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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 3, 2018
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Rock & Refuge

Giving up
and making do

If we are truly in love, we should be willing to do and give our best even as we would be willing also to give up things that are already a hindrance to that love, regardless of whether they continue to be valuable. We also would know how to make do when options are limited or when times are bad and not favorable to loving.

This has been shown by Christ himself. Being God, he emptied himself to become man and continued to empty himself all the way to offering his life on the cross for love of us and in obedience to his Father's will. (cfr. Phil 2,7)

He lived what he taught. He offered his life to act out what he said: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field." (Mt 13,44)

All saints did the same. St. Paul, for example, suffered the loss of all things and regarded them as rubbish so he could gain Christ. (cfr Phil 3,8) The apostles, like Peter and Andrew, James and John, left their nets, their father and everything behind (relictis omnibus) to follow Christ. (cfr Mt 4,18-22) Matthew left his lucrative tax collector's table to follow Christ. (cfr Mt 9,9-13)

It's when we are unwilling to give up things and make do with whatever is available that we would fail to love and to follow Christ. Remember that episode of the rich young man who wanted to be holy and perfect. Since he was unwilling to detach himself from his possessions, he could not follow Christ. (Mt 19,16-30)

That episode triggered those now famous words of Christ: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mt 19,24)

We have to learn how to give up things in order to follow Christ and to make do with anything during difficult situations if only to be with Christ. The events of every day actually offer us many opportunities to learn this requirement of true love.

That we give priority to our prayers in spite of sacrifices involved and some urgent matters to face is one such opportunity. That we are willing to be misunderstood and to be inconvenienced if only to follow what Christ is clearly telling us to do is another. Ultimately, we have to learn to leave our life here on earth so we can have our life with God in heaven.

In loving, there will always be choices to be made that ultimately boil down to whether we choose to be with God, doing his will, or to be by ourselves, pursuing only our own will.

We should see to it that we make the right choice of giving priority to God, convinced that with him we would also have everything else that we need. We should be wary of being deluded by the deceptive if very attractive arguments of our wounded flesh, the things of the world and the devil himself.

We should choose God first. He is actually the source of love, the pattern, purpose and energy of love. Let's be convinced that if we are generous with him, he would be much more generous with us.

So we somehow echo some lyrics of a modern love song that express this sentiment. “I'd rather have bad times with you, than good times with someone else. I'd rather be beside you in a storm, than safe and warm by myself. I'd rather have hard times together, than to it easy apart.” (From the song, “I'd rather,” as sung by Luther Vandross)

It's the same sentiment expressed in one of the psalms. “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (84,10)*

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