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Life and death

All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days passed in relative peace this year. For Catholics, the work for gaining plenary indulgences for the souls of their loved ones through a visit to the cemetery to pray for them continues until Nov. 8.

Death is a daily reality that calls us to reflect some more these days.

Just last week, the death toll in the Oct. 15 Visayas quake rose to 222 according to the latest official count. Most of those who perished were from Bohol province.

Aftershocks persist, reminding authorities and everyone else of the need to be better prepared for tremors.

Drop, take cover and hold must be a standard exercise outside official drills.

Let’s not pass up the chance to be disaster-prepared.

Anticipated to be a super typhoon, Yolanda is expected to hit the Philippines tomorrow or on Friday. We need to prepare not just with prayers but with practical provisions and connectivity to rescue groups.

Nature provided a typhoon preview, so to speak with the damage that a tornado wreaked on Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities Monday night.

We can only heed Mother Earth as she uses her natural, forceful ways to remind us of the preciousness and frailty of our lives.

At the same time, let us remember what Archbishop Palma said of earthquakes is true of other natural calamities.

“We don’t subscribe to ideas that God wants to inflict punishment on us through earthquakes,” said Palma, outgoing president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“This is an imperfect world and there are events and factors that are beyond human understanding.”

Two from the government died of illness on Halloween and All Saints’ Day, respectively: the former chief justice Andres Narvasa and director Rene Burt Llanto of the Department of Science and Technology in Central Visayas.

Narvasa sealed his place in history when he acted as counsel in the Agrava Commission that probed the assassination of the late senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’Aquino Jr., Llanto was known as a dedicated public official who nurtured colleagues and subordinates.

Death is a robber, coming in seemingly natural guises to take away people close to us, or who have done society much good. Death can be savage: 4,900 perished in the flash flood that struck Ormoc City in Leyte province 22 years ago.

Our Filipino sense of faith reaches into the great beyond and encourages us to do our best to work and help and serve in this life, in the hope that we will meet again those who have gone before us, when our turn comes. To paraphrase Rabindranath Tagore, death comes, not to extinguish the light, but to put out the lamp because the dawn has come.

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Tags: All Saints Day , All Souls’ Days , editorial , opinion

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