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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 29, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

Our need for
silence and recollection

We need to realize this human requirement deeply. We need to have silence and spirit of recollection even as we immerse ourselves in our human, mundane and temporal affairs, so that we would not lose the moorings and focus in life that is proper to us as persons and ultimately as children of God.

Definitely, our need for silence and recollection is not a matter of being indifferent and detached from the things of the world.

It's not a form of escapism. It is not a way of alienating us from the world and from others. Quite the contrary is true.

When we properly satisfy this need, our involvement in our worldly affairs becomes deeper and more realistic. We would be engaging ourselves in what truly matters in life. We avoid being carried away by strong blind worldly forces that can be exhilarating and captivating but can lead us nowhere in the end. We avoid dispersion and dissipation.

This realization of our radical need for silence and recollection is most relevant these days since we are bombarded with so many things that tend to confuse and blind us, and alienate us from the source of everything that is true and good. This source is, of course, God.

In fact, for Christian believers, the very source and end of their consciousness should be God. This is simply because the Christian faith teaches that God is the creator of the whole universe, including us, and continues to govern us intimately in our hearts.

We need to be focused always on him for us to be properly in touch with reality. Straying from him would be to stray from reality. It would lead us to make our own reality and our own world, a purely subjective world that can be detached from the objective one. We would simply be at the mercy of our own estimation of things.

For Christian believers, reality is not simply the items that we see or hear or even feel and understand. Reality is a given, not made by us. It has to be discovered, not invented by us. But it has to enter deep into our being, since we have a subjective mode of existence, meaning that we are meant to know and love everything the way God, the Creator, knows and loves them.

Since our society today is characterized by a constant and unstoppable flow of information, we need silence and recollection all the more not so much as an antidote to the noise around as a necessary way to be able to integrate things properly.

Silence and recollection favor the habit of discernment and reflection. With silence and recollection, we would be in a better position to listen to and understand ourselves as well as others.

Through silence and recollection, ideas easily come to birth and acquire depth. We would better know what we want to say, what we expect from others. We would know how to express ourselves in a more appropriate way.

When there is silence and recollection, we can understand people better, and avoid being simply tied down to our opinions, preferences and biases. We foster mutual listening, and a deeper human relationship comes as a consequence. With silence and recollection, a better communication with others is made possible.

With silence and recollection, we can better distinguish between what is essential and what simply incidental. They enable us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected. We can better analyze messages and share thoughtful and relevant opinions. So we need to find a good balance between silence, words, images and sounds.

All these would give us some lightness of heart and spirit and would enable us to get in sync with God's will and ways, and to adapt ourselves to any human situation, good or bad. They would give us a sense of dominion, of self-master over our senses, emotions and passions.

We need to spread this concern as widely as possible, since there is now an urgent need for these skills to be learned by all. Things should begin with the family. We have to inculcate the proper attitude and teach the proper skills especially to the young who are now very vulnerable to fall into excesses and addiction, into dispersion and dissipation, wasting time and effort.

Parents should be the primary teachers and models for this purpose. They should realize that children learn things first in the family before they do in school and in other places.*

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