Our area of the Philippines had been suffering a drought, and the government was worried, since we are the ricebowl of the Philippines and also because our watershed supplies water to the greater Manila area and the hydroelectric plant dams were at a low level. There were “brownouts” of electricity and talk of having to ration water for Manila.
So to try to remedy the problem, we took a twofold approach:

One: The government started to seed clouds to produce rain.

Two: the Catholics asked for prayers for rain.

Since the second week in August, we have now had the rain from three nearby typhoons, floods in Manila and Pampanga and the dams are now full: we are still getting electrical brownouts, but this time due to flooding, not lack of rain.
So today’s headline on the front of the staid Manila Bulletin reads:

End prayers for rain – Rosales

Manila Archbishop Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales has ordered the stopping of the Oratio Imperata ad Petendum Pluviam or obligatory prayers to request for rain in time for the the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As a Catholic, I believe in prayers, and as a doc I’ve even seen a miracle or two. But I am always a bit amused when people try to manipulate the Deity with prayers as one would bribe ask a favor of a local politician.

The entire episode reminds me of the joke about an Irish lady who wanted a child, but couldn’t get pregnant.

She cried her eyes out about it one day in confession to the local priest, who advised her to go to Lourdes and light a candle.

Ten years later, after having seven kids and one more on the way, the lady went back to the priest and asked:

“Father, can I go back to Lourdes and blow out that candle?”

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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