Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Against Fanaticism

I’m currently in Mindanao, a land war-torn by forces that defy human logic. Talking with a new friend, an incoming pre-novice for the Salesians, Kuya Erwin, I have learned much more on the Mindanao situation than sensationalized national news.

We were discussing Abu Sayaff when I blurted out that Muslims aren’t so peaceful in this country. He corrected me that not all of them are like the bandits. Like Christians, there are good and bad fruits among the harvest. It’s just that they don’t have a deeper grasp of their faith. Fanaticism, its universal among the world’s religions.

A faith not understood in its original context can result in the worst atrocities in human history. Talk about Jihad and the Crusades, all were justified in the name of faith and God. It’s as if we were created to annihilate each other simply because we don’t share the same beliefs. But its true and is very evident in history, that men inflamed by zeal for their religion and not their God, have begun to do exactly what their religion is leading them from.

Fanaticism is our common enemy. Our only weapon is education and an openness to learning. Our baptism into Catholicism did not mark the completion of our Christian Life. We are called to live our faith. The same goes for Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and other religions. I believe it’s not enough to profess by mouth the teachings of our spiritual leaders we must, so they say, “walk the talk”.

This is the main reason why I admire so much our Catechists. They are a specie on the brink on extinction. Yet their calling remains a very fundamental part of the Church – the instruction on the Faith. With the onset of secularism and materialism, and all the other -isms out there, fewer and fewer have taken the initiative to volunteer in caring for the flock. Looking at the most persevering catechists I have met, I simply could not describe the awe I feel for their faithfulness. Notwithstanding the lack of financial gain in their apostolate they have pushed through teaching the thousands in schools in order to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of the Christian Faith.

Fanaticism spoils anybody’s faith. Education and Instruction perfects it. Profession and Witnessing immortalizes it.


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