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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, July 25, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

Our responsibility

“Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Lk 11,9) With these words, we are reminded that while our sanctity is first of all a fruit of grace, and therefore of God's work, it is also a result of our personal effort. That's why we are commanded to love God with all our might and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

We have to see to it that we correspond fully to God's grace that is abundantly given to us. We have to enter into the dynamics of love where God's love for us should also be repaid by our love for him. In this, we can never say enough.

The language of love is such that you get what you give. In fact, you get more than what you give, as attested by Christ's words: “The measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.” (Mk 4,24)

Since Christ has given us everything already, it us up to us to make use of what is made available for us to achieve our true ultimate end and purpose in life — our own sanctification, our own deification, since we are the image and likeness of God, and children of his.

That is why in the prayer that Christ taught his disciples, he wants us to address God as Our Father. We need to feel this filiation as deeply and as abidingly as possible so we can always be motivated to sustain our effort to be holy, as our heavenly father is holy. (cfr 1 Pt 1,16)

Yes, the goal is God, the goal is supernatural, way above our natural and human powers. But God has given us all the means for us to be as we ought to be. But for that reason, we have to ask and seek and knock, because otherwise we would not attain our true end.

We have to contend with our natural limitations that are already overwhelming when seen in the context of our supernatural end.

More than these, we have to grapple with our human deformations and weaknesses due to our sins.

This is not going to be easy, and yet Christ assures us that “my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Mt 11,30) And the secret to have this phenomenon is imitate Christ himself who said: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Mt 11,29)

Meekness and humility are the crucial qualities we need to face all the challenges we have to face in our effort to sanctify ourselves and others. They effectively resemble us with Christ.

With Christ, we should not worry too much about life's vagaries and challenges. Precisely when we feel pressured and weighed down, he tells us, “Come to me…and I will give you rest.”

Let us pay attention more to these words than to our human standards and estimation of things that will always consider these qualities as softness or meaningless passivity and defeatism, devoid of fighting spirit.

In fact, these words require a lot of strength and forcefulness, for they have to be reconciled also with these words of Christ: “The Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.” (Mt 11,13)

The violence referred here is not about physical, destructive violence aimed at others, but rather the forcefulness of love, aimed first at oneself before it aimed at others, and that will always be constructive, helpful, patient and understanding, not afraid to suffer and to assume whatever burden comes our way.

That is why Christ refers again to these qualities in the beatitudes: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Mt 5,5) These are intriguing and mysterious words whose veracity and wisdom can be proven in the life of Christ and those of all the saints.

In many instances Christ refers to this divine logic that can appears to us as contradictory. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 16,25)

Still, in another part of the gospel, Christ says: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19,29)

We need to train ourselves to feel at home with this divine indication that is meant for our redemption. We have to lose the fear of suffering. We have to assume the mind of the sacrificial lamb whose life-offering actually results in our own sanctification.*

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