Thursday, September 9, 2021

Seeing through the eyes of Christ

WE need to realize that we can only see things properly and understand them properly as well when we know how to see things through the eyes of Christ. This can be lesson we can derive from that gospel episode where Christ said, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” (cfr. Lk 6,39-42) 

 And indicating how not to be a blind guide, he said, “No disciple is superior to the teacher, but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” These words obviously tell us that we have to refer to Christ, our ultimate teacher, to be able to see and understand things properly. 

 Unless we see things through Christ who said that he is the light of the world (cfr Jn 9), we actually cannot see things as they ought to be seen. If we simply rely on our senses and even on our intelligence, but without Christ through the exercise of our faith, we actually are blind. This we have to acknowledge. 

 We need to be more aware of this predicament of ours and start to develop and use the appropriate means to correct, if not avoid, that delicate situation. We need to be humble and to always feel the need to be with God even in our most intimate thoughts, let alone, our words, deeds and public interventions. 

 There is actually no other way to correctly and properly understand and react to things and events in our life. We have to be wary of our tendency to rely solely on our human estimations of things, quite independent, if not contrary to the way God understands them. 

 In fact, not only should we be guarded against this tendency. Rather, we should also actively fight it, converting it into what is our proper way of thinking, judging and reasoning. And that is to do all these spiritual operations with God as the main guide and inspiration. The story of the man born blind (cfr. Jn 9) validates this point. 

 We have to be most careful when because perhaps of our education, our experience, our position, among other things, we feel that we would already have enough reason to make ourselves our own standard of what is true, good and beautiful. 

 We always need to be like the man born blind, and resist the attitude of the Pharisees mentioned in the gospel. That’s simply because it’s when we acknowledge our blindness, deficiency and inadequacy to tackle our temporal affairs that we attract God’s grace, his light, his wisdom, his strength. 

 We need to be more aware that nowadays there is a strong tendency to base our knowledge of things mainly on the material and sensible realities alone, let alone, the many social phenomena that can be interpreted in any which way, depending on one’s spirit. That’s why we have these disturbing phenomena of materialism, commercialism and socialism comprising our mainstream world of knowledge and understanding. 

 We have to correct this tendency because that simply is not the whole of reality. Our senses can only have a limited view of things. And what is worse, that limited condition is aggravated by the effects and consequences of our sins that not only limit but also distort reality. 

 We need to do everything to acquire the spirit of Christ so that we can see things the way he sees them.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Want to be truly like Christ?

IT’S a question we have to ask ourselves constantly, because after all is said and done, to be like Christ is the ultimate purpose of our existence, which is not only a matter of our life here on earth but also and most importantly, of our life hereafter. 

 We should try to find the right answer to that question. And one idea, one truth that can provide us with that right answer is to be able to love our enemies as Christ himself told us, nay, commanded us so. (cfr. Lk 6,27-38) To me, this is the ultimate proof of our being truly like Christ. 

 We need to prepare ourselves to follow this commandment expressly articulated by Christ. We have to have a strong faith to trust his words, so that we would not consider them as a mere bluff, an empty puffy rhetoric, but rather as what is true, proper and ideal for us. 

 We have to have a strong faith to trust his words, so that we would readily understand that they are meant for all of us, and not just for some, and that they are necessary and obligatory, and not merely optional, though they have to be taken up freely, and not coercively. 

 Let’s listen again to what he said: (Lk 6,27-38) 

 “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.” 

 He continued: “Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” 

 If we are God’s image and likeness, if we are his children through Christ in the Holy Spirit, and therefore meant to adopt his mind, his will and his ways, and ultimately to enter into the very life of God, then we have no other alternative but to make this explicit injunction second nature to us. 

 Obviously we cannot follow this principle on our own, relying solely on our own powers. We need God himself to enable us to do so. And he has given us that power through his grace which he gives us in abundance through his living word, through his sacraments, through his Church, and in many other mysterious ways unknown to us. 

 With our enemies, our attitude should be to offer clarification, help and ultimately forgiveness. Christ offered clarification as to what is right and wrong, good and evil. He also offered help by being willing to make sacrifices for them all the way to offering his life on the cross. Ultimately, he offered forgiveness. 

 Christ wants us to be forgiving always as he himself has been and will always be forgiving to all of us. Even if some offenders of ours have not yet asked forgiveness from us, like Christ just before he died on the cross, we should offer forgiveness to them. We have to remember that we can only be forgiven of our sins if we also forgive others of theirs.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Let’s be close to Mary and Joseph

THE feast of the Nativity of Our Lady (September 8) reminds us that we should be close to both Mary and Joseph since they can serve as the surest guide for us to be with Christ. And to be with Christ is, in the end, what is most important in our life. 

 In the gospel of that feast (cfr. Mt 1,18-23), we are reminded of how both Mary and Joseph handled their divine vocation, something that if looked upon only with human eyes, can never be understood. Both show us how to correspond to the supernatural interventions that God continues to make on us, making use even of dreams to relay his messages to us. 

 We have to find a way to be intimately close to Our Lady, our Mother. We need to learn how to read her mind and catch the slightest insinuations she makes, because all these are a tremendous help in our spiritual life. 

 That’s precisely because with all the bombardment of things we are subjected to these days, Mary, the Mother of Christ who gave her to us to be our mother too, shows us how to be spiritual and supernatural in the midst of our glutting human affairs. 

 Let’s remember that the present mad race to technological progress can stimulate us wrongly, pressuring us to succumb to mindless activism and to drift to uncharted territory guided only by ignorance, confusion if not outright error. 

 In this way, she shows us how to live our life to the full, not reduced to the purely earthly and material levels. She shows us how to fall in love properly, since love is why we have been created, the principle that gives meaning and direction to our life. And to think that there are endless bogus versions of love! 

 Let’s also be close to Joseph who knew how to give priority to the supernatural interventions in his life over his natural and human understanding of things. Even if those divine interventions were communicated to him in dreams, he knew how to correspond to them properly, that is, with deep faith in God that enabled him to correspond with dispatch and wisdom. 

 If we are truly close to God, dreams can be an effective vehicle to know God’s will and ways. Yes, it is possible that God, angels and saints can enter into our dreams. We can be divinely inspired. Everything is possible with God. 

 But let’s remember that what we usually dream about are what we have in our mind and heart, in our spiritual life, whether there is faith or unbelief, whether we tend more to our rationality or to our animality, whether we are more open to the supernatural or to the infranatural. In short, our dreams reflect the kind of life we have, the kind of person we are. 

 The dreams these trying times of the Covid pandemic are occasioning, can serve as some kind of catalyst to show the kind of life we have and the kind of person we are. 

 And mind you, it is not only the state of mental health or psychological condition that is reflected in these dreams. It is also the kind of spiritual and supernatural life one is having. Thus, our dreams can show whether we are dominated more by fear or by hope. 

 Let’s be close to Mary and Joseph to know how to deal with God’s interventions in our life.