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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 2, 2019
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Letís fight against familiarity

Rock & Refuge

Familiarity is a common and usual danger to all of us. It is due to the limitations of our human condition that lead us to take many things, even the important ones, for granted.

Instead of seeing God in everything and be amazed and excited about it, we only see the externals and go through some routine that usually has the bad trait of deadening our sensibilities, if not our faith, then our hope and charity.

That gospel episode about the townmates of Christ finding it hard to believe that Christ could preach so well (cfrLk 4,21-30) is the iconic example of familiarity. Instead of feeling happy that one of them was an outstanding man, they felt uncomfortable and rejected him.

We need to see to it that no matter how we are physically, emotionally or otherwise, we have to be spiritually and morally amazed at God in all situations of our life. This is always possible, though it may require some effort, even heroic, extraordinary effort sometimes.

It would be good if we develop the attitude of simply having to begin and begin again in our spiritual life, not allowing whatever difficulty and challenge we have to tackle to dominate us. Neither falling into anger, bitterness, self-pity and sadness, nor just drifting into familiarity, complacency and routine could properly handle those difficulties and challenges.

What we need to do is to continue, without let up, havingto begin and begin again. This is a practical law of life that we should apply in our daily affairs. Let’s not get too sentimental and wait for some strong inspiration before we move. With a simple act of the will, let’s just do it—that of having to begin and begin again.

We should always begin and begin again because we are always in need of renewal. Irrespective of the many things that we may already have accomplished or the high esteem we may already have gained among the people, we should never forget that we need to continue renewing ourselves.

We have to remember that sanctity and everything involved in it—fidelity, generosity, development of virtues, etc.—will always be a never-ending affair as long as we live. It will always demand something from us. It is the antithesis of the attitude that says enough to what the Holy Spirit will show us.

Given our unstable human condition, we need to make constant effort to conform our love to Christ’s love that goes all the way to assuming all our sins and offering us his mercy.

Everyday we have to make plans and strategies of how to make our love reflect Christ’s love better. This means that we really have to actively look at Christ and follow his example more closely. Like him, we should be willing to do a lot of good and be patient, understanding and merciful with those who do not practice Christian love.

In this, we have to be willing to suffer. That’s why thelove for the cross is a sure sign that we are truly loving. We have tolearn how to overcome our tendency to be self-absorbed and self-centered, interested more in our own good than in the good of the others.

The usual events of our day actually offer us many opportunities to renew and purify our love. There are challenges to tackle, setbacks and disappointments to suffer, etc. These and many others are good sources to conform our love to Christ’s love. Let’s not take them for granted.

If our love is real, that is, if it truly reflects Christ’s love, we will always enjoy a certain sense of peace and joy in spite of the suffering we can encounter. We may die with Christ, but we will surely resurrect with him also.*

 

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