PASTORAL EXHORTATION ON THE
“Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who built it.” (Ps. 127:1)
Beloved People of God:
Today our nation stands before a difficult path of transition.
If the Chosen People of old, after their liberation from Egypt, had still long ways and long years to go in their journey to the Promised Land, it would not be farfetched to say that our people may be destined to pass through tortuous paths in our search for national reconciliation and unity, relative peace and prosperity.
One great forward step in this path is the coming formulation of a Constitution for our country that will express our noblest ideals and embody the basic laws that will allow our people the opportunities for their pursuit of happiness in an atmosphere of freedom, justice, and equality.
During these days, the selection of the men and women who will write that Constitution is going on. Let us accept as an unchangeable decision — hopefully for the better — the manner of their selection through a Committee. For all the objections against this, it is also a good method, with precedents in our country (in 1898) and in others (as in West Germany right after the II World War). On the other hand, our experience with an elected body which wrote the 1973 Constitution was not altogether a happy one.
If we, the people at large, will not have a hand in the final selection of the writers of our Basic Law, let us, nevertheless, by all means, be involved in its formulation. While the Constitutional Commission is in the process of writing the Law, let us keep track of their work through the media, let us feed the Commission with our ideas and opinions individually and through organs like the nationwide “Consultation” sponsored by the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference in collaboration with other groups.
Above all, let us continually pray for the success of the Commission’s work. The Lord heard our prayers with our Blessed Mother and granted the fulfillment of our libertarian aspirations in the surprisingly brief and successful events last February. Surely He will be ready to hear our prayers again that our lawmakers may be enlightened to make our journey to our goal of a unified and reconciled nation less lengthy and less difficult.
We are appending to this letter a prayer for the success of the Constitutional Commission’s work. We ask you to pray this prayer individually and in groups.
In particular, we set the first and second day of June as days of special prayer. On the first will be a whole day exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; on the second, all Masses throughout the land will be a supplication to the Holy Spirit for His light and strength. Monday, June 2, will be also a day of nationwide voluntary fasting, penance and sacrifice.
God will help us if we pray and work. No one in his wildest scenarios foresaw the conclusion of events of the past three months. It was God’s script. With continuous prayers and participation nationwide, we can be sure the writers of our Fundamental Law under God will work for the true good of our country and with their unselfish efforts lead us to our desired goals.
In closing, we invoke upon you all the blessings of Jesus and Mary His Mother and ours.
Given on this 18th day of May, Feast of Pentecost, in the year of Our Lord 1986.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
(Sgd.)RICARDO J. CARDINAL VIDAL
PRAYER FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE WORK
God our Father,
You gave us the inspiration and the courage
May it be like your own covenant with us, your people,
And make us especially care for the weak.
Bring us reconciliation in justice,
PRAYER FOR THE FAITHFUL
Let us pray to our almighty and loving Father
For the Spirit of unity,
For the Spirit of wisdom,
For the Spirit of strength,
For the Spirit of freedom,
For the Spirit of justice,
For the Spirit of service and love,
God, Father of all, the people you love