REFLECTION: Fighting against lukewarmness PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 February 2015 13:31

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

This is a very common spiritual illness. What’s so dangerous about it is that it often passes as something ordinary and normal. It hardly causes any worry, much less, alarm. It lulls many of us to think there’s no problem.

It’s an attitude, a mindset, and, worse, a culture that is stuck with the minimalist virus, contented with what is practical, convenient, popular, profitable, etc., and goes no further. It justifies itself by saying, “Why do I need to go any further? Things are already ok as they are.”

It is the perfect expression of the adage, “The good is the enemy of the best.” And so it fails to submit itself to the law of love that requires self-giving without measure, a total self-giving whose language is generosity and heroism all the way to death.

Of course, behind that justification is a subtle, unspoken compromise with one’s laziness and other weaknesses, not to mention, his lack of faith and spirit of sacrifice. That justification puts one in the Stop mode of his spiritual life, when it is supposed always to Go, to Move, to Grow always.

In the Book of Revelation, there is a clear condemnation of such spiritual illness. “Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” (3,16)

We have to be more aware of this danger and do all to avoid, if not fight against it. The basic and indispensable antidote to this danger is love, the proper kind of love that comes only from God and is a living participation of the very love of God which is the only kind of love there is.

This love has the power of continuing self-renewal and self-perpetuation, and of supporting and even going beyond our physical and other natural powers. This is the love that will keep us always young and vibrant, and will give us a taste of eternity while still in time.

How to keep that love burning, how to continually feed it is a concern we ought to cultivate in ourselves. We can be sure that we are not engaging here in some quixotic, unrealistic adventure, since on the part of God, everything is already given to us.

He has given us his grace in abundance, his saving doctrine, his sacraments, the Church, the living Christian tradition, etc. The Holy Spirit is with us. Christ has promised that he will be with us till the end of time.

What is needed is our prompt and permanent correspondence. In this regard, we have to realize the importance of some practical plan or program that would help maintain our love aflame.

Certainly, we need to have time everyday for deep prayer, an intimate conversation with God where we bring all our concerns and meditate on God’s word so we would be in vital contact with him and his will for us. We have to find means to keep ourselves in his presence all throughout the day.

We need to have time to go the sacraments, especially Confession and the Holy Eucharist. We have to wage a continuing struggle against our weakness, temptations and sin, and to grow in the different virtues.

For sure, if our prayer and dealings with God are authentic and not just formalistic and even hypocritical, we would always feel the urge to immerse ourselves in the lives of others and the affairs of the world. We would be consumed with the attitude and desire of Christ towards all men and the world, and that is to save and not to condemn.

In this regard, we will feel the urge to evangelize others and the world in general, as well as the certainty of being evangelized by them, since God, no doubt, will speak to us through them, showing us the concrete and finer points of his will for us.

We have to realize that no matter how dirtied and corrupted by evil people and the things of the world are, we can always discern, if we have faith, if we are with God himself, precious lessons and messages that would be good to our soul.

This is how to fight lukewarmness and complacency. It is a matter of filling ourselves with love that God himself gives us in abundance, making use of a practical and practicable program that would help us to be always with God.

It would be good if we can avail of some spiritual direction and counseling so we can devise a plan of spiritual life that is suited to our specific conditions.