THE twists and turns of life today have been such that we can derive good from evil, and vice-versa, evil from good. We have to learn how to properly deal with this peculiar phenomenon so that we can manage to reach our ultimate goal without getting lost along the way.
We can derive good from evil because God will always be around, providing us with all the grace that we need, as well as his eternal mercy and compassion when we happen to be downed by our weaknesses, the temptations and trials around, and sin itself. There is nothing impossible with God. He can take on any evil and nullify it.
And we can also fall into an evil state in spite of the many good things around precisely because we can dare to separate ourselves from God and just make use of the many good things today, like the new technologies, without him. Sooner or later, these good things will just spoil us and lead us into evil.
A more serious case is when we can be endowed with good if not superior intellectual and spiritual powers but fail to refer them to God. Our goodness, superiority and righteousness could occasion pride, vanity and self-righteousness. This is the classic example of how evil can be derived from good.
The crucial point in this issue is that we should try our best to be with God always, something that we have to work out day in and day out. Our petition to God should be something to the effect that we feel a sharp pain right in our flesh, like a wound freshly inflicted, once we distance ourselves from God.
Godâ€™s patience is infinite. And so, we should never despair whenever we fall into some immoral predicament that may seem persistent. These days, for example, when we cannot but be affected by all sorts of sweet poisons like consumerism, materialism, hedonism, technologism, etc., we should see to it that we get hold of at least a shred of hope in Godâ€™s mercy and compassion.
We all know that our best intentions and best efforts would not be enough to confront the daily onslaught of these sweet poisons and blinding false lights. To dominate these things which usually have a possible double effect, we need to pass by a learning curve, and so we cannot avoid committing some mistakes, big and small.
Especially in the beginning of the process of mastering the many new things that can have dual effects on us, we cannot avoid dirtying ourselves from time to time. And even if we may already achieve a certain level of dominion over them, the danger of falling can still take place. And in fact, the falls in this stage is graver and more painful than those in the beginning stage.
And yet we should never lose hope. Somehow, even if we hate sin and do our best to avoid falling, God allows these falls to take place to give us a more intimate knowledge of our weakness and of Godâ€™s ever powerful mercy.
The temptations and falls can still be useful since they can serve to enrich and deepen our knowledge of things in general, something that we may miss if we have not been tempted and have not tasted the bitterness of our falls and the precious lessons they can give.
Thatâ€™s why saints have also been sinners. We can cite the example of St. Mary Magdalene whose deep contrition and love for Christ sprang from her grievous sins. And big sinners have also become big lovers of God, as in the case of St. Augustine.
It would seem that while itâ€™s true that the corruption of the best is the worst, the reverse can also be saidâ€”the redemption of the worst is the best. This is a thought that should come to our mind whenever we happen to fall into some grave sin. Thereâ€™s always hope. God is willing to forgive and to give us more than we deserve.
Letâ€™s be a Mary Magdalene or an Augustine, or a Peter or the prodigal son, the lost coin, the lost sheep. Letâ€™s make our sinfulness a powerful motive to go back to God. Let us live out those words of St. Paul that it is when he is weak that he is strong. Letâ€™s fill ourselves with the conviction, based again on St. Paulâ€™s words, that where sin has abounded, Godâ€™s grace has abounded even more.
Letâ€™s learn to derive good from evil, and to avoid turning good into evil. (By Fr. Roy Cimagala)