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For Student’s Use Only HAU – Theology 102

Module 1
“Sensitivity to the Beautiful as Filipino Moral Sensibility”

The Filipino sensitivity to the beautiful offers a great opportunity for a

meaningful discussion of moral theology. We can employ the Filipino concept of
“ganda” or “maganda” to excavate the Filipino moral sensibility.
Filipinos have natural fascination to what is beautiful. We manifest certain
inclination and clinging to what is beautiful. In fact, “ganda” or “maganda” is ordinary
part of our daily routine. We state what is desirable or not by using “maganda o di
maganda”; we tend to determine what is ugly or unpleasant through what is beautiful.
And our understanding of what is beautiful varies in different level like maganda
(beautiful), di masyadong maganda (slightly beautiful), lubhang napaka ganda
(exemplar in beauty). Hence, we express our passion for what is beautiful in varying
degrees from aesthetics, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Though we are fond of
aesthetically beautiful manifested through different beauty pageants, ornamental
decorations, etc., we also employ the use of maganda to our cultural context of
pandama where we often express our hopes for what is to come in our kind greeting
of ‘magandang’ umaga (good morning), ‘magandang’ tanghali (good noon),
‘magandang’ hapon (good afternoon), ‘magandang’ gabi and the like.
Overall, ganda or maganda is the “sum total katangian (traits) associated with
anything” (F. Landa Jocano cited in De Mesa and Caho, 2012).

A. Ganda as an understanding of moral goodness

For Filipinos physical beauty is insufficient if one lacks appropriate good
character. This shows that behaviors and actions express what is ethically good and
constructing what is truly beautiful. Hence, Filipinos believed that maganda ang
mabuti (beauty in goodness), maganda ang maayos (beauty in orderliness), maganda
ang totoo/walang daya (beauty in truth/guilelessness).

B. Pagsasaloob sa kagandahang-loob: Embracing moral goodness

External beauty stimulates charm but what sustains the charm is the beauty
that springs from within. For us Filipino, there is no exemplar beauty than the beauty
from within, ang kagandahang-loob, for it is “pure of positivity” (E. Schillebeeckx cited
in De Mesa and Caho, 2012). It is in the innermost core of our being where we truly
encounter the kagandahang-loob ng Dios. For this event to be an authentic encounter
there is a need to internalize (isaloob) God’s kagandahang-loob so as to fully embrace
moral goodness.

C. Pangangatawan ng kagandahang-loob: Commitment to be moral

Embracing moral goodness entails a commitment. The beauty that wells up
from within needs to be translated through constant committed action which we refer
to in our culture as “pangangatawan.” Pangangatawanan ko ang aking desisyon (I will
be responsible for my decision).

Ganda in general
Ganda stands for a delight-bringing totality. It is “not a mere aspect of
social, intellectual, and material reality” but “the sum total of katangian (traits)
associated with anything”. That is why we consider pleasant physical

For Student’s Use Only HAU – Theology 102

appearance as insufficient in what we could call maganda if there is no

corresponding goodness in character” (De Mesa and Cacho, 2012 page 20).
Ethical Concept of Ganda
When we speak of ethical goodness, in a Filipino culture, we zero in on
the behavior or action being perform where the terms mabuti (goodness),
maayos (orderly), and totoo/walang daya (truthful/guilelessness) are
associated to what is maganda (beautiful).
• Maganda ang mabuti (beauty in goodness). Mabuti is associated to
maganda when we say “Good persons (mga mabuting tao) are those
who have magandang loob. Kagandahang-loob is understood as
goodness. Though they are used interchangeable, there is a difference
in the meaning they convey where maganda stands out mabuti. There
are mabubuting tao (good people) who are cold in relating to others
whereas magandang loob facilitates ease in relating to them for they are
welcoming. Hence, magandang loob differ in its impact which makes it
winsomely good.
• Maganda ang maayos (Beauty in orderliness).
What is perceived in a right place (maayos), like spaciousness
(maaliwalas), cleanliness (kalinisan), is considered beautiful (maganda).
In addition, maayos (orderliness) suggests congenial relationships
(magandang samahan) and orderly life as whole (katiwasayan). PCP II
relates that Filipino has a longing for order (kaayusan) out of chaos. This
shows that the opposite of maayos (order) is magulo (chaos). Filipinos
have longing for what is maganda.

• Maganda ang totoo/walang daya (beauty in truth/guilelessness). A

truly impactful beauty is that of which is true, real, and lack of deceit or
pretense. It is a beauty that wells up from within and therefore is natural
and not hiding something. Hindi “pa epek lang”.
Kagandahang-loob is a winsome goodness, ang kabutihang nakabibighani o
nakakaakit. Ethical goodness and aesthetic charm are combined. That is why
Kagandahang-loob is pure positivity that captives and wins people over (E.
Schileebeeckx cited in De Mesa and Cacho, 2012, page 24).
Characteristics of Kagandahang-loob
• Kagandahang-loob is an eminently relational concept.
• Kagandahang-loob is authentic if it arises from the personal initiative of one
• Kagandahang-loob is directed towards the well-being or welfare of the
• Kagandahang-loob is not self-seeking and does not look for a “return of the
• Kagandahang-loob tends to an “excessive” manifestation of goodness and
• Kagandahang-loob is discerned and proven through experiences over a
period of time.
Discipleship as Pangangatawan ng Kagandahang-loob ng Dios
Magandang kalooban is an internal and invisible characteristic of a person. To
make the inner world of interiority (loob o kagandahang-loob) an outer reality

For Student’s Use Only HAU – Theology 102

there is a need for actual witnessing through pagmamagandang-loob to make

the inner reality (loob) manifest externally (labas). “Sa magandang asal at ugali
nababakas ang kagandahan ng loob.” Otherwise, “palabas lamang ito at
pakitang tao.”
This indicates that there is interrelationship between the loob and
pangangatawan where the katawan plays a significant role in this dynamic
relationship. Loob becomes authentically visible and tangible when it is
embodied. “Walang loob kung walang katawan.” So when we speak about
kagandahang-loob, we say that it is only in pangangatawan that the
kagandahan of the loob becomes manifest.

De Mesa, Jose and Cacho, R. (2012). When Beauty Beckons. Manila: St.
Scholastica’s College, pages 15-39

For Student’s Use Only HAU – Theology 102

Module 2
Jesus: Ang lubos na kaaya-ayang mukha ng Kagandahang loob.

The face (mukha) serves as our distinctive identity. We are known for our face.
Hence, face is an important element of our relational reality as it displays what is in
our kalooban at least in several times if not at all times. At some time, we even
manifest God’s kagandahang-loob but there are also times wherein we do otherwise.
The face is not only a literal identification of a person; it is also a symbolic one referring
to a character (e.g. walang mukha (terribly shamed), makapal ang mukha
(shameless), mukhang pera (only money counts) and di maipintang mukha (very
Yet, when we speak of a person who perfectly revealed the face of the invisible
God, we can only point to Jesus Christ. Jesus modeled to us how it is possible to
internalize the gracious goodness of God (pagsasaloob ng kagandahang-loob ng
Dios) through his prayerfulness. Also, he manifested to us a truly committed
pangangatawan (embodiment) of God’s kagandahang-loob through his ministry of
service. For this reason, we could say that Jesus Christ is indeed the kaaya-ayang
mukha ng kagandahang-loob ng Dios, worthy to be considered as the point reference
of our Christian way of life. That is why it is a must that faithful should be aware and
conscious for who is Jesus for them.

Core Ideas
Jesus Christ as the point reference of our Christian faith
He is our maxim for a Christian way of life.

Jesus, a person of prayer: Mindfulness of God’s kagandahang loob

Jesus redefined prayer by showing that it is not only a mere uttering of words
from our lips rather it is a conscious or mindful way of relating to the Father
which leads us into an utmost intimacy with Him; where we could approach
God as “Abba”, our Father, in our childlike faith. To be prayerful (madasalin) is
‘the condition of being constantly mindful of God’s ‘kagandahang-loob’ in all
things and at all times’. This means that when we are mindful of God’s
kagandahang-loob at all times wherever we are we can be considered praying.
Jesus exemplified prayer in his life through his deep awareness of God’s loving
presence and prayerful disposition. Jesus used the power of prayer as an
opportunity to discern the will of God and renew his commitment to his mission
to proclaim the kingdom of God. Jesus way of prayer, taught through the “Our
Father” revealed 3 intertwined elements of prayer:
(1) an intimate contact with God;
(2) a feeling moved by God;
(3) a hope to God’s reassuring presence.
In short, Jesus’ prayerfulness demonstrated a mindful total submission
to the kagandahang-loob ng Dios.

Jesus, a person of service: Ministry of kagandahang loob

The ministry of Jesus gave witness to his words. His deeds
demonstrated his faithful commitment to God’s kagandahang-loob. His face to
face witness through deeds was characterized by his (1) authentic goodness
flowing out of graciousness (pawing kagandahang-loob), (2) genuine desire
(kusang loo bang pagmamagandang loob ni Hesus) for a better life to the
people and not to glorify himself, (3) transformative power (nakakahawa ang
kagandahang-loob ni Hesus), and (4) total dedication for the good of others
(walang kapantay ang kagandahang-loob ni Hesus). Thus, Jesus is not simply
good but winsomely good. In deed and word, he exuded God’s alluring

For Student’s Use Only HAU – Theology 102

compassion for humanity. Many found hope in the goodness of God because
he was a living proof of God’s kagandahang loob.

Jesus called for a change of heart (pagbabalik loob) as he invites us to a life

discipleship (pangangatawan).
In so doing, he presented the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and the great
commandment (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:29-31; and Luke 10:25-28) as the
central message of love revealed in the kingdom of God.

De Mesa, Jose and Cacho, R. (2012). When Beauty Beckons. Manila: St.
Scholastica’s College, pages 15-39
Kasper, Walter (2015). Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian
Life (William Madges, Trans). Quezon City: Claretian Communications
Foundation Inc.
Wells, Samuel (2010). Christian Ethics: An Introductory Reader. UK: Blackwell
Publishing Ltd.