Now back to reality
This is now the bigger challenge. After the euphoric and apotheosis-like week of the International Eucharistic Congress, when all the big talks, powerful testimonies, most moving public display of popular piety in Masses and processions, etc., have died down, what are we to do now as we face the ordinary routine of our life?
We should not allow ourselves to be self-satisfied by the huge success of the Congress. While it's true, thanks be to God, that the IEC showcased the high level of faith, hope and charity of our people, we should not forget that there are still a lot more, in fact, endless things that need to be worked on and improved insofar as our Christian life is concerned.
This is now the bigger challenge. Can we sustain the momentum of the IEC? Can we be consistent and faithful to the many precious lessons and insights we must have harvested in that great Congress? Can these precious lessons and insights tackle the continuous flow of challenges in the real time of our life?
Considering that we are usually good at the beginning of things and start to deteriorate even by the end of the first day, what should we do to keep ourselves afloat with our good intentions and pious desires that we must have generated at the Congress?
We have to realize that it's not everyday that we be given the hoopla of big ideas, powerful testimonies of extraordinary life stories, colorful shows of popular piety and cultural events. These happen few and far between.
We have to know how to live out our Eucharistic spirit in the ordinary things of our daily life, acquiring the appropriate attitudes, skills and habits, and pursuing it to wherever this authentic Eucharistic spirit would lead us.
During the Congress, I have heard many beautiful stories of conversion, renewal, repentance, resolve to be better, etc., both inside and outside of the confessional. I just hope and pray that these impulses spark the engine of a stable and vibrant spiritual life.
We all know that conversion is a matter of a moment, but sanctification is that of a lifetime. The seed of grace that has entered the mind and heart has to grow and bear fruit in one's words and deeds, and ought to spread around widely by some process of spiritual pollination. That happens when we actively do personal apostolate.
We need to avail of some effective plan of action to keep our Eucharistic spirit alive and strong. Without this plan, we end up standing precariously against the wind of all kinds of challenges, predicaments and temptations of the world. Without this plan, ideals remain ideals, good intentions are unable to translate into action.
We can easily be dominated not so much by big temptations and sins as by the small and ordinary ones like laziness, complacency, self-centeredness, disorder, gossiping, rash judgments, irritability, jealousy, etc.
These latter anomalies can inflict us greater harm and damage because they can pass unnoticed and can readily be regarded as normal. The big temptations and sin usually arouse immediate concern, while the small and ordinary ones are like those constant drips that would eventually make great havoc on the foundations of our spiritual life.
The big temptations and sins immediately grab our attention while the small and ordinary ones have a lulling and desensitizing effect on us. We can easily get used to them.
We have to keep enlivening our Eucharistic spirit with the support of some plan of life that would include moments of prayer, recourse to the sacraments, some spiritual reading, etc., so that we would be always reminded of the great scope and range of our Christian duties to God, to others and to ourselves.
A vibrant Eucharistic spirit would always push us to reach out to the others in an ever widening way. Our concern for them should not only quantitative but also qualitative. We should increasingly enter deep into their lives.
In this regard, we have to understand that we need to adapt ourselves to them, talking their language, and getting acquainted with their peculiarities and other distinctive conditions.
We have to like them without compromising our Christian identity that is brought about by our Eucharistic spirit.
Thus, as much as possible we have to be well versed with the culture of the rich and the poor, the intellectuals and the manual workers, the techies, the public officials and politicians, the businessmen and entrepreneurs, those in media, etc.
We especially have to be familiar with the mentalities of those who are healthy and sick, gifted and deprived, etc.*
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