Power of Prayer
St. Scholastica's College
July 14, 2005
Let me thank the Sisters of my alma mater for inviting me to join all of you in prayer in response to our Bishops who said:
“We urge our people in our parish and religious communities, our religious organizations and movements, our Basic Ecclesial Communities to come and pray together, reason, decide and act together always to the end that the will of God prevail in the political order.”
The Bishops also said:
“We believe with Pope Benedict XVI that through prayer the Filipino people and their political representatives and leaders, guided by moral principles, are capable of arriving at decisions for the common good that are based not only on political realities but above all on moral precepts.”
I have always believed in the power of prayer specially during the most difficult times of my life. I believe that prayer is what prepares us for any eventuality, and enables us to cope with what might take us unpleasantly or even painfully by surprise. After all, prayer was one of the first things I learned when I came into the world and I hope that prayer will be the last thing I’ll say when I leave this world.
When we pray, we should acknowledge the weakness of the human person, no matter how high the office we hold or how great the authority we wield. The higher the office, the greater the power, the more we should pray.
Prayer upheld me in power. It was also prayer that sustained Ninoy in prison. Just when he had lost almost everything, he told me he found it all. Prayer gave it to him. And, I think, the proof of this new-found power was that, while he thought of giving up in the first year of imprisonment, he fought on for seven years after finding strength through prayer.
He learned not to complain about the sacrifices he was making. For just when he thought that he must be the sorriest of men, prayer showed him that he was imitating the greatest of them.
It was during his imprisonment that I learned to depend on prayer. But I needed prayer more than ever to live through the brazenness of the assassination. I needed prayer to be able to contemplate what seemed to be the final victory of evil. I needed prayer so as not to fall into the last temptation of despair. On reflection, I think I finally prayed for just the strength to accept God’s will, which was moving in ways very hard to take.
As President I presided over the difficult transition from a dictatorship to a democracy. During my presidency, I faced tremendous problems, the most dangerous of which were the coup attempts. Thanks to the prayers of many of our people, I was able to effect a peaceful transfer of power to my successor, President Fidel V. Ramos.
It wasn’t just prayers of course. Grace needs good works to effect redemption. Government is not just about getting things done, whatever they are. They are about getting the right things done, for the right reasons and with the right people.
Most of what I have said today is a repetition of a speech I delivered 12 years ago, on April 5, 1993 in Rome, Italy where I spoke before 2,000 students from many parts of the world. My son, Noynoy, had suggested that I share with you some passages from that speech.
Before I end, may I just clarify some matters that were brought to my attention. There was a report in one of the newspapers that during my visit to Malacañang on Thursday night, July 7, 2005, that there was a shouting match between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and myself and that I left in a huff. While it is true that I did ask her to make the supreme sacrifice of resigning, there was never any shouting either from her or from me. In fact we even kissed each other when we said good-bye. There were others present during that meeting and if necessary they can be asked to give their own account.
I have continued praying for the President and I ask all Filipinos to pray for her so that we can have a swift and just resolution to our present political problem. Thank you and God bless us all!