rapidity of modern, highly technological life, we need to re-study how
to change gears not only in our whole life in general, but also in our
day-to-day routine. What we of the older generation used to know and
use about this skill may not be helpful anymore now with the
At least, we need to tweak it a little, if not do some
major changes, adjustments and adaptations, or we may need to
completely reinvent ourselves. This seems to be the call of the times.
Yes, there are things that should not change, but we cannot deny there
also are many things that need to change.
Virtues will always be virtues, and vices will always be
vices. But the way they are established, expressed and developed have
changed quite significantly. The terrain is now very different from
what it used to be.
We have to be most wary of the almost irresistible pull of
the modern technologies. They tend to rivet us to a particular field
of interest, confining us there often with the sensation we are doing
all right. We fail to realize we are neglecting other aspects that are
even more important and fundamental in life.
This is when we can unwittingly fall into some bad habits
and even addictions. We lose the proper sense of objectivity and get
more buried under an increasingly invincible subjectivism, often
driven and dominated by the blind impulses of the flesh and the
passing values of the worldly spirit.
We have to update our skills in changing gears. We have to
learn how to differentiate, blend and practice in their proper places
and times our meditative and active modes, our prayer, work, study,
hobbies and rest, our family, social and professional obligations, our
private and public lives.
We have to learn how to pay due attention to our spiritual
and material needs, our practice of the theological virtues of faith,
hope and charity as well as the human cardinal virtues of prudence,
justice, fortitude and temperance. This should be given more teeth and
made real, and stop being a mere theory and dream.
We have to be more discerning of the many facets and
aspects of our life and to give the proper attention to each one of
them in a healthy hierarchy of values that reflects our dignity as
persons and citizens, as image and likeness of God, and as children of
In this regard, what is most helpful is for us to make use
of some workable plan of life, a dynamic, living structure that puts
some order into the many elements of our life as well as being open to
new, unexpected developments that can come along.
Basic to this plan is to give due time to our need to
pray, study, work and rest. We need to further specify how to go about
these fundamental activities so we can truly say that they are
functional and are clearly helping us in pursuing our ultimate
objective of loving God and loving everybody else, whoever and however
he may be.
What is also helpful is to continue purifying and
disciplining ourselves so that we can avoid being held captive by mere
sensations and emotions, or by mere trends and fads. That’s precisely
why Christ told us that if we want to follow him, we need to deny
ourselves and carry the cross.
So we should have no doubt about the essential role that
the spirit of sacrifice, mortification and penance plays in our life.
When we are not open to this spirit, when we tend to shy away from it,
let’s be convinced that we would be disabling ourselves to change
gears properly and promptly.
The skill of changing gears in our life is ultimately a
matter of our constant awareness that God is always with us, is always
intervening in our lives, is speaking to us through all the events of
It is therefore also a matter of always recognizing the
presence of God in everything, and of discerning what is trying to
tell us at every moment and situation. This will require tremendous
faith and a strong, vibrant piety, which hopefully would be nourished
by that plan of life we referred to earlier.
Let’s be convinced that being aware of God’s presence all
the time, and actively corresponding to his will and ways is really
what matters in our life after all is said and done.