was a big threat to his kingship.  He thought that the best way to remedy this was to look for Jesus and kill him.  Because of this, Jesus as well as Mary and Joseph had to escape from Egypt.  The Holy Family felt that they were never safe from Herod‘s threat and evil ploy.  

In the same vein that Herod threatened Jesus, Mary and Joseph, there are problematic factors that also threaten the Filipino family.  Some years ago, Bishop Jesus Varela, Bishop-Emeritus of the Diocese of Sorsogon, shared a number of the threats and deficiencies that confront Filipino families today.     

What are some of these threats?  The first is a negative influence of mass media. Some cinema products present moral values completely opposed to Christian teachings and basic human integrity, like sex and violence.  

The second is economic pressure.  Parental absenteeism in search of jobs abroad is a factor weakening Filipino family life. 

The third is materialism. With changing priorities and given a very consumeristic environment, material wealth and success now determine social status.  

Lastly, one can never deny the presence of anti-life and anti-family campaigns.  In the name of so-called women‘s rights and sustainable development, pregnancy is considered a health hazard and children, an economic burden.  Connected to this is a contraceptive mentality which has led to sexual promiscuity and the corruption of married love.  

What are some of these deficiencies? One of them is emotional maturity. The formation of children in solid family values is made difficult when parents swing from extremes of permissiveness and authoritarianism.  

Another deficiency is irresponsibility.  There is persistence of what is called double standard where women‘s role is child rearing whereas men have the license to happy living.  

One problem is also marital disagreement.  Conflicts in the family arise because of interfering in-laws and disagreement in financial matters.  Finally, there is the lack of parenting skills.  Parents find it difficult to cope with the demands of their growing children because they feel that they do not possess the skills and methods needed to guide them.   

Amid these threats and deficiencies, the Holy Family teaches us not to fear.  God sent an angel to warn Joseph to flee from Egypt and escape the threat of Herod.  God protected and cared for the Holy Family.  God also protects and cares for the Filipino family.  He loves all families and wants the best for them.  The challenge for each family is to reciprocate with love. 

How can this be done? First, each Filipino family must show its love for God.  This means to be centered on God.  Practically, this can be done by making family prayer a daily experience in the home. 

I can never forget those moments when my mother would gather us together as a family to pray the rosary. We must heed the perennial advice of Fr. Patrick Peyton when he said: “The family that prays together, stays together.” 

Second, each member of the family must show love for one another.  When spouses strive hard to be faithful to each other in their long years of marriage, they truly manifest what it means to love deeply. 

When a father works hard each day to provide for the needs of his family, he concretely expresses his love.  When a mother is present to her children and nurtures them untiringly and patiently, she loves unconditionally.  

When children show respect to their parents and take care of them when they grow old and become sickly, they reciprocate the love they received from the ones who brought them into this world.     

Let us consecrate all families to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph who inspire, motivate and challenge us to always love God and one another.

* * *

Post me a note at mylene@goldsgym.com.ph or mylenedayrit@gmail.com.

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