By Robin Gomes
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has issued a message for the new year, urging Catholics to meditate with Mary on the mystery of the Incarnation and be filled with “divine hope”.
Incarnation brings hope
“God comes to us through Mary. The incarnation tells us of the dignity of our human nature,” says the message issued on behalf of the Philippine bishops on the occasion of the 1 January Solemnity of the Mother of God. “With Mary we can ponder these things in our heart and be filled with a divine hope and new way of seeing all of life illumined by the Light who has come into the world,” writes Archbishop Valles who succeeded Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan as CBCP president on 1 December. Archbishop Valles notes that “because of Christ born of Mary we live in a new time” and we can begin a new year “filled with hope” - a “hope that endures in the darkness of our world”.
Inhumanity, terrorism, sinfulness
The call to hope from the 66-year of archbishop comes at a time as Asia’s largest Catholic nation continues to grapple with issues such as the Moro insurgency and the fighting between security forces and Islamic State-linked militants in the southern island of Mindanao, President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruthless war on drugs, human rights abuses and the ravages caused by tropical storms.
“In the midst of tragedies, man-made and natural, in the midst of the inhumanity present in the world today, in the midst of heartless terrorism, in the midst of sinfulness,” the Archbishop of Davao says, “we have the confidence that Mary accompanies us in the midst of darkness and she leads us to hope.”
Witnesses of hope
“So as we begin 2018, we turn to Mary, the Mother of God, and ask for her aid, her intercession that we may be living witnesses of hope” – “a hope that proclaims by our lives that the Light has overcome the darkness,” Archbishop Valles says.