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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, August 18, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

Living in God's presence

This is the ideal condition for us here in this world. We need to live in God's presence since in the first place our life is supposed to be a life with God. We are meant for it. We are actually equipped and enabled for it also. And obviously there is an objective basis for this.

God is everywhere. He is omnipresent. This is how one of the psalms describes this reality: “Whither shall I go from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (139,7-10)

Christian theology explains this truth by teaching us that God is present everywhere, that is, in all things and in all persons, by the mere fact of their existence, since God is the giver and maintainer of the existence of everything and of everyone.

More than that, God's presence is not merely passive but active. He is always intervening in the existence of all the creatures, ever applying his wisdom through the ceaseless providence that he exercises over all his creation whose nature he always respects, upholds and defends.

In our case, since we are of a rational nature that necessarily exists with freedom and responsibility, and that makes us image and likeness of God, he is present in us also through his grace, which is his way of sharing his life with us.

We need to process all these details about this truth of God's omnipresence, so we can correspond to it as we should, that is, knowingly and willingly. This correspondence of ours to God's presence in us is always possible and doable, no matter how imperfectly it is done. We just have to be aware of this truth and learn to live it effectively. And true enough, we have a lot to learn in this regard.

Obviously, we have to overcome certain difficulties, first of which is a certain awkwardness, since our natural condition has to adjust to the supernatural reality of God present and acting in us.

We are usually dominated simply by what our senses and other human and natural conditionings show us. What we need is to have a theological mind, a kind of outlook that is guided by faith, hope and love, more than anything else. To be sure, to develop a theological mind is not simply a purely intellectual affair. It comes as a result of a deep piety, fueled by God's grace that gives us faith and love.

And then we have to contend with the reality of our sinfulness and its consequences. Our usual human tendency when faced with this reality is to run away from God, instead of going to him, begging for his mercy. We tend to jump from the pan to the fire.

Still not everything is lost, since God, in his all-powerful love and mercy and in his own mysterious ways, would know how to bring us back to him. We just have to correspond to his interventions as much as we can.

May it be that our thoughts are also God's thoughts. And may our words and actions not be just our words and actions, but also God's. That's how we are meant to be!

On God's part, everything has been provided for us to reach the goal. He always gives us his grace. He sends us the Holy Spirit, our sanctifier with his gifts and fruits, so that we can concur with God's actions and designs.

We've been given God's word, a living and definite revelation so we can enter into the mind of God. We have been given the sacraments and the Church itself, so that God continues to be with us and in us in a very direct and abiding way while still journeying in this earthly life.

We have to do our part to reciprocate God's providence over us. We need to develop a theological mind, thinking always in terms of our faith, and not just with our reason and senses. We have to aim at nothing less than being contemplatives, able to see God in everything and everything through the eyes of God.

If we put our mind together, we can achieve what is really meant for us. We just have to be aware of what is involved and consistent in putting into action what we know and realize about our life, thanks to our faith, regardless of the difficulties and mistakes.*

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