By Robert B. Roque, Jr.
The year 2020 is the “Year of the White Metal Rat” based on the Chinese Zodiac.
Although we Filipinos welcome each year on January 1, the Chinese Zodiac is based on its lunar calendar with varying dates, thus formally recognizing the beginning of the Year of the Rat on January 25, 2020, and culminating on February 11, 2021.
Being the first sign of the Chinese Zodiac’s 12-animal cycle, many people think the Rat marks a year of new beginnings and renewals.
There is no harm in trying to follow an ancient practice that people believe can bring blessings. We respect our Chinese brethren and the traditions they adhere to, which they firmly believe brought them success in every undertaking.
But bear in mind that life has a different set of trials and good fortune in store for every one of us each year.
If we want to receive good fortune, do not rely on any particular symbol and instead focus your efforts on hard work to achieve your dreams, beginning at the bottom if need be and working yourself up with a lot of sweat along the way. Maintain a positive attitude, be sincere, and never try to pull one over on anyone.
If you want to follow an ancient Asian principle, then believe in the law of cause and effect. Good causes will naturally bring you positive results, as bad causes will make your life a living hell. Karma is a universal reality no one can escape from.
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But for the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), 2020 is the “Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue, and the Indigenous Peoples”.
“The Church, therefore, urges the faithful to enter with prudence and charity into discussions and collaborations with people of other religions and cultures. Let Christians, while witnessing to their own faith and way of life, acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among peoples of other faith and traditions, and also their social life and culture,” reads the CBCP Pastoral Letter.
“Interreligious dialogue does not merely aim at mutual understanding and friendly relations. It reaches a much deeper level, that of the spirit, where exchange and sharing consist in a mutual witness to one’s beliefs and a common exploration of one’s respective religious convictions.”
Although we belong to a society where a majority of the population are Christians (the rest are followers of Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, or any other belief), respect and tolerance for one another’s religion should never be overlooked.
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