The story of the Good Samaritan and the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta, known as Mother Teresa and the Living Saint during her time in this world, inspire me about giving, love and compassion. Today, in all aspects of human existence, it would be good to reflect on her words: “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”
My life experiences, coming from a poor family, made me striving hard to reach the goal of having a good life to share with others. Our parents incessantly reminded us to help each other and to finish a degree in college or university. Only by then, we could set ourselves free from the bondage of economic poverty.
As values formation and character building started at home, generosity and helpfulness were instilled and grounded in the family. Simple acts of helping, cooperation and collaborative efforts contribute to the realization of the family’s common vision. This implies assumption of sacrifices before any success in life.
A year of absence in the university, due to financial matter, reminded me of a breakthrough in my leadership capability. That schooling interruption gave me a humble reason, a valuable purpose and a lifelong lesson in my personal existence. It really was, I was elected as the Sanguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) Chairman in our community. Since then, my life in community service started where the kernel for social service germinates and openhandedly grows. As a youth leader, I became aware of the great role of the youths in nation building and their very potentials as active catalysts of social change for development. Representing my group in government functions made me politically aware of the government system and of the deserted needs of my peers.
As a teacher, I never forgot to give more to the community of students and parents. I volunteered to give extra time to train students in sports and academics and spared time counseling students with problems. Also, I shared time for the Mangyans, the natives of Mindoro, during annual events for them organized by the school and the parish. These devotion gave anyone an idea that helping is not only by merely giving out material goods. Importantly, one’s time, knowledge, skills and sharing the story of our life journey might inspire others’ lives. This is evident in the way I spent time sharing ideas with and listening to my co-workers and other people whom I had encountered. I confidently believe that putting our education in the right perspective would immensely help other people track their life purpose.
From exposure to slam communities to meeting and reaching out to Filipino expatriates, my compassion to the poor became more intense by their stories. My perseverance to gain knowledge by continuing studies deepens my commitment to act on the welfare of other people in need. Coupled with my family’s struggles to have a better life and my strong faith in God moved me to guide other people to find their own worth in life. This is the cornerstone of my human compassion advocacy.
In 2012, my thesis titled “The Fil-Aussie Women in Australia Touching the Lives of their Fellow Filipinos: A Phenomenological Study”, culled out five primary factors that led people to help and nurture the seed of compassion within them.
Faith and Spirituality. Filipinos particularly women are very religious which is observable in their way of life. Faith in God is very important wherever they go and becoming more intense in times of life adversities. Generally, Filipinos who received significant amount of blessings never forget to look back and help others, an act of transcending generosity and compassion to poor people from the grassroots. Embodied in their Christian faith, Filipinos are normally merciful people guided by “do good deeds to others” philosophy.
Poverty Experiences. One’s own experience of poverty initiates people to help other people travelling on the same road of life. As most of my co-researchers said that they do not want, as much as possible, others to experience what they had experienced of having none in life. They could easily understand others situation, their feelings and their needs because they had actually experienced the same thing. It could be cited that those who truthfully understand the poor are those, in fact, similarly experienced paucity.
Poverty Awareness and the Economic Condition of People. The diverse forms of media have strong influence in the society nowadays. They spread realities of life (not at all times) in just one click. The economic and human conditions could be viewed even from distant places. Aside from one’s own poverty experience, personal exposure to the economic condition of people in the depressed areas and witnessing their actual life situation could really be tear-shedding experience to a compassionate person.
Helping As a Social Obligation. As true believers, it is our responsibility to take good care of our neighbors as no man could live alone. Having one another to live harmonious life confirms our interrelationship and consciousness of each other’s needs. Trusted by the Almighty, we are His stewards to channel His blessings to those in need and we have given the capability of doing so. Also, it could be revealed that our excesses in provisions are the scarcities to others.
In the “Populorum Progressio” (encyclical written by Pope Paul VI), topic on the development of peoples, emphasized that man is bound to be responsible for his own development as well as communaldevelopment since he is a member of a society – the reality of human solidarity that imposes a duty.
Influence of Other People. An individual could influence others to help, the same as doing good deeds to people, transpires and inspires others. An excellent model is within the family of generous and helpful parents who influence their children to gain the same traits. This shows that the role of family in social development processes is of great importance, in view of the fact that the family is the very basic unit of the society. This portrays that helping as a bud of compassion could sprout from an individual or a group.
Going through and through of each one’s journey to touching the lives of the poor, different levels of understanding would come across to unfold the hidden wisdom of each stories. On the other side of every human saga, acts of compassion is only for the chosen few. However, I believed that somebody has a capability to awaken one’s spirit of compassion as it is grounded in love. No one could neither demand nor impose compassion yet one could bring great inspiration to many.