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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, March 9, 2018
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with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Upskilling

Rock & Refuge

No, it’s not the Visayan way of pronouncing the word, “upscaling.” It’s really a legitimate word, coined, I suppose, recently in view of the many new developments around, especially in the digital world.

It means “to teach additional skills” or to upgrade one’s skills. It is closely related to the word, “reskill,” which means “to teach new work skills especially to those who are unemployed.

I suppose these are nowadays the ‘in’ words in the labor world, given the many new developments today. Let’s hope that many people, both young and old, take up the challenge of upskilling and reskilling. It’s never too late to do these things.

But let us also remind ourselves that more than just upgrading and learning new work or technical skills, we need to upgrade our skills in the spiritual and moral aspects of our life.

These, in fact, are the more necessary things to learn, given the way the world is developing today which, while giving us many good and beneficial things, also occasion many and worse evils. It’s in the spiritual and moral sphere of our life that would give meaning and direction to all the practical skills that we have to learn.

For example, we have to upskill or reskill our ability to pray such that we can keep an abiding conversation with God while immersed in the things of the world. We have to learn to see God in all things and to turn all these worldly and temporal things into means and occasions, not obstacles, in our loving dialogue with God.

For this, we have to remind ourselves that God is actually in everything because he is the giver and the maintainer of the very existence of these things. We have to overcome the myth of thinking that there are things where God is not present.

This can happen when we think that our new inventions are just ours, and that God has nothing to do with them. That’s wrong simply because the very material and laws that allow us to discover and invent new things come from God. God is right there at the very core of all things that we work on or discover and invent.

We certainly would be confused and lost if we fail to pray while handling the things of the world. When we pray we avoid what St. Paul once warned us about: “We will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Eph 4,14)

Another area to upskill and reskill is in our moral struggle against the many subtle evils of the modern world. These modern evils are subtle because they are usually dressed as good, charming, practical and the like. We need to upgrade our combat skills that definitely would include the ability to smell dangerous occasions that can lead us to big sins, the strength to say no to temptations, etc.

In this regard, we also have to upskill the differentvirtues that we always need. Order is one of the more urgent virtuesto upgrade, since we really have to have a strong sense of priorities, given the many competing options posed before us.

Besides, nowadays we are always pressured to do multi-tasking since there are just so many things to attend to and to orchestrate, and there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. We are in an age of urgency, and we just have to learn to cope with it. So, there’s no choice but to upskill and reskill.*

 

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