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

The upside of disasters and calamities

Rock & Refuge

It would certainly be naïve of us if we do not expect and prepare ourselves somehow for disasters and calamities to come our way. They are actually unavoidable, given the way we and the world in general are. Nature itself has its limitations which can even be made worse by a number of causes.

But there is actually an upside of these eventualities. Disasters and calamities, as shown abundantly in the past, both proximate and remote, have that dynamic of getting us closer to God and to one another. We lay aside whatever differences and conflicts we may have with others. And this can come in a spontaneous way.

Even those who openly do not believe in God somehow cannot help but feel the need to appeal to a higher power and to help others in some way. They certainly cannot remain aloof when these disasters and calamities come. We can safely say that we are all wired that way. Even hardened hearts melt in the face of disasters and calamities.

It is good that we consider this fact more thoroughly so that instead of being afraid of these unwanted events, we just have to prepare ourselves for them with a positive outlook and the proper spiritual and material readiness.

Among the things that we have to remember all the time is that God is always in control of everything. His providence never stops and it is all wise and all powerful. He can always derive something good from what can be considered as bad by us. With him, we should not worry so much but rather should simply do whatever we can in preparation for these disaster and calamities.

We are already warned in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is time for everything (cfr 3,1) and that we should just enjoy what we are doing (cfr 3,22), instead of filling ourselves with fear and anxiety. We have to learn to be sport and game in this exciting and suspenseful life of ours.

St. Paul also said that we should not be anxious about anything. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” he said. (Phil 4,6) He tells us what to do when some anxiety-causing events come our way.

We have to learn to live a certain sense of abandonment in the hands of God. When disasters and calamities come, we should be quick to go to God and to do whatever we can to help ourselves and others.

Let’s always remember that God never leaves us. We have to immediately dismiss the temptation of thinking that God has left us alone in certain moments. Only with him can the perishable things become imperishable.

In fact, if we have great faith in God, we can manage to remain calm and of good disposition when disasters and calamities come. And we would be in a better position to face them and to tackle their consequences.

Our capacity to cope and to adapt to new and different situations would be enhanced. We would become more resourceful and inventive on these occasions. Somehow we can discern the mysterious ways of God that are always good, purifying and redemptive to us.

We need to consider these truths of our faith slowly and thoroughly in our prayer so we can develop the proper understanding, attitude and skills with respect to the occurrence of disasters and calamities. And let us help others to do the same. We need to spread these truths of our faith more widely.

That way, we would avoid being prone to fear, sadness and self-pity. Instead, we would have a very positive attitude, quick to spring to God and to others, when these disasters and calamities come.*

 

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