THIS is what we have to follow in life, a kind of law to guide us in our earthly sojourn. We have to make it an attitude that should take root in our system and that later on would grow the appropriate skills and habits.
We need to be faithful because there ultimately can be
only one purpose in our life. And that is nothing other than to know, love and serve God, as our catechism tells us so clearly, and to love everyone else, regardless. We are made for loving. Thatâ€™s the design our Creator has given us. We should not alter that design. We have to be faithful to it.
But we also need to be innovative, constantly innovative, in fact. And thatâ€™s simply because we have the notorious tendency to fall into routine, complacency and lukewarmness, which is the silent, steady and treacherous process of dying of the spirit, our true life principle.
If the spirit dies, we would be at best a living dead, a most radical contradiction we can have. And our spirit dies when it separates itself from its origin who is God. This is a truth that we need to be reminded of very often, since we always tend to take it for granted. Put bluntly, we cannot live as we ought without God.
That is why Christ gave us this indication: â€œEvery scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.â€ (Mt 13,52)
We need to know how to blend the traditional and the innovative, the old and the new, the absolute and the relative, the more or less stable culture and the appropriate passing fads.
In a higher level, we need to know how to put into an organic whole the sacred and the mundane, the faith and the sciences, arts and the technologies, the eternal and the temporal aspects of our life, etc.
Given the naked reality on the ground, we need to examine and question the status quo of our life many times, since we tend to do well at the beginning of any endeavor, then start to deteriorate as we go along, until we end up badly.
This has always been our lot and we should not be surprised by it anymore. And much less should we feel helpless about it, since there are many things we can do to renew ourselves continually, neutralizing the bad effects of our complacency, if not taking advantage of it to produce a greater virtue.
This latter case can happen if we have the proper faith and attitude. As St. Paul would put it, â€œFor when I am weak, then I am strong.â€ (2 Cor 12,10) With Christ, death itself can give rise to our resurrection to eternal life, our final victory.
Among the things that we can do to counter our tendency to get accustomed to things and to fall victim to the desensitizing effect of complacency, routine and lukewarmness are the daily effort to make a good examination of conscience, a monthly recourse to a day of recollection, and a yearly spiritual exercise called a closed retreat.
These are good occasions to look more closely into how our spiritual and moral life has been faring, and to see, in a manner of speaking, what parts of our spiritual and moral life need to be cleaned up, oiled, or perhaps changed, revised or reengineered to adapt to changing circumstances.
We need to hone up our desire to do these things because given again our weaknesses, we usually do not like to them. We should not forget that we like to enjoy more than to exert effort. Laziness and comfort-seeking is a legacy of our fallen nature.
These exercises can actually bring us to an indescribable sense of adventure, since we will realize sooner or later that we there are many new things that are truly helpful to us and are waiting for us to discover. These new things would give us the sensation that we are flowing with the times, not stuck at a certain corner of time or a certain mould of culture.
We will soon discover that we have many more potentials that are just waiting to be tapped. These exercises help us in unleashing these potentials and putting them to optimal use and effectiveness for our own good and the good of all, and all for the glory of God.
Yes, we have to discover our personal formula to follow this law of how to be faithful and at the same time innovative. (By Fr. Roy Cimagala)