Important treasures that others cannot take away from us
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 4, 2020 - 12:00am

Many Filipinos today are gripped by fear that the anti-terror law may take away their properties, liberties, and even lives. Others fear that the COVID-19 virus may take away their loved ones, their children, spouses, parents and siblings. Fear is now endemic and can even become more lethal than the virus itself.

Assuming that there is truth to these fears, assuming for the sake of argument, that, indeed, some overzealous agents of the government will suspect one as a terrorist and pick him up without warrant, and probably, detain him for 24 days without charges, it is not the end of the world for him. As Gandhi and Mandela would say, they can detain the body, but they cannot imprison the spirit. They cannot bind in chains the indomitable soul of one who has strong faith and hope. Yes, they can deprive you of liberty and freedom. But they cannot take away your will and your intellect. They cannot imprison your mind. They cannot jail your heart. These are beyond the reach of their powers.

Like Ninoy Aquino, when the military tribunal convicted him of treason, subversion, insurrection, and inciting people to sedition, and he was sentenced to die by musketry, he faced the military tribunal with confidence and smile in his face, saying: I am happy to die standing up than live on my bended knees. I tell you that in those moments, in the eyes of God, Ninoy was the winner in spirit and in faith. Like Jose Abad Santos when he was about to be shot by the Japanese somewhere between Barili and Carcar, Cebu. He told his son, a young child, “Be happy and proud that your father is given a chance to die for our country.” The same with Dr. Jose Rizal in Luneta who, when told he was to be shot in the back, asked to face his killers instead.

Assuming the worst scenario, that your wife or husband is tested positive and taken from you, put in isolation and you will never see this loved one again. They will come back to you in the urn containing their cremated remains. If your faith is strong enough and your trust in your God is invincible, you will cry and break down and be desolate for days or even months. But deep inside you, there is a silent voice that reminds you constantly, that all is not lost. Like the prophet Job, all his loved ones died, and he suffered from a disease that caused all his friends and relations to reject him. But Job's faith and perseverance could not be grabbed away from him. And so, with us. If we read all the lives of saints and heroes, all the pains and the troubles are nothing compared to the glory and happiness that await us.

There are more important things than life itself. And these include honor, dignity, reason, decency, respect, a sense of justice and of course, as St Paul said in first Corinthians, Chapter 13, faith, hope and charity, and the greatest of this is charity, which is the highest form of love. And so, why are we afraid. As the Lord, himself reminds us not less than 365 times in the bible, that we should not allow our hearts to be troubled. Worry and anxiety are the snares of the devil. We have powers to defeat them by our will.

Faith, hope and love are our most powerful weapons and shields against all forms of travails and adversities. They can break our bones and jail our bodies, but our spirit can soar over the chains of those who seek to enslave us. The virus can infect our bodies but it has no power to defeat our soul. We are strong because our Father is the source of all strengths.

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