All Souls’ and All Saints’ Day are a Filipino tradition to visit our loved ones in cemeteries or columbaries. Many of our relatives, family, and friends who have moved on to the next life must be enjoying a trouble-free life, except probably for those who didn’t make it to the promised land.
A good friend Mary de Leon passed on an interesting email to me the other day. Let me qoute some important points. Here, the Brazilian theologist Leonardo Boff and the Dalai Lama are in dialogue.
“The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person. The religion that will do that for you is the best religion… Whatever makes you more compassionate, more sensible, more detached, more loving, more humanitarian, more responsible, more ethical… What really is important to me is your behavior in front of your peers, family, work, community, and in front of the world… Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our thoughts.”
While I know the over zealous new Christians believe the only way to the new life is to be a reborn Christian, and some Catholics, too, feel the same way, I believe religion is important as to developing our faith in God. As I believe in Jesus and Mary, other religions would have Muhammad, Buddha, etc. We should respect the different faiths we each have.
It’s like when we go to school, our mentors may be the Jesuits of Ateneo, or the La Salle brothers, or the Benedictines of San Beda. In the end, it is about how our school and its mentors mold us to become better people – people who believe in God and that there is indeed an afterlife that awaits those who have done well in this earthly life, not just in terms of material wealth, but in spiritual wealth which ought to have taught us to look inward, and to use both forms of wealth to help others. This is the essence of life.
Somehow All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day remind us of our mortality, while my youngest daughter only looked forward to Trick or Treat in her scary costume. The fear of mortality is so far from the minds of many of the young people today and some take spirituality as a last priority compared to us whose consciousness grows more and more as we get older.
I was able to get the eulogy of the sister of Steve Jobs from a good friend, Tony Garcia, whose father-in-law and also my wife’s uncle, Cocoy Orosa, just passed away. Steve Jobs is an idol to many. I, myself, having all Apple gadgets, have not met the person but yet somehow know him through his breakthrough products. The eulogy which was shared on the Internet spoke of someone who had worked so hard, and somehow took a back seat when it came to his family. Sometimes we get obsessed with work and something in our life gets neglected – it could either be health, family, or spirituality. If it were different for Jobs, maybe we would not have the iPads or iPhones of today. But towards his illness, from the eulogy delivered by his sister, his priorities started to change.
I have not read the book on Jobs yet but the eulogy depicts a man who has realized his mortality, and this was clearly seen in his speech given during the graduation rites in Stanford. Towards his last years of his life, health and family became equally important to him. His last words before passing, according to his sister, was “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”
Jobs was a Buddhist. He did not go to church. He did not believe in the next life but this, I am told, changed towards his last years. His last words for sure were an expression of the next life. He was entering heaven. He has definitely given back to this world through his creation and inspiration.
The book which I read and shared months back is Heaven is for Real, a story of a young boy who had the chance to see heaven. There was a compelling portrait of Jesus in the book, the one closest to how Jesus really looked like. It was painted by an eight-year old girl Akiane Kramarik, who was having visions of heaven. When showed to the seven-year old boy Colton, the kid who visited heaven, he told his Dad, “Dad, that one’s right.”
Since I wrote that article on the book, a number of friends bought and started to share that same book with their family and friends. Taking time out to reflect on things does help. This may be a bit off from our regular features on Ask Go Negosyo. In fact, I’ve already finished writing a column but I suddenly got inspired to write something different after reading the eulogy of Stevie Jobs. I hope this insight helps.