REFLECTION: Sanctifying the economy PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 11:32



Since becoming a priest, I have left behind my former profession of being an economist. I consider priesthood as demanding total dedication to an exclusively spiritual, moral and supernatural goal.

I understand that being a priest, one should not get entangled with worldly partisan politics or with merely profit-seeking businesses, etc. As Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria once said, “A priest should be a priest through and through.” He should only speak about God, and about spiritual, moral and supernatural realities.

Just the same, I also understand that the world of economics, being a human activity, and a major one at that, also needs to be sanctified. That’s why, I also pay attention to some economic developments, both local and global, if only to see whether they are in keeping with God’s designs or not, which is actually a matter of fulfilling the temporal common good of men.

While there is no strict mathematical relation between our temporal common good and our eternal common good, we can nonetheless say that the former helps a lot in attaining the latter. What we do in our earthly affairs somehow determines our eternal destination.

To be sure, God speaks to us also in the world of economics. He is not absent there. In fact, we need to realize more deeply to acknowledge his presence and his will in this part of our life that we usually regard as a place where God has no role to play at all, or that he simply has a little role, as in a cameo or an extra part.

For all its mundanity, our economic affairs have God at the center of it all. They are where God also speaks to us in a special way, and directs his divine providence of guiding all of us and the world toward him while always respecting our freedom and the nature of things.

It’s where many of us are expected to work for our sanctity and to participate actively in the continuing work of redemption. We somehow need to view our economic and other temporal affairs theologically. They just cannot be understood in purely worldly laws.

Thus, I am happy to note that irrespective of the competence or incompetence of our political and business leaders, we have good reason to be happy and confident that life  in general will just move on rather smoothly for us.

Why? Because we have good economic base to drive our economy. The contribution of our heroic OFWs is enormous, and it’s still growing at 6%. And the income generated by our BPOs is also catching up, growing every year at an estimated 20% growth rate. That’s phenomenal!

Local tourism is also rising sharply. We, Filipinos, are spending in our own tourism, suggesting that there is money around and it is being circulated more widely. Thus, the over-all growth rate of our country in the region, while not yet at the top, is not that bad at all.

Imagine if we have leaders who know how to manage the potentials of our economy! Let’s hope that we can choose leaders who are competent and honest enough to face the challenge.

Most of all, we have to pray and choose leaders who are God-fearing, and whose source of competence and honesty is precisely their authentic faith in God and their patriotic love for the people.

Let’s hope that we can see in our lifetime corruption thrown into the dustbin of history.

That may be quixotic as of now. But let’s really hope that little by little we, as people, and led by our officials, go through a radical change of attitude, understanding and skill in dealing with money and other economic affairs.

Let’s pray that we grow in our awareness that our economic activities are an occasion for sanctification and apostolate. They just cannot be ruled by purely economic laws. They should make us holy and should bring us closer to God and to one another in a communion of love.

While we have to behave in a very natural way in our transactions, we should neither forget that each transaction can and should be a form of prayer, an expression of charity. Each of them should make us a better person, spiritually and morally.

Let’s be wary of our tendency to let these business activities feed only our material needs. They have a tremendous capacity to give glory to God and to work for the common good of everyone. Carpe diem! Let’s be quick to take advantage of their sanctifying value, if only we know how to sanctify them also.