Celebrating 30 Years of the Social Weather Stations

[A Prayer In Thanksgiving and Hope]

O God, the one, the almighty, the compassionate God, as we come together today to celebrate the gift of 30 years of the Social Weather Stations in the Philippines, we ask you to give us fresh insight into the condition of our human society, and to how you wish us to contribute to the future of this society.

We ask you to give us the grace not to be complacent, the grace not to accept that in our society there are people who are homeless, people who are hungry and thirsty, people who are illiterate and uneducated, people who are victimized by corruption and political ineptness, people who are discriminated against because of religious belief, people who are excluded from the circles of those who make the decisions for this country and excluded from the benefits of society which they control. Give us the grace to envision a society as you wish it.

Jesus Christ, who called himself “the Son of Man,” spoke to us about a society in which you reign. For that he was put to death. Whatever it costs for us, Lord, help us to envision the society which in the end we all want to bring about, the common good for which we are all willing to work in freedom, the common good which integrates our individual needs and personal desires, and is achieved through ongoing assessment of where we are in truth, ongoing reformulation of what our common good is, and renewed commitment of ourselves to achieving it.

It is in this context that we thank you for the gift of 30 years of the Social Weather Stations addressing our myriad social concerns in a spirit of truth, working relentlessly to see the truth as people see it from their many diverse viewpoints, using the tools of social science and the method of ongoing social surveys to bring the truth inexorably to light, and to enlighten those who in democratic freedom and responsibility would address these social concerns in pursuit of the common good.

Gathered in the joy of this celebration, with the men and women of the Social Weather Stations, we ask you for eyes that see, for hearts that feel, for minds that understand.   We can be so blind, forcing our prejudices on truth we fear to see and our biases on “truth” we fabricate. We can be so callous, incapable of feeling the suffering of people we exclude for our ambit of experience and blind ourselves from seeing. We can be so obtuse, unable to see the connectedness between the poor and ourselves, between their deprivation and our privilege, their powerlessness and our power, their exclusion and our responsibility for the society in which we live.

Teach us, Lord, to see society first as it is, but also as it ought to be.  Give us the minds and hearts to develop a genuine social conscience. Give us the energy and resources to get the data, get the data, get the data, the ability to analyze it with wisdom, and the courage to act in wisdom.

Finally, Lord, we ask you to send more laborers into the social sciences. Bless Dr. Mahar Mangahas and those who have dedicated and continue to dedicate their lives and careers to the SWS with an abiding sense of consolation in their achievement and their service. But send more laborers, more social scientists, into your vineyard that what has been begun may be continued, that what continues may thrive, and that what thrives may succeed in advocating a human society in which all flourish in freedom, prosperity and peace.

About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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