NEW YORK CITY — After Iloilo in the Philippines was hit by a 4.8 magnitude quake on November 5, 2018 morning, the social media was immediately flooded with prayers such as “Lord, protect us from the earthquake”, “My God there’s another one. We need your protection, oh God Almighty”, “Let us pray for our safety the earth is shaking”, etcetera.
Then there were sons, daughters, parents, grandfathers and grandmother, friends, calling their loved ones via “Messenger” asking, “Are you safe there?”, “I hope you are all OK”, “There’s an earthquake here very strong”, “Please pray for us”, “We will pray for your safety. Just pray”, etcetera.
Prayer. Lord. God. Pray for us. Protect us. Save us.
These were the hottest words that went “viral” and probably created “hasthags” in heaven these past 72 hours.
Roman Catholics even recited the names of saints for protection and salvation.
Many indeed prayed hard; some went to the church and lighted candles.
Regardless of religion and faith, we hear the same prayers during the floods, strong typhoons, fires, violence, riots, among other natural and man-made catastrophes.
Only the atheists don’t and won’t plead to the ghosts in heaven and will just probably wait for the moment when the world crumbles and submit their fate after every calamity.
If we cry out to God in our crisis like the recent Iloilo quake, He will and can bring us help, yes; and He can make a multitude of blessings out of every circumstance.
There’s nothing wrong if we send out our petitions to our Creator via the social media.
He might turn our mess into a message and our test into a testimony, no matter how challenging or difficult may be our present situation.
But, why do we have this penchant to remember only God or remember only to call Him out to “save” and “protect” us during the crisis?
Can we not say the same prayers even during normal times or when there are no floods, earthquakes, and other natural crisis and calamities?
We can, of course, but the problem is we are lazy, neglectful of our duties and obligations as faithful, slothful, and downright phlegmatic when it comes to this area of our life.
Each day when we wake up many of us even forget to say a prayer or a few words in silence to thank God for the gift of love, daily bread, and life we enjoy for the moment everyday.
But we prioritize and are quick to open our social media accounts and post photos of our latest stunts and escapades, parties, food, expensive restaurants and hotels, our new shoes and vacation targets, etcetera.
We forget God; we always place Him in the backseat.
When calamities like the Iloilo quake come, we rattle and panic; and the first thing we remember is to call God and seek His intercession.
It’s impossible not to be touched when you are part of the New York City Marathon on November 4, 2018 either as a participant, a spectator, a plain observer, a sportswriter, a sportscaster.
The New York City Marathon is arguable the most prestigious and the biggest marathon in the world.
Everything was there: the good weather, beautiful Central Park, colorful aerial view, spacious routes, enthusiasm of runners and organizers, international energy circulating within the 26.2 miles routes that covered the five New York City boroughs — Staten Island, Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn.
The most touching episode, I think, was when Kenya’s Mary Keitany made the sign of a cross two seconds after breasting the tape in the finish line for his fourth NYC Marathon title.
I immediately realized that Keitany, who topped the race with a time of 2:22:48 and becoming the second female ever to win four New York City Marathons, was a Roman Catholic.
Her parents must have named her after Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, or Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ alleged lover.
If chess is dominated (or used to be dominated) by Russian-sounding names like Karpov, Kasparov, Topalov, Yusopov, marathon is dominated by African-sounding names like Kamworor, Kitata, Desisa, Keitany, Cheruiyot, Okayo, to name only a few.
Many sports fans may not be familiar with these names; it may sound like an ancient prayer if we mention these names simultaneously because they are all come from Ethiopia and Kenya, two African nations that have produced some of the great champion runners not only in the NYC Marathon but also in the London Marathon, Boston Marathon, and even the World Olympics Marathon.