REFLECTION: Managing today’s dizzying transitions PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 August 2014 11:49

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

TODAY’S world is getting increasingly dynamic, with more developments taking place, changes, shifts and transitions occurring in a galloping pace. They are going ballistic. We need to get a handle on this phenomenon and know how to have effective control over it, shaping it according to what is proper to our human dignity.

Many parents, for example, come and complain to me that their children behave very differently from what they expect their children to act. I always tell them that this observation should be no surprise, since they also must have behaved differently from the way their parents did in their childhood years.

But I must admit that due to today’s dizzying world, with the children exposed to more things, not only in terms of quantity but also in complexity, these young ones should behave very differently indeed from those of their age in the previous generations.

This obviously poses a challenge to all of us which we should face with a stout heart and Christian optimism, learning how to employ both old and new things, both the traditional and innovative means.

We should try to act out what the gospel says: “Every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who brings forth out of his treasure new things and old.”

(Mt 13,52)

To face this challenge, we all need to constantly monitor things, discerning where they come from and where they are going, what spirit and ethos animates them, what messages or warnings the signs of the times are giving us. As much as possible, we have to be pro-active or anticipative in this regard, not simply reactive.

Our faith urges us to be always watchful. As Christ once said, we need to be shrewd as serpents even as we also should remain innocent as doves. We have to learn to contend with the reality that while we may be sowing good seed, some bad elements will also sow weeds. Yes, we have to be patient and strong, but not naïve.

What is certainly helpful in this task is for us to be firmly grounded on our faith, which gives us a complete picture of what is truly proper to us, and at the same time, to be very open-minded so we can promptly catch the winds of change and adjust our sails according to a pre-determined course.

We should try to avoid the extremes of mindless and heartless rigidity, on the one hand, and undirected flexibility, on the other. For sure, if we know our faith well, this is what we will learn.

Our faith teaches us to be constant in doing good, while patient in going through the twists and turns of our freedom. We have to learn how to flow with the times without getting lost. In a sense, we should try to be sport in this task. We will make many attempts to win in some way, but we should know how to move on even after some defeats.

Our faith will teach us to continue to evangelize the world, always adapting our evangelization to the new sensitivities of the people. “Non novus sed noviter,” we are told, preaching not new things but in a new way.

We can’t help but take our faith more seriously. We need to sit down and meditate on it more deeply if only to fathom in some way its mysteries and to see which truths of faith and how these truths of our faith are applicable to a given situation. This is a basic rule in prudence.

We have to remember that our faith is the ultimate source of truth and goodness about ourselves and the world in general. Our estimations of what is true, good, fair and beautiful, as expressed in our laws and our various consensus, should somehow be inspired by our faith.

It’s important that we all realize that while we will always have our own particular view of things due to the differences and variety of conditions and circumstances, we should try our best to stick to what is essential to all of us, even as we give due space to our differences of opinions, preferences, etc.

In the real world, we can always expect some mess and tension in carrying out this task. We should try not to make a big fuss about it and just proceed to adapt ways that are more conducive to respectful dialogue.

In short, we have to get personal, entering into the mind and heart of the people.