REVIEW: To bring us to the center of the heart of God … God of the Poor … God of Justice

DIWANG BALAAN/BANAL: A Decolonial Discourse on Pinoy Spirituality
Karl M. Gaspar, CSsR
Institute of Spirituality in Asia, 2022 

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 January) — Life has taught me that spirituality is not a relationship with someone up there detached from the mundane day-to-day concerns; but rather it is a relationship built on experiences and praxis within the world with which we move around, with people, in events and with the felt (and unfelt) realities fashioned by the Divine Creator. 

Every bit of it brings us to discover the WHYs of life, leads us to the roots of our faith and takes us to the depths of our SOULS and eventually (and hopefully) to the HEART of GOD. This is the most important message of this book – to bring us at the center of the heart of God. It is therefore a journey – not static but a movement – not simply a personal movement but a co-journey with the rest.

Br. Karl Gaspar, CSsR, in his new book DIWANG BALAAN/BANAL invites us to RE-MEMBER more deeply and creatively the source of our religiosity that makes its way to an authentic and meaningful connectivity to the source of life. He invites us to take on a journey, let me call it a decolonialization journey from a colonized mindset to freedom from colonialization.

Courtesy of the Institute of Spirituality in Asia

The Indigenous Spirituality from which we derived the Filipino religious identity is not just a memory but a constant grappling with what makes us who we are as etched in the fibers of our being. In the process, decolonization takes place because understanding where we are coming from puts our foot forward to the present realities which brings about the moment to moment conversion and transformation. Not being fixated in the past but moving forward for much needed change, justice, peace and integrity of creation.

The last chapters of the book signal the call to a spirituality of compassion, “being with” and/or solidarity with the most marginalized. Solidarity is a crossing over to the other, embracing the other’s joys and griefs, gains and pains in the struggle for justice. In other words, we are invited to justice-making

The commitment to this mission is a commitment to the God of the poor who is a God of justice.

(Sr. Flora C. Secuya, m.a. was Coordinator of the Missionaries of the Assumption from 2018-2022. She served in different capacities in many mission areas such as Director of Saint Ambrose High School in Zamboanga del Sur and Community Engagement in-charge of Marist School in Marikina, among others. She has also worked with the Lumads in San Luis, Agusan del Sur. She is presently the Director for Finance of Assumption College of Davao and Director of Paglaum Philanthropic Development Office of the Missionaries of the Assumption).