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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, July 9, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Rock & Refuge

Holiness, the
real ecological concern

I consider it an improvement in sensibility that many people nowadays are concerned about ecology. Generations ago the average dude paid no attention to ecological matters. Times have definitely changed, for the better.

Let´s do everything to develop this care for the environment to its maximum potential, increasing our scientific knowledge about our world, purifying it of false data that often are presented as gospel truths, and cultivating the corresponding attitudes and skills.

We have to always hone up our skills of properly managing our surroundings, ever thoughtful of how things are developing and helping everybody else to cultivate the right attitude. In this area, things can be very challenging. But they are not impossible.

Perhaps, what can still make things perk up is to extend that ecological sense to include not only climatic and environmental concerns, but also and more importantly, moral and spiritual interests.

This part of ecology, let´s remind ourselves, is in fact the ultimate and most crucial since it goes direct to the very heart of our human development. In this regard, we have to be most eager to attain the ability to mirror to everyone around us what is genuinely true, good and beautiful.

This can be summarized as the ability to mirror the holy, sanctity being the integrated sum of all these qualities. We create the most ideal environment when our mind and heart reflect God´s goodness whatever may be the views, positions and situations we may have in life.

We have to remember that our mind and heart have God as their proper, ultimate object, and because of God, also the others.

Our minds and hearts should be filled with thoughts and desires to please God and the others. This is how we mirror the holy and create a good environment fit for all of us as children of God.

We would be misusing if not abusing these spiritual powers of ours if we engage them with something else, especially with our own interests and concerns alone. Besides, such misuse would most likely lead to painful divisions.

We should not get lost in our differences and conflicts with respect to our temporal or earthly affairs. While these differences and conflicts cannot be avoided, we can always manage to be good and understanding to one another. This is of course possible only if we manage to refer things to God.

Of course, we have to do all this with naturalness and discretion, avoiding attracting unnecessary attention and creating inhuman ways and lifestyles. Just the same, we should not shy from this constant effort to emit goodness everywhere.

Christ himself knew how to show his divinity, among others, through the miracles he performed. But amazing as the miracles were, he tried to be discreet about them by telling the persons involved not to announce the miracles to the public but rather to report to the priests. Of course, we know that many of these people went out announcing the miracles to all.

In spite of being misunderstood, Christ kept his goodwill to all, resorting to his righteous anger only when he had to declare what was morally wrong with the people´s behavior.

The example of St. Paul can also shed light as to how we ought to mirror the holy. He reached the point of saying that the people, we, should be followers of him as he was a follower of Christ. (cfr 1 Cor 11,1)

In another occasion, he boldly told the Thessalonians that he was giving them a pattern for them to imitate. (2 Thes, 3,9). He was not ashamed to put himself the model for everyone to follow.

There´s a need to cultivate this attitude. Sad to say, many succumb to the false sense of humility of not wanting to be a model of holiness for the others. And yet, irony of ironies, many crave to be an idol to the others insofar as good looks or fashion or sport accomplishments are concerned. In these areas, they can be very daring and shameless.

With all the confusing elements of our modern world, we have to convince ourselves that we need to mirror the holy, that such responsibility is not only possible but also practicable, complete with the sense of modesty we would like to have in fulfilling it.

In a business meeting, for example, where some contentious issues would be discussed, the duty to mirror the holy can mean having a firm grip on the emotions so that the discussion can stick to the essential aspects without getting stranded in the hot incidentals.*

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