May 8, 2005, 7:47 p.m.

Ubiquitous Index Finger

The presence of the thumb set the Primates (monkeys, apes and man) apart from the rest of the animal world. It made us do a lot of things, thus facilitating the development of the brain, making it relatively bigger. What about the other fingers? Perhaps the most used and abused is the index finger. I'll now go to the point: it has become the "pointing finger".

When something goes wrong, the pointing finger works: who's at fault? When 9/11 occurred, some pointed at God as doing nothing to prevent it (destroying the faith of many); when hundreds of thousands died due to the tsunami (12/26/04), people did the same thing--blame the Creator. When the price of gasoline or other commodities rise, people blame the president; when a bombing happens due to terrorism, people point to the uselessness of the police, not the terrorists or criminals responsible for the crime. When a lot of people don't eat regularly and suffer a lot of misfortunes, people blame the government for not providing for the needs of its citizens, not the irresponsible parents who bear lots of babies (note, I love babies, lots of them but that's not the point here) without any resources for their future. Some TV documentaries show people in the slums without any real house and yet having ten children. Instead of pointing to the government for any misfortune, we should do something about it (concretely, not by useless talk).

Borrowing from Sr. Joan Chittister, O.S.B. in her book, The Rule of Benedict, Insights For The Ages: "It is not enough, [St.] Benedict implies, simply to distance ourselves from the bad. It is not enough, for instance, to refuse to slander others; we must rebuilt their reputations. It is not enough to disapprove of toxic waste; we must do something to save the globe. It is not enough to care for the poor; we must do something to stop the poverty. We must be people who bring creation to life." It is not enough to condemn the corruption in society (government, etc.); we must be honest in everything we do (if we get a traffic ticket, we receive it gladly and not try to bribe the poor cop, etc.). The people who have first hand information of any anomaly should do something for justice to thrive. "Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry. The face of the LORD is against evildoers (Ps 34.13-16)..." As Sr. Joan Chittister concluded, "Once you have done these things, you will be in the presence of God."

Let's be part of the solution, not part of the problem.