Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Our commitments are no deadweights

WE have to be clear about this point, so indispensable in
our life since one way or another we always enter into some
commitments. Our commitments, whether they be with respect to marriage
or to some other vocational vows and lifelong promises, are no
oppressive burdens but rather earnest manifestations of one’s pure

            They certainly have a weight to be borne, but they
actually are wings that would enable us fly high in our love for God
and ohers.

            To be sure, we are enabled to fulfill them since in the
first place we have a spiritual nature that can transcend the
limitations and changes of our situations and circumstances in life.

            And even before that, we are assured of God’s grace that
is always available in abundance, so that our potency to be faithful
in our commitments can be actualized. Toward this end, we have all the
means to be true to them—doctrine, prayer, sacraments, spirit of
sacrifice, testimonies and examples of many who have been faithful and
generous to their commitments all the way to their death.

            We should not be afraid to enter into commitments. But we
should have the proper dispositions. We need to trust in God’s
providence, strengthen our faith, hope and charity, develop a sporting
spirit in life, avoiding worrying too much when we encounter certain
difficulties or suffer some setbacks in trying to live by our

            If we are humble and simple, and react to these
difficulties and trials with faith, everything would just be fine.
Even the negative things that can come our way would be rich sources
of precious lessons and powerful magnets for God’s grace to come to

            Simplicity and humility are very important virtues so that
we can get to see things very objectively and completely. Their
opposites distort things and, worse, in very convincing ways. These
virtues facilitate our seeing things the way God sees them. They
facilitate the workings of faith, hope and charity to take place.

            It’s important also that we regularly renew our
commitments. Human as we are, we always tend to take things for
granted, to fall into complacency, and eventually to forget things.
Worse, we can start justifying our infidelities.

            The renewals of our commitments should be accompanied with
a fresh desire to be more generous in fulfilling them. Commitments as
expressions of love need to grow and grow. They cannot be in a
standstill, for that would be the beginning of a retrogression and
eventual violation.

            We have to find ways for this greater generosity to our
commitment to take place. In this regard, we have to be creative and
versatile, always monitoring the new developments and the changing
circumstances so we can engage our spirit of commitment to them

            That’s why we need to be flexible and sporty in our
attitude toward our commitment, something that can always be done due
to God’s grace and our spiritual nature. That flexibility will clearly
spur and indicate our growth in our love and commitment.

            In other words, we should have a very positive, go-go
attitude towards all commitments we enter into. We should not get
stranded by the difficulties and possible setbacks. We should just
continue to move on.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Always spread the Good News

WITH all the pieces of news that are bombarded on us 24/7,
we should never forget that there is the Good News that can and should
serve as the constant context of all news items that come our way.

            This Good News will never fade. It will never become stale
and obsolete. It will always be breaking and ever relevant to every
event in our life, big or small, happy or sad. That is, if we also
know how to present it and understand it.

            What is this Good News? It’s nothing other than “the
proclamation of Jesus Christ, the ‘Son of the living God,’ who died
and rose from the dead.” (Compendium 19) Being the pattern of our
humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity, he is the one who can
tell us how to understand all the events of our life.

            He gives us the whole picture of things. He gives meaning,
reason and direction to everything that happens in our life. Nothing
in our life is not covered by his redemptive work. Precisely as our
redeemer, Christ takes up all of our human affairs and concerns and
gives them their proper and redemptive meaning.

            St. Irenaeus explained this point very well when he said:
“When Christ became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in
himself the long history of mankind and procured for us a ‘short cut’
to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the
image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus. For this
reason Christ experienced all the stages of life, thereby giving
communion with God to all men.”

            The obvious conclusion we can make is that we really have
to know Christ very well to be able to understand everything in our
life and live them according to his redemptive plan.

            We can never over-emphasize this point, and everything
therefore has to be done so that we get to know Christ as he ought to
be known, that is, without distortion of any kind. We may never know
him completely and fully since he is a mystery, but there’s such thing
as existential faith in him, expressed in hope and charity that would
put us in living contact with him.

            We have to understand this existential faith as not
opposed to submitting ourselves to the teaching authority of the
Church. In fact, it needs this submission. It also involves having
recourse to the sacraments, continually studying the doctrine of our
faith, waging constant ascetical struggle to develop virtues and fight
against our weaknesses, temptations and sin, etc.

            Another way of nourishing this existential faith is by
showing it with our deeds, precisely by making an effort to show how
Christ is relevant to every event in our life. The media should be
open to Christ and should strive their best, making the necessary
study and research, to relate everything in their work to Christ.

            That way we can be more assured that the news items are
purified of spins, biases, prejudices and the tricks of
sensationalism, etc. We can be more assured that the news are properly
anchored and oriented. Otherwise, they become fake news.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

We’ll always have the poor

CHRIST himself said so. “You always have the poor with
you, but you will not always have me.” (Mt 26,11) In other words, we
will always have the poor because in the end we all are the poor. We
are all in need of God. That’s what makes us all poor and hopefully
struggling to attend to that most important need.

            That said, we cannot deny the obvious fact that according
to some human standards and criteria, we have some people who are
considered poor and others considered rich. This distinction should
not be lost in our mind and should trigger in us the desire to do what
is appropriate.

            Thus, we have to understand very well the true meaning of
the slogan often mouthed by many people today that we should give
“preferential option to the poor.” This policy or pastoral thrust
which, doubtless, is very sublime, should not deteriorate into some
unnecessary and dangerous social division and conflict among

            Despite our differences, we have to care for one another.
We should be responsible for one another. We have to give what
everyone needs out of justice and charity, without getting lost in the
priorities proper to us. That’s because, in the end, we are all
brothers and sisters, all children of God!

            Our differences should rather trigger the dynamics of
greater love and unity, not of division. They should invite and
encourage us to be more understanding and compassionate with one
another the way Christ was understanding and compassionate with

            Our common, universal and absolute need is God, and we
just have to learn how to give or show God to one another. All our
other needs—material, economic, health, etc.—are secondary to this and
should serve as occasions and instruments to meet our need for God.

            We have to be very wary of certain ideologies that water
down our need for God, or at least distort it, by getting entangled in
their priorities, giving exaggerated attention to the material aspects
of our life at the expense of our spiritual and supernatural goals.

            The material and economic aspects are definitely
important, but it would be wrong to pursue them as the ultimate need
for man. Detached from its objective relation to God, the Creator,
these aspects have no other way but to get into trouble.

            Not that by making God the ultimate need, there will be
less concern for the material, economic and other human needs we have.
Quite the contrary. Our concern for them would in fact be enhanced.

            We have to be wary of certain currents of thought that,
no matter how subtly done, tend to put into conflict our material and
natural needs with our spiritual and supernatural needs.

            We somehow should follow the example of Mary, that woman
who brought the precious ointment to Christ, in the sense of giving
Christ the best that we have, whether material, moral or spiritual.

            That would show how much we love him. And by loving him,
we would know how to love the others properly, a love that can go all
the way, without being afraid of any sacrifices involved.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Recharging and refueling

GIVEN our human condition, this is what we need. If our
gadgets need to be recharged regularly for them to continue serving
us, if our cars need to be refueled also so that they can continue to
operate, we also need to be regularly and even frequently recharged
and refueled so that we can go on with our life with dignity and
productivity. And ultimately, so that we can reach our definitive

            And we have to understand this as the need to be recharged
and refueled in all the aspects of our life—physical, spiritual,
mental, emotional, etc. We should have a wholistic approach to this,
and not limit ourselves to some aspects only.

            We cannot deny the fact that even if we are idle we
somehow drain ourselves of our energy and other resources. William
Cowper once said: “Absence of occupation is not rest; a mind quite
vacant is a mind distressed.”

            If that is so, how much more it would be if we lead a very
active life as we should try to do. We should see to it that we
develop a kind of system or plan for this need of ours to be met
properly. We have to be wary of our tendency to overwork ourselves or
to fall into addicting activism.

            We, for example, have to respect the hours of sleep and
rest for us, the proper diet, the physical exercises. We also have to
acknowledge the need to nourish and refresh our mind and soul through
studying and reading good and edifying materials, through prayer and
recollection, etc.

            We should cultivate healthy hobbies that can recover the
balance and stability of our emotions and passions. These can be
singing or dancing, playing some games, having a walk or excursion,
shopping, doing some minor house repairs, etc.

            Ancient common wisdom has recognized this need. “Mens sana
in corpore sano” (Healthy mind in a healthy body) goes one saying.
“When the heart is at ease, the body is healthy,” goes a Chinese
proverb. “When the soul is well, the body dances,” goes another.

            St. Thomas Aquinas once said: “It is requisite for the
relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful
deeds and jokes.”

            We have to see to it that the over-all effect of this
regular recharging and refueling is an optimistic and realistic
outlook. In fact, more than that, it should effect a spiritual and
supernatural outlook, keenly aware of our duties to sanctify ourselves
and to do apostolate.

            We have to see to it that our need for rest and
recreation, our recharging and refueling is not meant to pamper our
body only, or our feelings alone. It should put us in the proper state
of healthy life, keeping the proper hierarchy of values and ends that
are all ordered toward the ultimate goal, God.

            Of course, we should also be careful not to go to the
extreme of over-resting such that we forget to work and carry out our
other more important duties. We should see to it that whatever we do
to rest and recover our energies would increase our desire to work and
fulfill our responsibilities. If our rest and recreation do not have
this effect, then something is wrong.

            The writer Ernest Hemingway said something relevant about
this: “I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My
health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it

            Let’s help one another develop a good system of recharging
and refueling regularly for the good of everyone.