“TEACHER, which commandment of the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him:” You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. The second is like it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments the whole law is based, and the prophets as well” (Matthew 22:36-40).
“Then they just will ask him: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you drinks? When did we welcome you in our home or clothe you in your nakedness? When did we visit you when you were ill or in prison? The King will answer them:” I assure you, as often as you did it to one of my least brothers, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:37-40)
“Therefore, it thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there remember that thy brother has anything against thee, leave their gift before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift (Matthew 5:23-24).
Based on the biblical verses above, this writer came up with the “Diamond Rule” which is “To Love God, Love Neighbor”. This simply means that we cannot really love God if we do not really love our neighbor! This, I think, is the essence of our Christian faith.
The Philippines is one of the only two (East Timor is the other one) Christian nations in Asia. Yet, the Philippines is presently found to be the most corrupt country in this part of the world. No doubt, one reason for this shameful status is that we Christian Filipinos have not been able to internalize the teaching of our religion. Why? I think partly because the way our Christian faith is now being taught, most especially to our Christian youth, is not anymore that effective. Hence, Christian Filipinos are having difficulty to really internalize our religion and daily life according to Christian teachings.
It is therefore about time, I think, that our Christian religious leaders in our country should find new effective ways to teach our Christian faith most particularly to our young ones. We must turn back now the tide of continuous spiritual and moral degradation of our people before things further worsen.
The “Diamond Rule” I mentioned earlier has a great connection with our search for new effective ways I’m talking about. When I first explained many years ago to a fellow Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Communion, Atty. Al dela Victoria, this Rule, he just smiled and nodded. However, about two weeks later when I accidentally met him again, he told me: “Brod Chito, I pondered on what you told me about the Diamond Rule and I was deeply enlightened.” I told myself. This, in its simplicity, is what Christianity all about!” When I shared the idea with some of my Catholic lay leader friends, they likewise were quite amazed and enlightened by the simple directness of the Rule. I will continue sharing this “Diamond Rule” to my other friends on every occasion I can have.” Hence, this article.
Concerning now our search for effective new ways to teach our Christian faith, may I humbly suggest that all our religious teachers consider this Diamond Rule as one of the important topics of their New Catechism. This is actually returning to the most basic practical teaching of Christ Himself.
The beauty of the Diamond Rule is in its simplicity, which clearly relates divine aspiration to earthly action. The Rule, undoubtedly, will inspire us to apply everyday our Lord’s teacher in almost everything we do in this challenging world. The Rule, we are confident, when properly taught over and over again will greatly help our Christian Filipinos internalize at last our Christian faith.
In addition to this, may we further suggest to also emphasize in our New Catechism that topic of Spiritual Value of Work. This is again another way of educating our Christian Filipinos of the reality of the direct linkage between divine teachings and human daily activity. Our everyday work if harmonized with God’s plan will fulfill our total vocation.
What we are trying to point out is that for the teaching of religion to be more effective, it must be tied up with our real daily lives and what’s happening in this world. The teaching, if possible, will be done in parables as Christ usually does. Our catechists must help our faithful look to the Holy Bible in a fresh way. We must find new ways to integrate into various areas of modern human endeavor the Lord’s teachings. Pope Francis stressed the urgent need to re-evangelize our faithful.
What do you think? We do hope to hear your feedback on this serious discussion. “Nasa tao ang gawa, nasa Diyos ang awa.”
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