TIME and again, a name comes to mind. And the man behind the name becomes alive in the memory of all those who came to know him. The simplicity of his life and the profundity of his understanding. The plain statements he made and the great influence he wielded. The little jokes he cracked and the national impact he had. These are some of the thoughts his name evokes, his person awakens, his deeds inspire. Result: Jaime L. Cardinal Sin is a glorious part of Philippine History. As there is now a “Jaime Cardinal Sin Street” in Metro-Manila, it would be interesting to reveal some simple yet distinct realities about him that many might not know, nor has history recorded—such as:
The paucity of his needs. The clothes he wore were clean but usually old. His house was big but his room was small. When there were no visitors, he ate left-over food.
The lightness of his heart. He received visitors with delight. After meeting with him, they left with smiles, clear faces. He loved saying “Yes” to many requests. He said “No” with a heavy heart.
The profundity of his insights. While remaining a mortal, an ordinary man he was not. He saw much more than what appeared, read much more that what were written. Fooling was not easy.
The propensity he had to pray. He prayed in the chapel and prayed in the car going somewhere. He prayed anytime he had the time. In today’s language, he was a 24/7 praying man.
The tenacity in his convictions. He received contradicting information. He welcomed different opinions. He listened to opposing advisories. But when he became convinced of something, that was it.
The comfort he had when meeting with the mighty and when in the company of the weak. He was at home in the presence of powerful individuals. And he was also at ease when finding himself among the poor.
The charismatic leadership he held. He not only spoke but also acted accordingly. Truth to tell, he was leadership incarnate in the hearts and minds of ordinary mortals, bishops and archbishops included.
No. This is not a campaign for his sainthood. This is not even a drive to make him a hero of one kind or another. This is simply to tell truth about a special man God then gave to His people.
7 September 2011