Dedicated to the memory of Pantaleon Cambio ("P. C.") Morantte, one of the five greatest Philippino authors of the mid-twentieth century, along with his four close friends, Jose Garcia Villa, Bienvenido N. Santos, N. V. M. Gonzalez, and Carlos Bulosan. Of the Five, P. C. was the last to depart from this earth, leaving us all the poorer for his absence. It is ironic that in his own writing, in the first chapter of his book, (excerpted below) he best conveyed the true response our hearts should take at his departure. He had already long since made his good-byes to us. P. C., you are, and always will be, sorely missed.
(Previously titled "God Is In the Heart - Poetical and symbolical essays," after Carlos Bulosan's "America Is In the Heart," this online edition differs from that published by New Day Publishers in 1982 in that it incorporates a number of changes penciled in by P. C. himself in his own personal copy. "If another edition is issued, these [penciled-in changes] are the revisions I want made on this book - P. C. M.")
GOD IN THE HEART is a masterpiece. In this book are reincarnated the voices of Solomon, St. Augustine, Blaise Pascal, Rabindranath Tagore and Kahlil Gibran, echoing and re-echoing the sound filled with the Spirit of Him who declared, "I am the Truth. I am the Way. I am the Life. Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God."
The author's classical style is able to bring poetry, religion and philosophy to a happy meeting and celebrate in concert the consummate longing of Man to attain his plentitude and ultimate destiny of eternal joy with God. Hence this modest volume by an inspired thinker promises to be a great book of everlasting significance to all who hunger for peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace of soul. - NEW DAY PUBLISHERS, Philippines
WHEN WE SAY GOOD-BYE
When you say good-bye to me and go away,
you and I become detached from each other. We are bodily separated.
But in this physical separation we become more aware of the bond that ties us to each other, we become more conscious of the detachment that confers true meaning to our personal relationship: our companionship, our friendship, or our kinship.
Saying good-bye can be a great opportunity for us to direct our hearts to a better understanding of what we are to each other and a deeper insight into our own selves.
In good-bye is a chance to draw us closer together and mutually endow our lives with more trust and love and spiritual strength.
Regardless of the way you say good-bye to me, I want you to know this: that in saying it you impart to me the word's intrinsic meaning: a silent blessing. Your lips release to me the spirit of goodness in your heart. Whether or not you are aware of it, it nevertheless comes out of you as a quiet confession of a beautiful sentiment that has rested on me.
Every day we say good-bye to someone somewhere. We say it to a loved one going out of the house or leaving our home. We say it to a friend or a stranger. And often we say good-bye perfunctorily, but even so it does not diminish the sentiment that the word intrinsically carries.
Oftentimes people exchange good-byes briefly and mechanically when parting from each other at doorways or street corners and other places. Some utter the word indifferently or meaninglessly or thoughtlessly. But there are some, parting at air terminals or bus stations or piers or even in phone booths whose utterence of good-bye is accompanied by tears and a trembling of the lips or a lump in the throat. For them the word springs from the depth of their hearts.
It really matters a little how good-byes
are exchanged between friends or kin or strangers. For what lies hidden in the
exchange is this: that their hearts have expressed a word carrying an activating
force loaded with the spirit of love and humanity. They have subconsciously
imparted to each other a spiritual message.
For whenever we say good-bye to somebody we indulge in an act of petition for personal good wishes and for mutual blessings. Wittingly or unwittingly we ask God to interpose on each other's behalf in preserving and strengthening our human bonds and in extending his kindness and protection to us.
Most of us freeze the meaning of parting when we merely say "bye" or "bye-bye" although we accompany it usually with a brief smile and a gesture of pleasantry which only accentuates our haste to be away and elsewhere. This kind of saying good-bye is common in societies where the pace of living is fast, and has been accepted by people who think they have no time to waste on moments of lingering motions which seem to accrue them no immediate perceivable benefits.
When you and I say good-bye to each other
we must regard it not only as a sentimental separation but also as a chance to
reexamine the state of our relationship to each other, to look at it, if possible
in depth, in order to see the unperceived truths in our lives as they appear to
the eyes of our hearts.
When we use the eyes of our hearts we are able to come much closer to the truths in our being. For the heart has a way of knowing things better than the mind. As Pascal says, "We know the truth not only through reason but also through the heart." With the heart we are able to see ourselves as we are, no longer constrained to be polite for the sake of appearences. The eyes of the heart always want to see the true face of man behind the mask.
The eyes of the heart can discern our
imperfections as well as excellences, our strengths as well as our weaknesses, our
true merits as well as demerits.
It is therefore good for us sometimes to be away from each other or from close friends or loved ones. For in the course of separation the eyes of our heart can engage themselves in interpenetration of our physically separated lives, thus discovering in them the broken threads that need uniting, the ugly parts in the picture of our relationship that need retouching.
Every parting between us should be taken as a kind of cleaving but at the same time a mending, a kind of severing but at the same time an adhering, a kind of breaking apart but at the same time a holding together more firmly.
You and I should regard good-bye not as
a pointless separation in space and time. Rather we should regard it as a period
for working out a closer union of our detached hearts and a happy chance to integrate
our segregated spirits.
Hence every good-bye we say to each other should be a kind of retreat for mutual reflection, for mutual self-examination, for mutual penetration, and for mutual soul-searching. And every separation should be taken as an occasion for the entrenchment of friendship and love.
WHEN OUR HEART HAS TRUTH
When our heart has truth then we have freedom. For truth is the leg of freedom. And freedom can never stand without truth. We are free, truly free, only when our heart has truth.
When our heart has truth then we have justice. For justice is the arm of truth also. And truth extends its arm freely to bestow mercy, for unless justice is tempered with mercy it is mere legality. The quality of justice by legality is always short of truth.
When our heart has truth then it has
wisdom. And when our heart has wisdom it has goodness. It has great perception
and strong feelings for beauty, for integrity, for purity, for charity, for joy.
The wise heart is the same as the good heart.
The wise heart is profound in emotion. Its sensibility is not superficial. Its understanding and sympathy have depth. Hence it knows how to inspire and uplift, how to sublimate loneliness and grief into exalting victory, and how to be a source of joy.
When our heart has truth then it has
charity. And when the heart has charity it also has love. For charity is one of
the arms of love.
Charity is not where there is no love. It is mere generosity. Charity is more than big-heartedness, more than fellowship, more than magnanimity, more than philosophy, more than friendship, more than humanity. It is the manifestation of truth in Love.
When our heart has truth it has faith.
When our heart has faith it has grace and strength. And when it has grace and
strength it has serenity and stability.
It is a blessed heart, unruffled by the cares and anxieties of daily living, but quietly pursuing the purposes and goals leading to ultimate truth.
When our heart has truth it is filled with soul beauty. When the heart has soul beauty it radiates peace and joy. The spirit of God rests upon it. And when the spirit of God rests upon it it becomes gifted with an unusual power capable of attaining the plenitude of life or of penetrating wonderful worlds and new realities.
So you and I must therefore strive to have first and foremost a heart of truth, the truth that is one with Christ. For his Truth is the source of all wisdom and virtue and love and faith and power.
SUBLIMATING OUR LONELINESS
Now and then our heart feels terribly
empty and at the same time awesomely distant and alone. It suffers a bleak remoteness
stretching far out into faint antipodes, from ocean to ocean, from horizon to horizon,
from earth to sky, from dawn to dawn.
It is a remoteness of body from soul.
It is a remoteness of mind from spirit.
It is a remoteness that stresses the depressing chasm between hope and despair.
All this remoteness spells extreme loneliness.
When our heart is terribly lonely it seems to hang between frustration and exhaustion, between isolation and desolation, between relinquishment and abandonment, between helplessness and hopelessness.
It seems to wander in a desert of inhumanity.
And unless it finds an oasis for its flagging spirit, it perishes
Sometimes I feel lonely standing alone on
a high promontory overlooking a beautiful green valley against a background of
Sometimes I feel lonely just watching a carpet of fleecy immensity from the window of a jet transport.
Sometimes I feel lonely while strolling on a quiet street at night illuminated here and there by mercury vapor lamps.
Sometimes I feel lonely when I see a lone star blinking in a stormy night.
Sometimes I feel lonely when I see a beautiful flower in an old woman's hand.
Sometimes I feel lonely riding in a street car or bus and seeing faces that are strangers to one another.
Sometimes I feel lonely in the midst of people listening to a rabble-rouser.
Sometimes I feel lonely at the sight of a losing team in a football or other game.
Sometimes I feel lonely when my hand reaches for the mail box and finds it empty.
Sometimes I feel lonely when I look back through the years of my life.
Sometimes I feel lonely when I hear songs that bring back memories of loved ones and friends.
Sometimes I feel lonely when I see a lost puppy or kitten.
Ah, I feel many kinds of loneliness. They assail my sensitive heart now and then. Thank God it is able to withstand them.
There is a loneliness born of the heart's
hunger for love and friendship.
Sometimes you feel it while alone watching people frolicking at the beach.
Sometimes you feel it as you sit on a park bench and see couples passing by, some walking arm in arm, their faces radiant.
Sometimes you feel it when you come across a woman hugging a cat by the glowing hearth.
Sometimes you feel it when you see a pretty girl sitting alone in a park and listening to the twittering of birds in the trees.
Sometimes you feel it when you recieve a letter from a friend or a beloved in a distant place.
Ah, you feel it always and everywhere when you pause long enough to listen to the beatings of your heart which never fails to catch the cry-calls of other hearts.
There is a loneliness born of the heart's
hunger for truth and wisdom.
You observe it in the thinker who buries himself in deep thoughts, oblivious of the world around him.
You observe it in the man of science, entombed in his laboratory, pursuing a line of inquiry into the secrets of nature and the universe.
You observe it in the man of letters, intensly absorbed in lacing words that become a great poem or novel or play.
You observe it in the artist, passionately seeking the essence of a subject that obsesses his talent or genius, to the exclusion of other interests that involve his life.
And you observe this kind of loneliness even among ordinary men and women who are lost in wonder about their place in the sun or what lies ahead of them at the end of their life journey.
Ah, you yourself feel it with futility and pain as you observe it in others.
There is a loneliness born of the heart's
hunger for God.
You see this in many a man or woman kneeling church, eyes solemnly raised toward heaven, beseeching God's help in her moment of need or grief.
You see this in the poor and the oppressed.
You see it in the afflicted and neglected.
You see it in the handicapped, the blind, the lame, the deaf, the mute.
You see it in the monks in their cells.
You see it in the lives of saints and martyrs.
You see it in the sacrifices of men and women dedicating their lives to extending a helping hand to the least of God's creatures.
And you see it in yourself sometimes when tormented by doubts and perplexities and troubles and sorrows.
Ah, you feel this kind of loneliness as often as you are struck by pangs of conscience, by empty fame and power and riches, by the vanities of the world, and death stares you in the face.
Now and then we are seized by a complex kind
This happens when we allow our heart to be guided by the perplexed mind which defines loneliness in composite emotions such as the feeling of abandonment mixed with loss, of aloneness mixed with anguish, of alienation mixed with morbidity, of yearning mixed with selfishness, of desire mixed with fantasy, of love mixed with self-pity, of hope mixed with despair.
In this kind of loneliness we try to drag into the center of our being the whole universe.
So we feel the weight of imputed loneliness, imputed to many things we see as if the origin of such a burden of the heart is extrinsic.
We invest with loneliness the moon and the stars, the dawns and the sunsets, the winds and the clouds, the landscape and parks and gardens, the flowers and showers, the rivers and lakes and seas, the valleys and mountains, and so forth.
And we draw in loneliness from many things we hear: the sounds of guitars and violins and other musical instruments, the crooning of songsters, the soughing of winds through the trees, the singing of birds in the shrubs, the warning of foghorns in the dense darkness, the tolling of a bell in a village, the love calls of animals in the wilds, and the many other sounds and strains that cross our mind in moments of solitude and eloquent silence.
Sometimes we are confused about our feelings
of loneliness. We do not know for sure if the loneliness we seem to feel is just
another name for aloneness.
We long to be with someone we miss, or some friend whose company we enjoy, or some loved one whose face we would like to see and whose voice we would like to hear and whose body we would like to touch.
The truth is, we are afraid to be alone. We are easily bored. We are restless.
We confuse loneliness with want for companionship, with hunger for solace, with need for distraction or entertainment.
The truth is, our heart feels lost and wants to be found. It is lost because it does not know how to face up to the state of being alone and what to do about it.
Ah, many of us do not know how to handle
Sometimes we use it as a bait to draw the sympathy of other hearts.
Sometimes we convert it into self-pity, and indulge in this luxury with abandon.
Sometimes we press it to serve as an excuse for morbidity, for egocentricity, for vanity, or for sensuality.
Sometimes we make the most of it to cover our own poverty of spirit.
And sometimes we use it for a grandstand play before friends and relations, believing that if they could be brought down to the state of our own, then whatever feeling we have in our heart would be sweet company.
It is most natural for all of us to be
lonely. But often our loneliness tends to overwhelm our heart with unbearable
suffering, because we do not know how to handle it. It is therefore important that
we learn how to handle it so that our heart will gain strength and wisdom and power
We learn to do it when we sublimate our loneliness.
It is sublimating our loneliness when we begin to elevate it from the plane of maudlin feeling to one of noble sensitivity.
We sublimate it when we relate our loneliness not only to something it cherishes or to somebody it knows or cares or likes or loves or wants or needs or desires, but to a personal God.
And we most certainly sublimate it when we hunger for the companionship of Christ.
And when our sublimation of it has reached this point, we become clearly free from all kinds of self-centered loneliness.
For we know always we are not alone. And so we are no longer afraid to be alone.
THE THIRST OF THE HEART
Our heart has a thirst. But it is a thirst
not for water. Not for any kind of drink to quench the parched throat.
It is a thirst for fire: the fire that stops coldness, the fire that melts hardness, the fire that burns the flesh and forges the soul, the fire that transmutes failure into genius, the fire that transforms a sinner into a saint, the fire that awakens deadness into life.
It is thirst of the heart for the divine fire.
There is a heart thirsting for the fire of
truth, the truth that would set it free from the torment of living in falsehood for
Perhaps it is the heart of a policeman or a judge or an enforcement officer or a minister of a church or a business executive or an ordinary person. But it has long been untrue to itself although it appears honest and honorable to the eyes of close ones and friends and the general public. Many a day or night it cries out for courage to tell the world the truth about itself. Unless it overcomes its own weakness and the fear of its name's undoing, it will remain forever unfree and doomed.
There is a heart thirsting for the fire of
another truth. It wants to know or discover or fathom the truth of something.
Perhaps it is the heart of a thinker. It wants to come upon full knowlege of ultimate truth. If it seeks this ambition in books or in institutions of learning or in knowledgeable mortals, it finds only half-truths, and this is tragedy. For when it dies it is honored by the world which is quick to confer posterity on clever and popular half-truths.
This same thirst holds true for the heart of the men of science. It strives hard to discover the truths and mysteries hidden in the world or in the universe. It is ablaze to know the secrets of nature and the laws that govern the operation of life in man, animals, and all organisms. Sometimes the blaze goes out and it gets lost. But often its efforts find popular recognition. However, when it dies it knows that its thirst has not been fully satisfied.
There is a heart thirsting for the fire that
Perhaps it is the heart of a simple man, a worker in a firm. It has no warmth for other hearts. It does not respond. It cannot respond because it is closed. It has been closed since that day, long ago, when a friend betrayed and hurt it or when someone dear to it denied it love.
It wants to open, but can't. It is therefore distrustful and fearful of other hearts. So it keeps to itself, and it becomes estrange from the whole world. It suffers terribly from want of fellowship, of companionship, of friendship. Sometimes when it can stand its loneliness no longer, it reverses itself. It takes the first step toward remedying the situation: it tries to feel its way out, resolving to forget the old wound and directing its response to the wounds of the One whose heart has suffered and endured the worst cruelties ever inflicted on man by a friend and a group of people. If it persists then in due time it will understand, and from this understanding will come the fire that dissolves all human coldness.
There are many hearts thirsting for the fire
of justice. They are found here and there and everywhere where there are victims of
tyranny, victims of miscarriage of justice, victims of inequity, victims of power
politics, victims of greed, victims of evil doers.
Some of them live as oppressed subjects.
Some are celled in ghettos.
Some are languishing in jails.
Some are working in the fields.
Some are slaving in offices.
The world being imperfect and chaotic as it is and human justice being a part of such a world, the cries of hearts wanting fair judgement and vindication are always going to be heard everywhere. However, their thirst for the fire of justice can be fully satisfied only if they turn their heavings to the Dispenser of Divine Justice who never fails to give every injured heart its true redress.
There are many hearts thirsting for the fire
of love. This is the most agonizing thirst of all. Some hearts have no love. Others
cannot love. And there are those which do not want love or will not love. Regardless,
they all suffer much.
If a heart loves and is not prepared to go beyond common passion, it is bound to suffer the throes of a thousand deaths. It may want to die, but can't. Instead it will live on and on to feel the pangs of total rejection, of excruciating torments of body, mind and spirit.
Let us suppose that heart is you.
You thirst for someone to love, but none is found. Or if one is found, she does not return your love. So you pine in secret. The secret is a hidden pain, a harassing loneliness.
You thirst for any good one to recieve your passion, but none is found. Or if one is found, she is not a good one. She is venal or sordid or useless. A shock of great disappointment hits you, and you begin to lose your sense of wonder and romance.
You thirst for someone to listen to your tender words of adoration and to your pledge of life devotion, but none is found. Or if one is found, she turns out deaf to things worth hearing and to have ears only for the things she is desiring; and you become apprehensive that your wedding pledge might become a promised curse. So you despair.
In your painful thirst for love you wish to cast your affections to the winds, hoping they will blow them into the lap of a soul who might be your fate's proper choice.
But you hope in vain.
Nobody wants you. Nobody cares about what you want to give - - genuine love. Nobody wants to accept it. Everybody thinks your offer is suspect.
And you are yourself suspect. Perhaps because you are a stranger or you lack something in you as a giver as assessed by worldly eyes. You are not socially acceptible. Perhaps you are not rich enough. You are not powerful enough. You are only ordinary. You need good credential, even as a gift giver. You have been found wanting in things the world values most: money, power, fame. These are things worth receiving. And what you are giving is common: Love. So be not surprised it is rejected.
This thirst for the fire of love kills.
It killed Christ.
Often my heart thirsts for the fire of beauty when I am in the midst of ugliness; the ugliness of the human zoo where men and women try to blacken their hearts with hate and revenge and jealousy and violence; the ugliness in the gallery of life where people are racked by poverty and disease and ignorance; the ugliness in cement jungles where women with chemical faces and men with mechanical outlooks vie with each other in job and sex competition; the ugliness in the arenas of culture where I see so much shock in information, so much trash in letters, so much sham in sociality, so much shame in politics, so much monstrosity in art, so many cults in beliefs, so many frauds in commerce, so many tin gods and heroes, and so many schools of disenchantment. The canvas of civilization is getting filled with painted eyesores.
My faith is small. Hence weak. Hence faint. Hence
unshining. So my heart thirsts for the fire of faith.
My faith is like a tiny part of a fagot which must be kindled so that it will give the light that will enable my heart to conquer all kinds of darkness: the darkness of the body; the darkness of the mind; the darkness of the soul; the darkness of the spirit.
Disease, blindness and other affilctions are darkness of the body.
Ignorance, pride and quackery are darkness of the mind.
Sin, lawlessness and lovelessness are darkness of the soul.
Fear, doubt, faintness and laziness are darkness of the spirit.
Unless my heart has the fire of faith it will continue to grope, unable to see clearly where it is going, and surely end in a hellish pit. To have the fire of faith is not easy. It is a divine property that only God can give. All man can do is pray and beg for it. And of course, strive hard to deserve God's gift. This my heart must do, if ever it hopes to magnify my faith and endow it with eternal flame.
WILL AND POWER OF OUR HEART
Our non-material heart has a will. It is
a will different from that will of the mind. In order even to win a great prize or to
achieve a great goal, you must use the will of the heart more than that of the mind.
A person who wants to stop smoking says to himself "I must stop this habit." If his resolution is addressed to the will of his mind, ignoring the will of the heart, he usually fails. For the mastery of any resolution depends upon the combined exertion of both the will of the heart and the will of the mind.
Forget that we have long been hardened to the popularly sustained belief that only the mind has a will; the heart has a will also. Without the cooperation of the will of the heart you always fail.
How often do we hear somebody urge another,
saying: "Set your heart on it." Or "Put your heart into what you
are doing, etc." This means that the heart is endowed with a capability to
accomplish an objective just as much as the mind is, if not more. To insist that
the above are metaphorical expressions is to divest thought and feeling in language
and let words from the lips fend for spiritless meaning. We might as well say, All
speech is metaphor.
Capability implies power. The heart has not only will but also a power which we do not yet know or fully comprehend. Therefore we do not use it, though some wise men already believe its presence in the heart. As the late Teilhard de Chardin says, "When Man at last finds the means to control and utilize the formidable resources of the heart, it will be in his History like the second discovery of Fire."
We have to discover its formidable resources and we have to utilize them to make dreams come true.
Our heart has a will distinct and separate
from that of the mind and body. It has a will distinct and separate from the
will of the body.
The will of the mind proceeds from the resources of the intellect.
The will of the body proceeds from the resources of the instinct.
But the will of the heart stems from all the concentrated resources in the human being. It includes the resources of the body, the mind, the soul, and the spirit.
These resources are part of the Omnipotent Will. When the heart's will is backed by Omnipotent Will, it acquires an extraordinary power.
Hence the will of the heart has a tremendous all-embracing capability or power. This has never been availed of because it has not really been known. Only some remarkable individuals, among them saints, whose life performance was backed by Omnipotent Will and power had known and exercised it. For only when the heart aligns its will and power to the Omnipotent Will can it have and show extraordinary capability.
Again, the heart's will and power together must be not only aligned but united to the Will and Power of the Almighty God or they can never realize the promise of their infinite capability. In particular they must draw for strength from Christ's heart which is one with the All-powerful. "Without me you can do nothing," he says.
To love is to extend the will of the
heart and exercise its power.
When we love our heart feels a sense of new and fresh vigor through our whole being. If our heart's expression of love is truly aligned to the Omnipotent Will, when our love becomes endowed with a strong will and power, such a love is capable of creating wonders:
Beauty out of ugliness.
Strength out of weakness.
Overcome sloth and shyness.
Conquer hate and paltriness.
It can even alter physical states and the operations of natural laws.
In other words, this love can produce miracles.
Most of us do not make a distinction between
the will of the heart and the power of the heart. But they are really two distinct
things and they function differently.
The will predisposes or inclines, envisions, differentiates, chooses or decides. Whereas the power of the heart executes and directs. And their operations complement each other.
For instance, that which the will of the heart intends to pursue the power of the heart executes to its logical conclusion. The will may want to undertake new aims and courses for living or dying or whatever. But it is the power of the heart that summons the whole resources in man and harnesses them in order to accomplish the desired goal.
Remembering P. C. Morantte - A Legion of Mary Patrician Society Talk
Find God Is In the Heart by P. C. Morantte (1982)
Find Remembering Carlos Bolusan (His Heart Affair with America) (1984) by P. C. Morantte
Brother to the Wind (2000) by P. C. Morantte
Luke, Theophilus and Ovelia (A Trialogue novel) (2001) by P. C. Morantte
Footnote to Old Age essay by P. C. Morantte
Where to find more information about P. C.