“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
Archbishop of Cebu
PRAYER FOR THE SUCCESS
OF THE WORK OF THE CONSTITUTION COMMISSION
God our Father, you love our people and our country. You heard our prayers when we cried out to you after years during which we had learned the hard way what it means no longer to be free, no longer to be ourselves.
You gave us the inspiration and the courage to regain our freedom in your own surprising, peaceful way, and we thank you very much for it. Let this responsible freedom never be lost again. Pour out your wise and gentle Spirit upon the men and women of the Constitutional Commission, that they may frame a fundamental law for our land that guarantees our basic freedoms under you, our God.
May it be like your own covenant with us, your people, that binds us together as your sons and daughters, as our seas bind our islands together in one nation. Let our laws be just and fair to everyone, laws made for living people, allowing all to develop their talents and to put them at the service of our country.
And make us especially care for the weak. Give a voice to everyone, to every person a place in the sun, to our children a future to live for. Let all wounds be healed, all strife come to an end, all power express itself in service, that no one may be crushed.
Bring us reconciliation in justice, let Moslem and Christian live side by side in respect, mutual trust and peace, for we are all your children. Father, with the help of Mary we ask you: bless our people and our country, for we love you, our God for ever and ever. Amen
PRAYER FOR THE FAITHFUL
FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION
Let us pray to our almighty and loving Father that he may inspire the Constitutional Commission to draft a wise basic law for our country that serves the good of all our people, and let us say: Lord, pour out your Spirit on your people.
For the Spirit of unity, that he may inspire our lawmakers to guarantee the territorial integrity of our country and to bind together all Filipinos as one people, whatever our language, culture or religion, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, pour out your Spirit on your people.
For the Spirit of wisdom, that he may inspire our lawmakers to make wise laws that serve all our people and that respect the human dignity of all, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, pour out your Spirit on your people.
For the Spirit of strength, that he may inspire the beneficiaries of the Constitution to obey it, together with all other just laws, that the common good may prevail, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, pour out your Spirit on your people.
For the Spirit of freedom, that he may inspire our lawmakers to give us a Constitution that protects the basic human freedoms won at so hard a price, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, pour out your Spirit on your people.
For the Spirit of justice, that he may inspire our lawmakers and our people to bring justice to all that no one may be exploited or trampled upon, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, pour out your Spirit on your people.
For the Spirit of service and love, that he may inspire us all to build together a nation founded on selfless service where we are responsible for one another, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, pour out your Spirit on your people.
God, Father of all, the people you love has experienced the pains of crucifixion and division. Heal our wounds, reconcile us; under you, make us one nation where it is good to live, that we may praise and thank you now and forever. Amen