REFLECTION: Master of adoption and adaptation PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 December 2014 13:18

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

With Christmas, we are somehow reminded of that beautiful and awesome truth that God loves us so much that in spite of our sins and unworthiness, he continues to love us by adopting us as his children and adapting himself to our condition so we can have a way to be like him and to regard him as our Father.

Christmas is about God becoming man. He is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinitarian God, the very pattern of our creation. And yet he allows himself to be conceived in the virginal womb of Mary, and is born in a manger in a remote corner in Bethlehem. The creator makes himself a creature. The pattern fleshes up his own pattern for our sake.

It’s because of this most wonderful truth that we romanticize Christmas with all the creativity that we can muster, and we, of course, are doing it rightly. Nothing wrong with that. But we cannot deny the fact that Christmas involves what we can consider as the painful process of God emptying himself to the extreme just to be with us as intimately as possible.

Yes, what we consider as painful and negative on the whole, becomes the very expression of love insofar as God is concerned. He spares himself nothing just to be with us and to save us, never to condemn us. His love is a kind of divine madness.

It’s because of this that we can call him the master of adoption and adaptation. His love is such that he identifies himself with us, assuming not only our nature but also the consequences of sin, short of sin itself. He does this so we can also have a way of identifying ourselves with God, whose image and likeness we are.

God is true and faithful to his word for us, even if we abuse and corrupt that word. He is willing to undergo whatever sacrifices are needed just to keep that fidelity intact. He adopts us as his children, and he adapts himself to our condition, however it may go, just to keep that divine filiation of ours a living reality.

We just have to try our best to correspond properly and generously to this divine madness by repaying love with love also. Christ himself commanded it of us: “You shall love one another as I have loved you.”

To repay love with love, we have to follow his example of being a master of adoption and adaptation. Like him, let us do our best to identify ourselves with the others through the many ways of love: empathy, sympathy, compassion, patience, affection, mercy, acts of service, generosity, etc.

For all this to happen, we have to understand that we have to be as demanding on ourselves as much as we can, because only then can we be able to truly love the others as they ought to be loved, allowing the grace of God to work on us effectively.

Let’s remember that love is determined by what the others expect and demand from us, by what they truly need, and by what they objectively deserve as defined by God’s designs for all of us upon creating us.

And love does not hide in anonymity. It seeks to enter into the lives of the loved ones. That’s why it is inventive, creative and versatile. It knows how to adapt itself to the concrete conditions of the beloved. It goes beyond simply knowing others. Loving others involves uniting and identifying oneself with the beloved.

And so we have to be very tough. We just cannot be confined and restrained by the conditions of our temperament, character and the many transitory circumstances that define our life in a given moment.

We need to empty ourselves more or less in the way Christ emptied himself to become man and to die on the cross for our sake. We have to be convinced that this self-emptying, while involving a lot of suffering, is the sure path of our own perfection, our own maturity. We should feel happy to experience the adventure of self-emptying.

Let’s strengthen our faith in the words of Christ who said: “Whosoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Mt 23,12) Let’s glory in humility and ceaselessly find ways of deepening this indispensable virtue of humility.

We can do this in many ways—making many acts of service while passing unnoticed, eager to help, even to volunteer without being asked. We forgive and also ask for forgiveness, etc.