by Clyde Ericson Nolasco
If I have to tally and rank the words I use in a day, amen would have its place at the top along with "quiet" and "listen". As a Catholic and a teacher at a Benedictine institution, as soon as I rise from my bed, I would say a prayer.
I leave our house whispering to God to keep me and my family safe. In our school, we would have daily morning offerings. In each of my class, we would say our opening and closing prayers (not to mention the grace before and after meals). Moreso, I would have my personal prayers in between my own time, especially when stress is taking its toll on me; and end a long day with pleads and thanksgivings.
Like other major religions, denominations and groups, mentioning the word amen signals the end of our prayer. It's the most basic word a faithful would hear and learn. But we do not just hear this during prayers. Sometimes it would be automatic that we would unconsciously blurt it out in agreement on something that was just said, especially on religious situations and matters.
According to Collins and Farrugia, amen is a Hebrew/Aramaic word that is used to call a peg dug in the ground to keep a tent erect, or religiously mean “so it is” or “so be it”. Old Testament stories like from Deuteronomy, Psalms and 1 Chronicles are but amens of praises while in the New Testament, Jesus stresses the other use of the word which is to express our trust in God. He himself closed the prayer he taught us, the The Lord’s Prayer, with amen.
More than ending our prayers and agreeing to one’s statement, amen captures the depths of our person.
Amen is a sign of life. Whenever we say it for whatever purpose is a proof of our beating heart, a heart that loves and a heart that longs. It is our hopes wrapped in prayers. It is like waiting for Jesus to make miracles. It is like being the blind man Bartimeus waiting to see; like Jairus waiting for his daughter to be brought to life; or like Paul to regain his eyesight. Waiting may not be easy but it is our amen that signifies our hope in God.
Amen is our battle cry. Our life is a constant struggle, a battle we are in. Saying amen is believing Jesus will be with us, that God will be our constant ally. We will be like Joshua blowing the trumpet or David armed with only a slingshot. In every problem that we would encounter, we don’t easily surrender instead the harder life becomes, the louder our amens would be.
Each amen is an affirmation of our hope, an expression of our trust, and the measure of our faith. After all, it’s not a matter of how many times I would say amen in a day, instead it’s a matter of how much I am convinced that God is with me always.
As we journey together, we say amen. As we continue to proclaim the love of God online and offline, we say amen.
Amen. Amen. Amen.