REFLECTION: To get in touch with reality PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 February 2015 15:14

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

In the course of a conversation, a friend asked me these questions: “What then is reality? How do we get in touch with it? You mean, we are not yet fully in touch with reality?”

Difficult questions, of course. To answer them would require a lot of explanation. These were raised because we were talking about faith and the creative will of God, full of love and wisdom, mercy and compassion, that in the end contains the whole scope of reality in all its objectivity and complexity.

It’s in that will that everything is known at once. This is the case of God himself.  But in our case, it would be that faith and the creative will of God that would enable to know the part of reality that we ought to know at the moment, or as it should be known.

And most important is that it is in that faith and in that divine will that we get to know things in relation to their ultimate and absolute end, which is what in the end matters. Our real concern is how to engage and relate ourselves to that divine will.

This engaging and relating ourselves to that divine will is actually easy to do, since God, for his part, will always facilitate things for us. If God has given us his Son who had to offer his life for us on the cross, then everything is already given to us. If we do our part, knowing the divine will should not be hard.

In that conversation, I told my friend him that our contact with reality that is based simply on our senses, feelings, and other worldly things like our sociology, politics, economics, and the whole gamut of our sciences, arts and technology, can at best be only partial, instrumental, provisional.

Our senses can only capture the sensible reality. Our feelings are highly subjective. The sciences, arts and technologies can only parcel reality according to their formal objects. All of these still miss out a lot of things.

This is not to mention that precisely because of their partiality, instrumentality and provisionality, our contact with reality is prone to be distorted, biased, and to be manipulated according to one’s subjective motives.

Such understanding of getting in touch with reality can hardly escape from the grip of subjectivism. It would be a fertile breeding place for anomalies like bigotry and self-righteousness.

My understanding of reality is one whose radical foundation is God’s creative will itself that God shares with us through the gift of faith. Everything is contained there: the material and spiritual, the natural and supernatural, the temporal and eternal, etc.

God’s creative will would even know how to handle the highly fragile nature of our human freedom, which can turn in every which way. That’s why we need to do everything to know and to get in touch with God’s will.

This we can do if we pray, develop an intimate relationship with him, become a real contemplative right in the middle of the world, study the doctrine of our faith that articulates his divine revelation that has its fullness in Christ and is perpetuated in the Church.

This we can do if we have recourse to the sacraments which are the usual channels of God’s grace, undertake a continuing ascetical struggle to develop virtues and to do battle with the enemies of God and our soul.

This we can do if we continue to immerse ourselves in the lives of others and in the things of the world, since God speaks to us through them, showing us what he wants us to do in a given moment. In short, getting in touch with God is the key to getting in touch with reality.

But we also have to understand that while the business of getting in touch with God starts with our proper disposition of faith, shown in prayer, recourse to the sacraments, etc., we also need to get immersed in the lives of others and in the world itself and relate them to God.

It’s always a two-way affair—immersing ourselves in God as well as immersing ourselves in others and the world. That’s why Christ, when asked what the greatest commandment was or, in other words, what God really wants us to do, said: to love God with all our might and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbour.

To get in touch with reality is a matter of getting in touch with God and getting in touch with others and the world.