Of Cory Aquino and Childhood Dreams

As I write this, it is a lazy Sunday morning and I am wearing a yellow and green Christ the King (CTK) Stewardship shirt. As I reflect on the colors, I am brought back to the year 1986 when I would walk around the UP Diliman campus as a college student in a bright yellow shirt, green over-alls, with a round button pin which bore the words: Sobra na, tama na, palitan na. (You have gone overboard. Let’s put a stop to this. We need change.)

Filipinos my age will most likely recall the 1986 Snap Elections when plain housewife, Cory Aquino decided to challenge long-staying Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos in a match that was truly made in heaven. For how else can you explain what would follow in the days and weeks and months that followed? Such things could only have happened with prayer and with God’s grace.

Former president Cory Aquino passed away yesterday on August 1, 2009, after a battle with colon cancer. It was uncanny that she would also pass away, like her husband Ninoy, in the month of August and at a time in our country’s history when most of us are looking for a prospective leader who will bring out the best in the Filipinos collectively as a nation.

It is also a coincidence likewise that her death comes right after July 31, which is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. I heard mass last Friday, and in his homily, the priest talked about childhood dreams. His
was to be a veterinarian but he eventually went on to become a priest. So from wanting to be someone who would care for sick animals, he became someone who would care for souls.

St. Ignatius of Loyola wanted initially to be a soldier for an earthly kingdom. Recovering from an accident, however, he studied the lives of the saints and his dreams were converted to something else. From wanting to become a soldier in the physical sense, he became a soldier for a spiritual kingdom, that of the Lord.

Such is the nature of childhood dreams. We start out by going down a path which we think we like, only to be sidetracked, at times, by a bigger dream which the Lord may have for us.

I remember Cory Aquino and think that this is how she probably felt in 1986. Cory Aquino was a plain housewife. I am quite sure that as a child, she did not have grand dreams of being president of the Philippines someday. And because she never had such grand dreams for herself, the Lord gave her the opportunity to choose to accept the challenge of becoming president of the Republic. From being the mother of only her children, all Filipinos became her children and to my mind, she is the one true mother that our country has seen. Selfless. Never doing things with herself in mind. It was always for others. The Philippine presidency was never about her.

As mother to our country, Cory Aquino was a stewardess. Stewardship is about offering your time, talent, and treasure to the parish, to the community, to the country. Cory Aquino and her family have sacrificed a lot for our country, the Philippines. In honor of her memory, it would be good if each Filipino, in their own simple way, could contribute to uplifting the lot of a fellow countryman who may have less in life.

Cory Aquino was a woman of faith and prayer. More than her achievements in restoring democracy to our country, this is what I will remember her for the most. It is this very characteristic that makes her the ultimate stewardess in my book.

Rest in peace, Tita Cory. Thank you for all that you have given this country and the Filipino people. We will always remember how you have been very generous with your time, talent, and treasure.

At our 6 pm mass yesterday, I asked my 7-year old daughter (who was inquiring about the L sign last night) to say a prayer for Tita Cory and this is what she said: “Dear God, please let Tita Cory go to heaven. Or to the middle. And then to heaven.”

I am sure heaven will look kindly on Tita Cory.

To read what I wrote about Corazon Cojuangco Aquino in my other blog, please visit: viloria.com

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