Pedro Calungsod – yet another Filipino saint Filipinos can look to for miracles

I read recently that we have another Filipino saint queued for canonisation by the Roman Catholic officialdom in the Vatican. Blessed Pedro Calungsod is a 17th Century Visayan martyr whose bid to be the second Filipino saint is “now a certainty” by virtue of a papal decree made last week according to an Inquirer.net report. That’s nice. Another Filipino saint.

A lay catechist, Calungsod died in Guam while trying to defend his fellow mission worker, Jesuit priest and now Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, when the natives attacked them on April 2, 1672. Calungsod was 17 years old.

The same report relates lead Calungsod sainthood advocate Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson’s account of a “miracle” that is “attributed to the intercession of the young Visayan martyr”. The miracle, reported in March 2003, involved “a businesswoman in her 50s” who “hails from Eastern Visayas” making a remarkable recovery from a coma she fell into after suffering a catastrophic loss of oxygen supply to the brain while undergoing heart surgery.

It was at this point of near resignation [over the patient’s unpromising parameters] that the doctor uttered a prayer to Calungsod.

At around 6 p.m., the woman woke up.

According to the doctors, if any recovery was still possible from such a comatose state, it would take weeks and the patient would be reduced to “a vegetable, paralyzed and unable to speak,” Leyson said.

And yet the woman recovered in just four hours and showed no signs of physical impairment whatsoever.

As word spread around the hospital, more doctors and other members of the medical staff rushed to the patient’s room.

‘Who is that?’

One of them wondered whether there had been a misreading of the patient’s brain data, but a check later showed that all measurements were accurate.

“That is the miracle,” Leyson said.

It’s a good story with a happy ending. The miracle had since been officially recognised by Pope Benedict XVI as a legitimate miracle “obtained through Calungsod’s intercession”. This was, according to the report, the result of a long process of “verification” to establish that “only Calungsod was called out by the woman’s doctor and not any other saint or figure honored by Catholics”.

It makes me wonder, however, what makes one person who was practically dead eligible to receive the “graces” of a “miracle” from a candidate saint and get a second chance at life while others — thousands of others — who were otherwise healthy, raising families of their own, looking forward to Christmas, and had mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters like billions of other human beings, had their homes and lives simply washed off the face of the Earth in last week’s flooding disaster wrought by Typhoon Sendong.

When we thank our god for the “blessings” we received this Christmas, do we stop and wonder to ourselves what makes us more “blessed” in the eyes of said god compared to the millions of others who seem to be leading wretched lives that are practically devoid of those “blessings” we are routinely thankful for in prayer? When we rejoice over how “God is good!” when something nice happens to us, do we pause and wonder why he is not as good to others as he is to us?

What makes us — what makes me — so special in God’s eyes that I’d be so blessed with a roof over my head and food to eat three times a day and have nice things happen to me while others aren’t? Is it because I pray with a louder voice than most others?

Look back at the year that just passed and we will find that this is a year where one influential person or another in Philippine society claimed before the Filipino public that he or she holds a special place in one conceptual source of “power” or another — whether that power be the long-ingrained tradition of an all-powerful deity, or in the more recent but equally nebulous notion of the “people’s will”. The disturbing aspect of our belief that one sector of humanity or, worse, one individual — such as, say, ourselves — is so exceptionally blessed by some notional power lies in its silence on what is left for all the rest.

The most obvious example is in the way Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III claims that the God of Roman Catholic Filipinos is on his “side”. What then does that say about those who find themselves in today’s political Opposition; about those who are critical of his views, approaches, and policies; about those who are mounting a legal defense against his efforts to incarcerate them? Does that mean Noynoy’s Roman Catholic God is against them?

The way to resolve these difficult questions is not too difficult. It just requires us to be a bit less self-absorbed; a bit less comfy in the sketchy notion that we are “blessed” by a god or are “mandated” by some sort of “people’s will”. In fact, we should altogether ditch the notion of our individual specialness. Much of the history’s great atrocities were outcomes of that sort of thinking — how one or a handful of tribes were a “Chosen People”; how one culture or gene pool formed the “Master Race”; how one belief system is endorsed by the “one true God”; etcetera, etcetera.

Perhaps there are “miracles” and there are “saints” and gods who intercede against the physical laws of Nature so that said miracles may happen. If so, let’s be thankful for these in silence and continue to achieve quietly when we do get on with life, rather than so pompously proclaim a personal conclusion we make that these constitutes “evidence” of some personal blessedness awarded to us by the powers we believe in.

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19 Comments on “Pedro Calungsod – yet another Filipino saint Filipinos can look to for miracles”

  1. I love the logic here: “She recovered, and we have no explanation. I know! It must be the divine intercession of an obscure 17th century martyr! Quick, call the publishers of the Lancet!”

    When I read this story about the “miracle”, the first picture that pops into my head is Ricky Bobby running around the track in his underwear shouting, “Help me, baby Jesus! Help me, Tom Cruise!”

    1. Kinda hard to believe how the silliness of the logic of things like these routinely sail over the heads of Filipinos. It wasn’t even a reported apparition. It was a prayer claimed to have been addressed to said obscure martyr.

  2. Question to the doctor then…

    “why, after all hope is lost, did he supposedly “choose” to pray to Calungsod only for help or intervention when Calungsod was not a saint to begin with nor tied to any miracle pertaining to recovery of health/life?”

  3. Gaya nga ng sbi ni Tito Noy, bhala na ang Diyos sa kanila. Kta nyo, ambait tlga nya, pinagdarasal pa ang kalaban kht mdme cla nging ksalanan sa bayan.

    1. Does the Comm Group pay you by the number of comments, or do you get a flat rate? Because if it’s the latter, you know you can spare the rest of us at least a little bit of your irrelevance and take a pass on commenting on every article.

      1. I think we should just close our eyes if the comment comes from Vincenzo.

        It’s like what one comment mentioned that he might just be forcing feedback from us based on how he comments or he’s just a mindless zombie.

        So let him post what he wants to post and don’t bother to comment on it anymore. Saves us time and energy for something more relevant.

    2. The irony that seems to escape these guys is how their moronic logic and jejemonic writing style makes the very people they presume to represent look all the more like the bunch of chumps that they are.

    3. @Nutzi Vincenzo

      Vincenzo why don’t you become a stand up comedian in a Makati bar? If we compile your statements you could earn a lot of money. A joke book… “BadNoy’s Spiritual Rise to Greatness.” LoL.

    4. @vincenzo:

      sana ipagdasal ka din ni tito noy mo na kunin ka na ni Lord. kasi malamang sa ibaba ka mapunta eh.

      di ka mao-OP dun, maraming sinungaling dun.

      wag kang mag-alala. susulat kami.

      1. ‘nga pala, sabihin mo kay tito noy mong ipagdasal din niyang may dsl sa impiyerno para makapag-comment ka pa rin ha.

        ipagdasal mo na rin na may pamaypay sila dun, kahit gawa sa chickenwire para it reminds you of tito “chicken” noy.

  4. I believe that whoever, your God is…he/she is irritated by the way people attach themselves to him/her…Adolf Hitler’s Nazi troops, always prayed: “Got mit us.” Or “God is with us.” While they: murder, dehumanize, and brutalize people, they conquered. Noynoy Aquino tells us: ” God is with me.” While he partied, during the time people were drowning and dying in flood. Or while Chinese tourists were murdered in a bus in Luneta…God or Divine Source maybe real…but he does not think like the rest of us…

  5. “He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Jesus Christ

    “The grace of God appeared to all men.”
    – St. Paul

    I don’t know where this sainthood being decided by a group of people or an organization came from, but it’s certainly not in the bible. When people start being exclusive of God’s grace and blessings, it’s easy to detect that’s someone’s feeling self-righteous.

    Feelingero!!!

    “..for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..” – St. Paul

    1. This is why I don’t find the Catholic Church a real Christian church. Look, only God is the Father over all men, so why do we need a ‘pope’ to represent the Father on earth? And why do we need a physical temple like the Holy See in the Vatican to declare that it is where God resides. Didn’t it say in the bible that the temple of the Holy Spirit is within our souls? Besides, it’s being said that the Catholic Church is already being resided by the evil one as mentioned in the revelations as well as in the letters written by a woman from the Lourdes revelations. I’m Catholic, but I believe that everyone who follows God’s true teachings deserve also to be called saints. I hope more and more Christian Catholics would stop listening to the lies of these so called instruments of God and start reading the bible to understand the real meaning of Christ’s presence and purpose to humanity.

      1. @ christy

        You are absolutely right to say that religion is total nonsense. It is the personal relationship with The GOD of the universe that matters.

        New discoveries in Quantum Physics show that when GOD, who science now calls the “Divine Matrix” heals a person, it takes less than 3 minutes for that healing process to take place no matter who you are as long as you come to HIM with a clean and honest heart.

  6. Big deal, another candidate saint. No denying those people lived good lives, but is it really that big a deal if said candidate was Filipino? It’s tacky and pointless, actually. And it’s not like Filipino Muslims would give a good hoot.

  7. I was actually more interested that day in the canonization of Kateri, the Lily of the Mohawks. If you study her personal history closely, she converted to Catholicism while STILL clinging to the native Mohawk religion.

  8. Even in asking for favors from a supernatural entity, we resort to the “palakasan” system. Being a saint, Pedro Calungsud can be considered a member of God’s own version of KKK. If you can’t find your way to the bossman, try getting the attention of one of his inner circle to do it for you. Frankly speaking however, if I have an illness, I’d rather see a doctor who is presently very much alive, active, competent and practicing his profession successfully rather than to an obscure dude who died about 200 years ago or even to his idol 2000 years before.

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