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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, July 18, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

The formation for our times

We will always have issues to resolve, problems to solve, endless challenges to face and tackle, and that's why we need to realize that we have to be adequately prepared for them by undertaking a lifelong battle for formation.

Social, political and economic issues will always be around. And at the moment, the world is going through a keen phase of change and tension. The current standards and systems seem to be cracking up in the face of new, emerging problems. Things look like we are rife for a drastic paradigm shift in our earthly affairs.

Yes, we need to be keyed up for all this. At the very least, we need to be instructed, informed, educated, and more than these, we need to toughen our spirit not only to absorb the tremendous pressures but also to eke out a new way, a higher level of human and global development.

This is where our need for formation enters. We have to go beyond simply accumulating data and discovering and exploring human sciences and technologies. No matter how indispensable they are, they are not enough.

Without proper formation, we most likely will abuse or misuse our sophisticated scientific and technological products. It's like giving a little child some matches to play with, or an adolescent too much money to go around.

We need to pay attention to the proper maturity of our spirit, the only thing capable of seeing through and fathoming all these challenges. And of survival, no matter what happens to the world, since it's the spirit that will transcend our death and bring everything else in us to our ultimate end, God, if we still abide by our faith.

We have to be positive about all these fast events. We have to get out of the dark fear-and-anxiety syndrome, and get into a sense of adventure, brightened by hope and confidence.

And trust in God, because after everything is said and done, the only thing left for us if everything else has to fail, is God, our faith and trust in him. This is what formation means. All our effort and pursuit for human knowledge and conquest should immerse us more in God, rather than in ourselves, in our power and ways.

We should never forget this. We have to outgrow that bias of pitting the human against the divine, the natural against the supernatural, the material against the spiritual. In short, man against God.

This bias, known also as secularism, relativism, materialism, etc., has been afflicting the world for quite some time now. It's already begging to be dismantled. We need to acknowledge both the unity and distinction between these dualities—their inner, inherent relations among themselves and their respective autonomy.

We have to double-time in this need for formation, because it has been neglected for long and is awfully lagging behind. It's unfortunate that many big schools and universities are giving more attention to secular sciences while practically ignoring religion.

Our formation should help us discover God in everything we do or get involved in. Since we come from God and belong to God, we have to understand that all our thoughts, words and deeds should also begin and end with God, as expressed in many of our liturgical prayers.

All our similarities and differences, our agreements and disagreements, our successes and failures, the correct and the wrong things we do in our earthly affairs should not compromise our love for God. On the contrary, they should make us love God more.

We should not be contented with our own ideas alone, no matter how brilliant and practical they may be. Without God, these ideas and initiatives would lack their proper foundation and purpose.

They would just be at the mercy of men's machinations, and that can only mean immorality, not just because of our limitations, but mainly because of the temptations and pressures around.

In the study and research, the experimentation and instruction involved in our formation, we have to see to it that the abiding attitude should be to know and love God better, and to get a deeper understanding of God's plan for the world.

They should not just be pursued purely on so-called scientific or rational motives, because without being grounded and oriented toward God, they can only give us dangerous and confusing signals.

This formation will also lead us to truly live charity, with its companions of justice and mercy, since doing things with God and for God will bring us to love everybody else as God wants them to be loved.*

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