There are many things that come to us through Providence that we can describe as “Manna from Heaven.”
We have so far survived two pessimistic predictions which are two hundred years apart, first the Malthusian Theory of Catastrophe – rapid population growth that could outstrip the world’s resources (1789) and Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock – the “disease” that accompanies rapid technological change (1970).
Holy Family Church stained glass Teconnaught (Wiki)Both prophesies jolted us sitting on the bench of the so-called Good Life. Social and economic transformation brought us to a modern world, and industrialization’s accelerated thrust catapulted us to a post-modern world, we call Post-modernism.
Long before these global events happened, the ancient world saw the rise and fall of civilizations in a prototype pattern characteristic of the prophesies of Malthus and Toffler. The most celebrated of such event was the fusion and sudden collapse of the Greco-Roman Empire. Surprisingly however, the Greco-Roman culture became the model of the Renaissance in the 15th century, and the centuries that followed, including our present civilization.
All of these tested the resilience of mankind. Apparently, we were able to disprove the Malthusian Theory through Green Revolution in the sixties and seventies doubling or tripling agricultural production. We opened new territories, invaded the sea and converted wastelands to farmlands, while science and technology vastly improved production efficiency, and created new varieties and breeds of plants and animals.
We too, have survived the Cold War which lasted for fifty long years. Since the nineties, nations formerly polarized by the ideologies of free capitalism and socialism have merged into a “global village.” Never in history has the world turned into a common path of cultural, social, and economic globalization.
Now we are engaged in another great upheaval. We are experiencing the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression of America in the twenties and thirties. It is history repeating itself. The ghost of Malthus has returned, haunting us with gloom scenarios of worldwide miseries. Our population now 7 billion continues to increase in geometric proportion, while the availability and costs of goods and services are spiraling beyond the reach of the masses. Meantime the environment continues to deteriorate from the deleterious by-products of industrialization - pollution. We are destroying the base of production itself.
It is as if we are in a neo-exodus crossing a bigger desert this time, involving a thousand-fold throng, seeking deliverance as we strive to reach “the land of plenty.” The way is long and uncertain because it seems to be uncharted - ironically amidst a revolution in knowledge we quite often describe as “technology age,” “information highway,” “space age,” “cyberspace,” “electronic age.” Actually we do not need all of these in our search for that Promised Land.
Manna from Heaven may have a number of interpretations, from hoarfrost on grass at daybreak, to honey-like secretion of insects. It could be the crust of lichen or mycelia of a mushroom, or gum tapped from tamarisk, a legume tree growing in the desert. Researchers found other possible sources of Manna, which include the Manna Ash, a native to southern Europe and Southwest Asia.
In our sojourn to that Promised Land we find along our way a variety of manna that we can assure ourselves that “we shall not want.” We liken our native malunggay tree to the tamarisk or the Manna Ash. We have a diverse source of short- growing food crops we barely cultivate which like hoarfrost and honeydew become available at daybreak as we begin another day of travel. And like the biblical bread and fish during the Sermon on the Mount, there are manna that multiply with people’s faith and effort with the blessing of Providence.
Certainly there are the likes of the deliverer Moses in our midst. We greet and salute them. Above all, we join them in their campaign. Yes, we can find that Promised Land. And we shall not want along the way. ~