It will be recalled that last Sunday's piece highlighted what we believe was Dr. Jose Rizal's exceptional response to his deportation to the city of Dapitan. We pointed out that while Dr. Rizal may have gone through the usual and normal human response to being involuntarily exiled to a far- away land, he chose to transform his situation into a productive one.
It was during his exile in Dapitan that Dr. Rizal showed the many facets of his genius. It was there that he performed a few successful eye operations, particularly that on his mother, DoAaAaAeA~a Teodora. There, set up a school for the city's future leaders, a hospital, and displayed his finest talents as a botanist, sportsman, urban planner, agri-entrepreneur, and grassroots advocate.
We said that the exile brought him away from his "zone of comfort." Away from that zone, he landed in what we called Dr. Rizal's "zone of conquest."
Two friends asked me to have coffee with them just to discuss my views on the subject matter of "being exiled" further.
One friend said Dr. Rizal's deportation was what is called an involuntary "political exile".
While there are not very many Filipino political exiles today, involuntary or otherwise, there are many who may be called "economic exiles", my friend explained.
"Elaborate," I asked him to expound on his concept.
"Economic exiles are our countrymen who, because of the need to earn a decent living, are forced to leave their families and work in faraway places for extended periods of time," he began.
"While they may not have been made to leave at the point of a gun, they may have had no other viable options but to leave their own comfort zones," he continued.
"But just like your view of Dr. Rizal's treatment of his exile, many of these economic exiles are also able to transform their host countries into their own 'zones of conquest'," he added.
"Illustrate," I challenged him.
"Take the case of Rose Fostanes, the Filipina care-giver who became the first grand winner of a popular nationally-televised singing contest in Israel," he offered as an example.
"She left for a far-away land to help her struggling family, and there challenged herself to be her best," my friend continued.
"We, Filipinos, are truly gifted with that exceptional ability to transform difficult situations into a win," he added, gleaming with pride for his countrymen.
"There's another story of a voluntary exile which has never failed to inspire millions," our pastor friend joined the exchange.
"What's the story?" I asked.
"His Father is King, but he voluntarily went on exile to a world which was totally different from his Father's Kingdom," our pastor friend continued. "He was neither a political nor economic exile," he explained. "There was another reason he voluntarily left 'home'," he added.
"What was the reason?" I asked.
"Well, he went on a difficult voluntary exile so he can work out a reconciliation between his Father and those who went against his father," our pastor friend continued. "He died during his exile, but that was the very completion of the purpose of his exile," he expounded.
"And while on voluntary exile, he, too, created his zone of conquest - he healed, he performed miracles, he taught, he preached," he continued.
"Like our Filipino economic exiles who are mostly driven by love for their families, this particular exile was driven by his love for mankind," our pastor friend slowly started to reveal the exile's name.
"Unlike Dr. Rizal, he had no concrete monument in the place of his exile," he pointed out.
"His monument is in the hearts of men," he said.
I know the name of this most wonderful of all exiles.
His name is Jesus.
This Sunday, we hear once more His invitation to us to leave the comfort of our lives that are separated from the love of the Father.
From Him comes grace which empower all of us to transform our own petty lives into zones of conquest.
A blessed Sunday to all.
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