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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, September 8, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Rock & Refuge

Personal witnessing needed

Mother Teresa of Kolkata is now St. Teresa. Her canonization came relatively fast because of her high-profile work of charity that drew worldwide attention.

Her work of charity touched so many hearts, including those of non-Christians, which means that her goodness and compassion, the direct products of charity, can speak a language that goes beyond the conventionally Christian.

The same is true with St. John Paul. His canonization also came only a few years after his death because of his irresistible charisma that practically mesmerized the whole world. In fact, during his funeral Mass, the large crowd could not help but shout, “Santo subito,” that is, make him a saint immediately.

He was known to have applied the spirit of Vatican II to the world of today in a more effective way, thereby adapting the Church to the modern world's new peculiarities and conditions without compromising the true essence of the Church.

In both cases, the way to sainthood was on a platform that easily attracted people's attention. They did not seek publicity.

Public attention came spontaneously.

But we should remember that sanctity is not about getting popular but rather about getting truly identified with Christ, filling oneself with love and goodness. We should not get distracted from the true essence of sanctity.

And for most of us, the way to sainthood would be in the hidden work done with love, and not in some public display of charity.

It would be in having a genuine personal relationship with Christ that is lived consistently 24/7.

Let's remember that Christ is always with us. His interventions in our life are not limited to some special and extraordinary occasions in our life. He is with us all the time, alive and constantly telling us things through the Holy Spirit. It's us who tend to take him for granted.

As St. Augustine would put it: “Lo, you were within, but I outside, seeking there for you...You were with me, but I was not with you.” This is the usual predicament we find ourselves in.

We need to do something about this. We need to exercise our faith, more than just depending on our senses, feelings and our understanding of things in general, to enter into that most wonderful reality that Christ is actually in us always. We are never alone actually.

His presence is never just passive. He loves us and understands us always. As such, he will enlighten us in our darkness, will console us in our sadness, will guide us in our daily routine. He will always be with us in any situation, good or bad, and will show us what to think and understand, how to react and what to do. We have to learn how to correspond to this reality.

If we are truly with him, we would somehow be always showing goodness and charity toward all. Everyone who sees us can somehow discern the presence of Christ in us, and can get attracted to Christ through us. We would be Christ-like in any and every situation, good or bad, big or small.

If we can truly show an authentic knowledge and love for Christ, then we can always attract people to Christ wherever we are.

We would not need any special occasion to bring souls to Christ. Justby being ourselves truly identified with Christ, we can already attract people. A saint is always an apostle also.

Like Christ, we can also encounter misunderstanding and hostility. We should not be surprised or overly worried by this possibility. But if we are truly with Christ, willing to suffer all the way, then there is nothing in this world that cannot be anoccasion of generating and spreading goodness and holiness.

If we have the heart of Christ, there will be no one in this world, no matter how offensive that person may be, who could not find a place in our heart. Christ's heart is full of mercy. He bore all our sins, and pleaded for the forgiveness of all. “Forgive them,Father, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23, 34)

If we have the heart of Christ, we would love everyone and would be willing to suffer all the way for them. And irrespective of the situation and circumstances, we will always be producing and spreading goodness around.

Let's remember what Christ once said: “Every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.” (Mt 7,17) Our very life should give direct and constant witness of our true identification with Christ.*

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