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One should wonder. What does it mean? Salvation. It seems the central focus of every living person’s life. Without even meaning to, humans try to answer this for themselves: What do I do with my life? How do I make it “nindot”?

The personal answer each person has for this question certainly defines the quality of his or her life. The religious tenets help to answer this question. But in the end, the demands of faith are always unique to every person. It is always personal. One must have to go beyond the ambiguities of religious canons and ritual in order to get at the core. And if one believes that God guides the person even at this most personal level of experience, then there must be a point to the claim: It is God who chooses to save us.

According to Christian religious texts we are all already saved. Christ died on the cross to erase the stain of Adam and Eve’s sin. We are all technically absolved of that sin. What is left for us is only the personal understanding of it. Therefore it follows, we are left only with the simple problem of saving ourselves. Clearly, this is a simple problem which is not so simple.

One could simply claim that we can do this just by going about our religious duties: Go to church on Sundays, do the sacraments, give to the poor, visit the sick, and so on. But there is nothing new in doing all these. After all, people had been doing it long before Jesus Christ was even born as man. And it seemed to the Maker that the central theme of Jesus’ life was its revolutionary nature. He proposed just two commandments: Love God and love your neighbors as you would yourself.

These commandments are easy to understand. They are simplicity itself. They are certainly not as complex as dogma and ritual. They do no speak of political and ideological implications, do not speak of the liberal and conservative divide. They are not counter argument to any claims by any political or religious institution. You can believe in them without having to do away with anything else you already believe in. In this sense, they offer a singular definition to what it might mean to be Catholic, as in universal. Anyone of any religion can go by these commandments without fear of heresy. They are monuments stronger than a rock for their simplicity and clarity. They are poetry.

Poetry are text which are beautiful. They are beautiful at various levels. The most basic is that they sound beautiful. They taste well to the mouth. But since text carry ideas, it goes to follow, the ideas they carry must taste well also to the person’s mind. They do not jar. They might disturb, even shake the thinker from a sleep of dis-awareness. But they must have a special quality that is hard to explain in words unless one uses the native tongue. For us they must be “nindot”.

The things which are “nindot” to us produce a special feeling of something like awe and wonderment in the mind. But this feeling goes beyond that. They produce a physical manifestation, a smile perhaps, or even a laugh. Or they might moisten the eyes with a recollection of something familiar though forgotten. But how do we know whether something is nindot or not?

We just know. It is a sensibility so basic, we might as well say: If you don’t have it then you don’t get it and vice-versa. It is not something you learn in school or from somebody else. It is a concept learned from collective experience not just of one but of many generations of a people. It is deeply rooted in the depths of the consciousness, also rooted in the depths of culture. It is something everyone taught us since as long as we can remember. It is a capacity inside each one of us, the core faculty which completes our humanity. After all, if one cannot see the “pagkanindot” of babies how can one ever raise one properly to adulthood? If one does not understand the “pagkanindot” of life, how can one ever learn to respect such a complex and difficult commandment as “Thou shall not kill.”

And then, what of love? If one has not ever felt the “pagkanindot” of it, how could one ever come to understand: Love God and love your neighbors as you would yourself? The Maker believes, we all have our own personal understanding of these things. But if he were asked why he likes religion, he would say: “Kay nindot.”

By Raymund Fernandez.Cebu Daily News.