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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

With the
strength of Christ

There's no question that we all have to be strong and tough in our life. To survive, to face and tackle all the challenges, that is what is needed. If we are weak, we simply would be swept away with the slightest difficulty we meet.

We just have to understand that the strength we need is not just something physical or emotional or intellectual. While these kinds of strength have their role to play, we should aim at developing and achieving the strength that comes from Christ.

It is this strength that made St. Paul gush: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4,13) It was this strength that enabled him in any and all circumstances to learn the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.

To be sure, this strength is the strength of love that is the very essence of Christ. It is this kind of love that, as St. Paul again said, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13,7)

We have to aspire for this kind of strength. It is this strength that knows how to be weak for the sake of the weak, and to how to be all things to all men if only to save some.

This strength of Christian love will certainly require us, with God's grace, to go beyond our natural and infranatural conditionings. These conditionings will always be with us, but we should try our best that we do not get completely trapped by them.

That is why we have to be ready to make sacrifices and self-denials, as Christ himself has told us if we want to follow him. (cfr. Mt 16,24) The cross will always be needed by us so we can go beyond our natural and infranatural limitations and conditionings to enter into the supernatural life of God.

This cross can come to us in different ways and forms. It can be a sickness, a physical inconvenience, some emotional and psychological pains, a problem in the family, our differences and conflicts with others, a crisis in one's professional life, a failure in business, etc.

If borne with Christ, these crosses would unleash the power of the redemptive love of Christ. We can echo from our heart the same words of St. Paul—that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

In this regard, inspired by faith in God, we just have to be game in the drama of our life, taking things in stride, whether they are good or bad. In this way, we can live out what St. Paul himself experienced.

“We are treated as impostors,” he said, “and yet are true; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (2 Cor 6,8-10)

There is a certain kind of immunity to any kind of difficulty when we have the love of Christ. We should just focus on drowning evil with an abundance of good in this world, not afraid of anything.

Everyday, let us try to grow, no matter how little, in the strength of Christ's love. We are always given a chance to do this by the events and concerns of our daily life. We should so face them squarely with Christ that at the end of the day, we can say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”*

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