REFLECTION: Aspiring for a certain immunity PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 28 December 2014 14:09

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

It’s obvious that in this life we are always exposed to all kinds of impurities, toxins and other harmful elements. That’s unavoidable. We try to avoid them, of course, improving on our hygiene and sanitation, and undertaking preventive measures, such as prophylaxis.

But even our best efforts can only go so far. Besides, we should be realistic enough to acknowledge that we should not overdo the preventive measures, since we might end up isolating ourselves from the real world, living in a kind of greenhouse.

Besides, being too clean, we might just be setting ourselves in the end for a graver predicament. We have to learn to swim in the water, dirty though it may be, and not outside of it. We just have to acquire a certain immunity to at least some of these destructive organisms so we can live our life as normally as possible.

We actually are somehow endowed with a built-in defense mechanism in our bodily system. We have some natural antibodies to neutralize harmful bacteria and other poisonous elements that get into us.

What we lack in this department we try to make up by producing appropriate antibodies and antidotes through vaccinations. Some antigens in controlled amounts are inoculated into our body with the aim of triggering the production of the corresponding antibodies.

Of course, all this has to be done with extreme care and prudence. Some vaccines have side-effects that can be worse than the intended effect. And even the good and safe ones need to be administered with great care, because not everyone has the same expected reaction. Some contra-indications have to be made clear, before giving them out.

In our spiritual and moral life, something similar takes place. With our conscience, we have some natural mechanisms to help us identify what is right and wrong, and to behave accordingly. It’s important that we give due attention to the care of our conscience. We just cannot leave it alone, growing and developing on its own.

We have to realize that our conscience needs to be trained and formed also. Due to our weakened condition, it may come out, at least in some instances, doubtful, perplexed, scrupulous, lax, or outright erroneous. It has to be given the proper moral principles and supported by virtues to facilitate its work.

A thorough personal examination of the conditions of each case should be made so the proper advice and counsel can be prescribed. That’s why a personal spiritual direction or counseling or mentoring is always recommendable.

Every effort has to be made to put or to restore the good spiritual and moral health of the person. And this can mean helping one to develop a certain immunity against the moral evils around.

The ideal in this regard, of course, is to work for an abiding and functioning identification with Christ. It is only through him when we can aspire to have a certain dominion over our weaknesses, our temptations and trials, and our falls and sins.

With him, not only would we not be scandalized by evil, but also would be most eager and able to transform evil into good. With him, we would not only be patient and tolerant with the unavoidable evils, but also capable of turning the tables on them.

Let’s remember how he handled the temptations at the end of his 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert before he started his public life. Let’s savor his attitude and reactions to the sins and the sinners. Since he gives himself completely to us, we can say that what he can do, we can also do, but always with him.

We need to have the mind and will of Christ, to have his thoughts, desires and longing. We need to adopt his ways which he shows us so eloquently. He reassures us that he will refresh us and that his yoke is easy and his burden light as long as we learn from him to be meek and humble.

The secret to be effectively identified with Christ is to be meek and humble like him who allowed anything to happen to him but yet firm and unmovable in his obedience to his Father’s will.

We have to be wary of our tendency to be proud and self-assertive, manifested in our inclination to rely more on our

opinions, views and preferences rather than consulting God’s will and adopting God’s ways.

Yes, we can have a certain immunity against our weakness, temptations and sins if we just follow more and more fully the ways of Christ.