Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pray for the Philippines, and give generously from the heart

A mother weeps beside the dead body of her son at a chapel in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban. She cried bringing him into this world; screamed in frustration as she nurtured him; and now weeps as her hand caresses his cold, lifeless cheek. Her heart is broken; the grief overwhelming. The wooden cross on the distant wall is utterly unapproachable.

Multiply this mourning by 10,000, and add countless millions who are now homeless, jobless and without food or clean water, struggling to survive after what is believed to be the most devastating natural disaster in recorded history. The photographs pierce the heart: the catastrophe, destruction and havoc are unimaginable. Wives have lost their husbands, and husbands sob their hearts out at the loss of their soul-mates. Thousands of children have been orphaned. Lawless hordes are looting. Bodies are rotting in the streets.

Like the suffering Job, some will be pleading to God, asking "Why?"

But this is not a time for theodicy. The whole creation is groaning, as in the pains of childbirth. Life is a tragedy: it is one bitter problem followed by another; a day of trauma followed by a week of anguish followed by a month of sorrow and a year of unbearable pain. And then, at last, you die.

We can reflect and pray: the Archbishop of Canterbury leads the way:
The news of the devastating storm in the Philippines is tragic, and my heart goes out to the people there. We are all deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of thousands of lives and of the suffering of millions as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.

'Our prayers are with all who have lost loved ones and all those who are traumatised by the disaster and in desperate need of food, water, shelter and medical attention. We pray for those who are most vulnerable in this crisis: children separated from their parents, the sick and injured, the disabled and the elderly.

'As a Church, we will stand beside the people of the Philippines at this devastating time, offering all we can in practical and spiritual support as the scale of the disaster unfolds.

'I note that the relief work has already commenced and my prayer is that governments, agencies, churches and individuals will respond generously to help the people of the Philippines to recover and rebuild their shattered lives.

'May the victims of this terrible storm know God’s comfort and derive strength from their faith.'
And the Church of England has published a prayer for the Philippines:
O loving Creator, bring healing and hope to those who, at this time, grieve, suffer pain, or who have been made homeless by the force of flood in Philippines.

We remember those who have died and we pray for those who mourn for them.

May we all be aware of Your compassion, O God, which calms our troubled hearts and shelters our anxious souls.

May we pray with humility with our troubled and struggling brothers and sisters on earth. May we dare to hope that through the generosity of the privileged, the destitute might glimpse hope, warmth and life again.

Through our Saviour Christ who lives with us, comforts us and soothes us. Amen.
Please don't read over that "through the generosity of the privileged" bit. Prayer demands action. Suffering on this scale needs a response. Please give a charity donation to an organisation involved in the relief efforts. The amount doesn't matter (Lk 21:1-4): the important thing is that we are helping someone in need (Mt 25: 31-40). If you don't know a trustworthy charity, feel free to donate to His Grace's Collection Plate and he will forward your contribution.

These are not foreigners: they are our brothers and sisters, and their need is great. "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."


Blogger David Hussell said...

A timely post Your Grace,

The Philippines, an island chain, an archipelago, running roughly north/south between the warm seas of the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea, is beset by virtually every physical hazard that occurs on this earth including earthquakes, vulcanism, tsaunami and violent weather systems.

May they receive all the spiritual, material and financial help that the world can muster.

12 November 2013 at 08:37  
Blogger Len said...

This is a time to give whatever we can be it financial or our prayers or both.We live in a World that seems to be in constant turmoil with tragedies
happening on an ever increasing scale.
'This is not a time for theodicy'but there must be a growing awareness that events are happening on a global scale of which we have no control.
The whole creation is groaning, as in the pains of childbirth.

12 November 2013 at 09:24  
Blogger Preacher said...

Give & Pray for those that are left in such sorrow grief & pain.

12 November 2013 at 11:38  
Blogger Anoneumouse said...

Has anyone else noticed that there are more BBC reporters in the Philippines than aid workers

12 November 2013 at 12:14  
Blogger David Hussell said...


Yes. The BBC is as wasteful as it's biased.

12 November 2013 at 12:19  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Donation sent to Medecins Sans Frontieres who are as always in the front line when a disaster hits. Thank you, Your Grade, for the timely reminder.

12 November 2013 at 15:20  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Your Grace, even. :) Bad typist.

12 November 2013 at 15:20  
Blogger IanCad said...

I'm sure I would have got around to it manana.
Thank you for the needed push YG.

I donated to ADRA. They have boots on the ground there.

Here's a link if anyone is so inclined.


12 November 2013 at 16:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well, you fellows go and pray until you’re pink in the face…

Meanwhile, some practical advice for the people of the Phillipines…

When rebuilding, all property at the sea edge to be constructed using brick / stone / concrete. Construct a massive and unbroken windbreak - hotels or apartments, or a mix, which will shelter the traditional flimsy properties behind it.

One doubts that will happen, but we can always pray it does…

12 November 2013 at 18:01  
Blogger David Hussell said...


Sounds like practical and reasonable advice.
Wind shelters create a tapering zone of calm in their lee, eg, our very English field hedge system is all about, discouraging aeolian soil loss and drying out.

But also construct lockable underground shelters, simple cellars, private or more likely communal ones. US mid-western states, in the "twister" zone, do this - underneath the houses. Then you emerge a few hours later, blinking, aghast into the chaos, the shattered remains of the largely wooden structures, now in smithereens - but you survive !
It's like the favourite saying of the poor bloody infantry, "Dig or die!"
They need to get organized.

12 November 2013 at 19:08  
Blogger Hannah said...

It's terrible, I hope the Great British Public will donate to this cause as they did when the Tsumani struck a couple of years ago.

As a ps, I'd note that Israel has already sent a team to help, but that's what you'd expect from the 'lying Zionist scumbags' (quote Corrigan); 'shock horror' the Jewish state helping a Roman Catholic state in a time of great need...

12 November 2013 at 19:42  
Blogger IanCad said...


The windbreak makes a lot of sense. However, the Phillipines are also at risk for severe earthquakes and for that condition wood framed buildings perform better than masonry.
At least if they're built to moderately decent specs.

12 November 2013 at 20:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David Hussell / IanCad. If you were to drive on the A40 through the highest of the Cotswolds, you might think you are driving past a wood on your south. Not at all, a mere strip of wooded land, a few paces across, but running for miles. The ancients didn’t want their top soil blown away. Can’t blame them – it’s stony ground up there.

Unfortunately, one suspects that in a few months time, instead of a six to seven storey edifice over a long length, we will see brand new shanties shining like a new pin – ready for a similar storm this time next year. Mankind is rather slow on the uptake, don’t you think ?

Then again, the country might try sitting in the global warming compo chair. Why be proactive when it’s industrialised nations to blame...

12 November 2013 at 22:47  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Unless, IanCad, earthquake resistant reinforced masonry is applied. That requires money and money is in short supply in the Philippines.

A hearty welcome back to the Inspector's true and trusty avatar. The frown and the singeing gaze should have a salubrious effect on any miscreants who may be about.

12 November 2013 at 23:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Poor, poor people.

13 November 2013 at 00:56  
Blogger Johnnyrvf said...

The most sickening thing about this disaster is the delegates at COP19 in Poland jumping on these peoples misery by using this enormous tragedy for their own political ends.

13 November 2013 at 01:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

When I opened this thread, I wondered if I would encounter an atheist disparaging prayer as trivial and impotent. Imagine my surprise to see the expected disparagement only to discover that the disparager was not an atheist.


13 November 2013 at 05:12  
Blogger Born Again Agnostic said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 November 2013 at 05:55  
Blogger Len said...

I had also observed that contemptuous comment on prayer from the Inspector.
It would seem the majority of atheists have more compassion for the lost and suffering than some of those who profess a 'religion'. These remarks do harm to the faith .In this case Catholicism.

13 November 2013 at 08:36  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

O, for godness' sake, you people.

13 November 2013 at 16:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl / Len. The Archbishop did not open a book of condolence, but had he done so, this man would have left his mournful respects. Regarding prayer. If you feel the need, do it. Personally, one has prayer as not achieving anything. Why should it ? The idea that our thoughts and wishes can attract divine providence is ludicrous. We don’t call the shots on this earth, we never did. However, one can see prayer in the form of sober thought and reflection as an intricate part of services of worship.

Far better to allow a couple of days grieving for the lost, then get up off your knees, and draw up plans for a massive windbreak building that can withstand earthquakes, and underground bunkers where the population can shelter the next time.

13 November 2013 at 18:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Prayer is trivial and impotent but if it makes you feel better then knock yourself out. There, that's done.

I donate through DEC (dec.org.uk) now. It's quick and easy ... and my employer matches my contributions.

13 November 2013 at 18:23  
Blogger Len said...

The Lord Jesus Christ thought prayer'worthwhile' I suppose that is why he taught His disciples to pray..

13 November 2013 at 18:42  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, if you are still around, Happy Jack knows this is the time of year you remember the 'Night of Broken Glass' and he sends his prayers to your people too.

13 November 2013 at 22:13  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Thank you, Happy Jack.

14 November 2013 at 04:10  

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