By Louise P. Abesa
The name John Duns Scotus came to mind when I read about VP Leni Robredo “gently” chiding President Duterte to be tactful when expressing his religious doubts such as his unbelief in the truth of Original Sin.
Blessed John Duns Scotus (a Franciscan philosopher and theologian) was born in the 13th century and transited to paradise at the dawn of the 14th century at the age of 43. He was the one who clearly explained Mary’s Immaculate Conception which means that Mary is the only created human person who has been privileged to be born without Original Sin in anticipation of the merits of her son’s redeeming passion and death on the cross.
It would be great if His Excellency, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, can have the time to sit back and relax with his family to appreciate one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind: Mary’s Immaculate Conception which we celebrate every 8th of December to remind us that God never abandons us nor gives up on us.
It is the truth of human existence that, although every created human person has been born good, there is in him/her a strong inclination not to follow or choose the good that God provides him/her at every moment according to the nature (the principle of operations) God has given him/her to ensure his/her well-being. In this way, he/she offends God. He/she sins and he/she inevitably hurts himself/herself. This is the effect of Original Sin.
Although the sin we inherited from Adam and Eve is forgiven at baptism (the first sacrament through which we become the adopted child of God), its effects (the disordered tendencies which lead to sins) remain in our wounded nature. When we commit personal venial sins, we alienate ourselves from God. When we commit mortal sins, we totally cut off ourselves from God. That is why we have to preserve God’s life in us by going to the sacraments (which are sensible signs of sanctifying grace or God’s life in us).
It is good to call to mind that there are seven sacraments left to us by Christ: Baptism, Penance or Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. The most important of these sacraments is the Holy Eucharist because in this sacrament, we receive Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the author of grace.
With the sacraments come the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit which are so important for all government leaders to have. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
The gift of wisdom is externally manifested through the virtue of charity. This is so because through the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, the events in history, and our own everyday ordinary lives (with its ups and downs) take on a deeper meaning. It allows us to see the whole image of God. We see God as our Father and this leads us to see other people with the dignity of children of God. Being able to see God in everyone and in everything everywhere, we then, are able to judge rightly the truth about all matters. (For detailed discussions on the other six gifts of the Holy Spirit, you may refer to Isaiah 11:2-3; the Latin Vulgate; the Septuagint, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica and en.wikipedia.org).
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are externally manifested through the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The 12 fruits are: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity (kindness), goodness, generosity, mildness (gentleness), faithfulness, modesty, continency (self-control), and chastity.
The PRRD-Robredo administration has just completed its second full year of governance last June 30. May both President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and VP Leni Robredo be filled with the 7 gifts and 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit so they may steer the country confidently along the right path in the next four years.