On her television-aired radio program, Luchi Cruz Valdez beheld the impeccable manner Manny Pacquiao handled his recent defeat. She attributed it to the boxer’s new found religion and noted that the Bible preacher boxer passed his acid test with honors.
Incidentally, sports columnist Al Mendoza addressed questions whether Manny’s renewed religious zeal may have affected the outcome of the fight. “He went up the stage without his rosary. Ano ibig sabihin nun? It was the first time he did it in 7 years. Laging may rosaryo yan sa leeg pag akyat sa lona. Pagkatapos niyang lumuhod dun, tatanggalin niya. Pero kahapon hindi niya suot.”
Note that the guy implored more on the gesture and not the object. The thing that was questioned was not even what the rosary can bring him or what the rosary has brought him in the past (Although looking at that is just as faulty) but he among others are looking at the pre-fight ritual. So simply put it, a discontinued ritual may have cost him the fight. That’s not at all shocking considering we are a nation full of rituals. But understand first that any devout Catholic who really understands the faith would be quick to tell us that the rosary in the first place is for devotion and not an amulet for incantations. If it were about rituals (involving or not involving the rosary) then the premise would be that if we are successful, we attribute our wins to our rituals, then the object of rituals get the second praise if it gets praised at all. Moreover if we are unsuccessful, then it goes to say that maybe we skipped a crucial chain in the ritual. And that should be pretty awful for the devotee.
This gets us in a blind doctrine of a work mentality of ritual honoring, merit earning belief. Call it utter Cross-less if there is such a term. Scripture says that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18). For any person who does not understand the grace given us through the gospel of Jesus, a life dictated by rituals is a norm. Whether it is rejection or ignorance, the finished work of Jesus, abolishing a ritualistic culture is yet to get a grip in their hearts. On the other end, as believers we need to embrace the truth that the cross is the very power that frees us from a ritualistic life. What is the implication of that? It means:
You don’t pass an exam because you got your lucky hanky with you.
You don’t get denied a job because your helper accidentally washes your favored jeans.
You don’t become a great dad today because you prayed three hours straight without drifting.
You don’t live a life of chance!
You live a life of favor because the Jesus who is through all, above all and in all is the Jesus who is before all things who has all things held together (Col.1:16-17).
We need to be reminded that favor is on us and success is in us not because we have threaded things together but because Jesus died on the cross to give us life and have it to the full.
So the fact herein lies that not one ritual will get the mojos working again for Pacquiao simply because rituals don’t equate to anything.
As to what cost him the fight, I don’t know. The judges maybe, but definitely not the discontinued ritual.
Going back to Cruz-Valdez’s observation, I have this scripture in mind, 1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV) Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. Pac knows he got millions of hearers and he did walk out those volumes of preaching he’s been doing. One of his hearers is Cruz-Valdez and she has this as a conclusion: “Totoo ang kanyang pananampalataya.”
On a side note, my wife who knows I’m a big fan of the sport, woke up early Sunday morning to announce that Pacquiao lost by decision. She dreamt that when Bradley was being given a beating, a big guy climbed up the ring and beat the crap off Pacman. He lost by decision in that dream! 🙂