REFLECTION: To serve and not to be served PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:54

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

This is the attitude to have. It is what Christ himself had and continues to have. He once said, “The Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10,45)

This is what love is all about, love in its most distilled form. It goes beyond merely wishing others well, or giving something and sharing things. This is love in action, in total self-giving even if nothing can be gained by doing so.

Besides, it is a love done in total obedience and availability to his loved ones, the Father and us. For love is true when done both at the instance of the loved ones and of one’s personal gratuitous initiative.

We have to do everything to acquire, develop and enrich this attitude in ourselves and among ourselves, inspiring and inculcating it in others as much as we can, for it is what truly proper of us all.

With God’s grace, we have to exert effort to overcome the understandable awkwardness and tension involved in blending the natural and the supernatural aspects of this affair, as well as the expected resistance we can give, due to the effects of our sins.

We can make use of our daily events to cultivate this attitude. For example, as soon as we wake up from sleep in the morning, perhaps the first thing we have to do is address ourselves to God and say “Serviam” (I will serve). It’s the most logical think to do, given who God is and who we are in relation to him.

And “Serviam” is a beautiful aspiration that can immediately put us in the proper frame of mind for the day. It nullifies Satan’s “Non serviam” and our tendency to do our own will instead of God’s, which is what sin, in essence, is all about.

And as we go through our day, let’s see to it that everything we do is done as a service to God and to others. Let’s not do them merely out of self-interest or self-satisfaction. That kind of attitude is highly poisonous to us, ruinous to our duty to love. Sooner or later, we will find ourselves completely engulfed by self-centeredness.

For us to be able to do things as service of love to God and to others, we have to continually rectify our intentions. We should be quick to react when we notice that our intentions and motivations are already invaded by self-interest.

It’s not that we cannot and should not care about ourselves or pursue interests that are beneficial to us. We can and, in fact, should. But all that should be done as a function of the love of God, for what is truly good for us is when what we do, either for us or for others, is inspired by the love of God. Otherwise, it would be harmful to us.

It is God’s love that gives us what is truly good to all of us. Our own approximations of love that are not inspired by God’s love can only go so far, and most likely will end up harming more than helping us.

Aside from rectifying our intentions, we also need to continually look for opportunities to serve others. This should be an on-going concern for us. We have to be wary of our tendency to avoid this duty by concocting questionable if not false motives like convenience, practicality, popularity, efficiency, and others not worth mentioning.

A person who is truly in love with the love of God will have all his senses and powers alive to whatever opening to serve would come his way. He is not afraid to make sacrifices. In fact, to suffer would be his joy. While suffering will always be suffering, it is love that makes that suffering joyful.

In very concrete terms, we can show this attitude of serving and not wanting to be served if even at the end of the day, when we are already tired from work and all the pressures of the day, we can still manage to be of good disposition and even keep good humor during family dinners and evening get-togethers.

As can be easily gleaned, cultivating this attitude to serve and not to be served can be done in our ordinary daily events. It does not wait for extraordinary occasions for it to be set in motion. The daily happenings are enough—in fact, more than enough.

We would be Christ to one another if we live out this attitude consistently.