Thursday, November 4, 2010

Misplaced Prayers

Catholic News Agency (CNA) has a story posted today about a bishop in the Philippines who is attempting to correct misplaced, superstitious Marian devotion.

At first glance, they seem to have great faith – praying fervently, invoking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and watching for signs of God’s will. But these apparent signs of piety have a different meaning for some Filipinos. They’re trying to pray their way to a winning lottery ticket.

On reading the story, I was reminded once again of the assertion by St. John of the Cross that even something as good as prayer can be an occasion of sin if done for the wrong reasons. The circumstances surrounding an action can turn something that is almost always good into something that is not good.

There were two other things that caught me attention in this story, though. First was the way my confused brain kept combining “Grand Lotto” into “Grotto.” It’s quite remarkable, given the Marian context of the story. Second was the web ad that appeared next to the story in my browser. The ad was for a site called “Filipino Cupid” – a Filipino dating service – and featured pictures of Asian women in skimpy swimwear. Hardly an ad appropriate for a Catholic news site!

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