Prayers and Angelo de la Cruz

Angelo de la Cruz has been released by his captors and the whole country rejoices. We Filipinos may not have agreed on whether or not to pull the contingent out of Iraq earlier than scheduled but am sure each one of us prayed for Angelo's safety and wished him and his family well.

I was particularly struck by one of President Arroyo's first statements when she informed the whole country that Angelo has been released - that she thanks God for His blessings. I am no fan of PGMA but with this statement, I admire her for giving credit where credit is due.

The government exerted all efforts to secure the safety of Angelo de la Cruz. That is its job. It is likewise its job to create an atmosphere domestically where businesses can thrive and each person who is willing to work can find gainful employment, progress, and lead a decent life. This is something which has not been achieved yet. Numerous Filipinos leave for abroad - from my experience with people I know - to gain more material resources, to give their kids a better life, to get away from an environment where order or systems that work are not that embedded. These very same people though likewise surf the net daily for Philippine news, get together with other Pinoys and cook Filipino food on a regular basis, etc. etc. What's the point? The point is Angelo de la Cruz's release is just the beginning of an even longer story and an even bigger solution to a crisis that may not be as obvious nor as life threatening within a few days is needed. We are always held hostage by corruption, poverty, inefficiencies, petty crimes, inept politicians. You name it, the list is endless. How do we save our lives? Our children's lives? How do we go forward when the question is not as simple as pulling out or not pulling out?

In the days when Angelo de la Cruz was still held captive, most of us sought solace and comfort in prayer. A text message I received as soon as the news broke out went: Let's pray to San Lorenzo Ruiz for Angelo de la Cruz, the Filipino hostage in Iraq. Lord, cover Angelo with Your most precious blood. Please pass." I talked to a few people who said they were also praying for Angelo - never mind if we never met the man or his family. Now that he has been released safely, I am convinced that this just shows us the power of prayer. You have a whole nation asking heaven to spare the life of this truck driver with 8 children. I suppose we can harness that same power - to pray for our nation?

Psalm 71:14-16 says: "I will always put my hope in you; I will praise you more and more; I will tell of your goodness; all day long I will speak of your salvation, though it is more than I can understand. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will proclaim your goodness, yours alone." Let us pray daily for our country and seek guidance on how we can all individually contribute to its progress. May the Lord bless our leaders and show them the right direction. Pagpalain nawa ng Panginoon ang Pilipinas.

[By Angelica Viloria | Wednesday, July 21, 2004]

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