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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, March 6, 2018
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Planning and strategizing today

Rock & Refuge

Contrary to what some people think, I believe that planning and strategizing are becoming more relevant today when we can observe a very rapid and even neck-breaking pace of developments and changes.

If handled properly with the right attitudes, dispositions and skills, the plans and strategies we make would not become a drag that would freeze us and put us in some kind of silo, but would rather enhance our capacity to cope and to take advantage of the new things coming up. Even the surprises and other unexpected things in life would be better handled if we make plans and strategies.

We have to be careful of reacting to the rapid changes in an instinctive way only, Pavlovian style. While we cannot avoid having to react spontaneously in that knee-jerk way to these developments, it would be wrong if we get stuck in that level. That would make us slaves, not masters, of these developments and changes. We have to stay away from the bad habit of improvising always.

We need to come up with plans and strategies to give shape and direction to all these things. That way, we would have some clear vision of our goals and means and timetables involved. That way, we would have a better grasp of how to identify and handle issues, problems and challenges. That way, we would have a good sense of priority, especially nowadays when we are faced with many competing options.

Making plans and strategies may require some time and effort, but it’s an investment that is all worth it. The little time and effort required can actually multiply our time and make our efforts more productive at the end of the day. It’s like the little rudder, St. James talks about in his letter, that has the power to give direction to a big boat. (cfr 3,4)

In these complicated times of ours with so many issues, problems and challenges spewing out, the need for plans and strategies have become more indispensable so that we can study them better and know exactly what to do with them. The way things are now, these issues, problems and challenges really need to be studied well, making due consultations when necessary.

It’s true that there are things that cannot be solved anymore, humanly speaking, and that, therefore, we should also have a healthy sense of abandonment in the hands of God. But this fact does not excuse us from doing all we can to tackle them. Our faith and trust in God’s providence should not replace our sense of duty.

Our plans and strategies should include the time for continuing study and formation, for prayers and also for rest. We should never neglect these items, because without them we become ineffective even if we are intense in our desires to help others.

Especially in the area of guiding souls in spiritual direction, making the appropriate plans and strategies are indispensable. Guiding souls is a very delicate task that requires the guide or spiritual director to bring things to his prayer, to discern more deeply what the Holy Spirit is showing him.

In making plans and strategies, there obviously are calculated risks to be taken and experimentations to be made, and we should not be afraid to do them and to face their consequences, especially when they fail. We have to learn how to be game in this life also, not wasting time brooding and feeling bad too long when things don’t work as desired.

Let’s hope that more and more people realize the need for making plans and strategies.*


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