12/1/07

The Year 2007 is marked in history, albeit quietly, as the Centennial of the First Philippine Assembly, the incipient Philippine Congress of the First Republic in Asia. In October 16, 1907, on it opening day, right after William Howard Taft formally opened the proceedings, Bishop Barlin was given the floor to deliver the invocation or opening prayer. Nationalist historians dismiss this event as an American colonial tool to pacify the Filipinos, but curiosly, among its first topics on its opening day was the subject of Philippine Independence and from point of view of an American journalist simply saw it as a significant event in the History of the Filipinos, thus he wrote:
"It was Father Barlin who made the invocation at the opening of the First Philippine Assembly in 1907 --- a little incident in world history the full significance one hardly grasps. In a setting of Oriental Fanaticism, where life is held at naught, where man has no right that may not lose overnight, where his liberty, his home, his family are his, only as long as they are not wanted by another more powerful than he, there had come into existence an island people with Christian ideals, in whose land our own America had laid the foundation of democracy. Here, in 1907, the Bicol bishop, Father Jorge Barlin, gave the opening invocation at the first Oriental assembly of the people, by the people, and for the people".
Invocation for the First Philippine Assembly
October 16, 1907
Delivered by Msgr. Jorge I. Barlin
Translated from the original Spanish by P.B. Robosa


To You, Greatest and Omnipotent Creator, the only Magnificent King, Who reigns over the Universe with Eternal Majesty as the only Lord God. Who has created it with Your Power, You have put it in order with your knowledge, You support it with Your kindness, and You control it with Your Providence; to You, Voice of God in the highest, on whom the light of intelligence existed from all eternity, and with it you enlighten all men born to this Earth; to You, fountain of knowledge, whose eternal commandments are just and honest for all men, governments, families, societies, countries and nations, for the tribes and the kingdoms; to you Father of Light, from whom descends generosity and perfect gifts; counsel and impartiality; prudence and strength; to You on whose hands are the riches and the glory, the opulence and justice of all nations; to You, for whom the rulers govern with wisdom, the lawmakers decree just laws, the princes and heads of states order good things and the judges administer justice; we invoke You now on this great day of our history, on the day when the Filipino nation, a nation that acknowledges and adores you, is assembled for the first time to deliberate on its future destiny.
Pour upon these noble representatives the abundance of Your gifts, light over their intelligence, firmness in their wills, straightforwardness, nobility and determination in their acts, prudence and tact in all their decisions; so they may decree what is good and useful for the country, that which would contribute for its well being and greatness, that which would make it tread its way always towards the path of real human progress, until it reaches the summit of liberty and independence where dwells the noble and great nation, to which you have trusted the continuity and accomplishment of the work for its moral and political greatness. Bless also, Omnipotent God, that country under whose protective shield you placed the direction and safeguard of our social life, peace and liberty. For the perception and practice of justice, you have made this country great and strong, you have exalted it with majesty and power over other nations; endeavor, Lord, that while fulfilling the mission you have trusted it with, make the Filipino nation great and contented among other nations of the Earth, AMEN.
Let us commemorate the yearnings and the hopes of the Filipino nation so eloquently laid out by our "kabanwaan" and continue to pray for our Nation, our government and our leaders that they may return to the guidance of God's wisdom and follow His will.

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