REFLECTION: Compassion amid life’s complications PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2015 11:19

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

As we all know, the Synod of Bishops that will take place in Rome in October will tackle some complicated issues like how to give due pastoral attention and care to couples in irregular situations, that is, divorced and remarried, and to those whose sexual orientation goes beyond the male-female system, if you will.

These issues already started to be discussed in the Synod last year and sparked quite a firestorm that only shows how delicate these issues are. They will continue to be so, but we just have to be man enough to grapple with them. Let’s hope that the forthcoming Synod can come out with workable guidelines.

We cannot deny that these complicated issues are now everywhere. Even in our own relatively simple country, complicated situations involving families are already mushrooming. We have a lot of broken and dysfunctional families, etc.

Imagine in other so-called more developed countries where these complications seem to find their most favorable ground! Think of Germany, for example, some of whose bishops, burdened by these pastoral problems, have gone to espousing very radical proposals which are now creating a stir in church circles.

Many Church leaders have admitted that these issues are really difficult to tackle. There are no simple and general yes-or-no answers to the questions raised around them. The world has gone complicated, and we just cannot help but complicate our lives too to grapple with these complications.

We are actually opening some kind of new frontiers here as we try to widen the scope of mercy and compassion to approach that of Christ himself, described as eternal and all-embracing. This, I believe, is what Pope Francis is pushing.

Let’s pray always, so that we can face the challenge without getting lost. Better said, we can face the challenge enriched by the new things we are going to learn. What is clearly needed is greater sensitivity and docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who will always be there guiding us. Also, greater effort to understand people in their different situations, conditions and predicaments.

For this, we have to be willing to complicate our life. There surely will be some need for adjustments in our attitudes, in the way we understand things and view different kinds of people. We have to hone up our skills at versatility, which should not only be a matter of theatric performance but rather that of genuine love for God and for souls.

We have to learn how to flow with the times whose developments are getting more rapid and more varied. We should learn to be very discerning, knowing how to identify and derive anything good that is in any person, situation, ideology, etc., but knowing also their defects, errors, limitations so as not to be trapped by them.

Tremendous, indeed! Overwhelming, perhaps. But we can hack it, no doubt about that, as long as we know how to go to God and how to demand on ourselves. Yes, we have to learn how to update our traditional understanding and ways of doing things, distinguishing between the essential and the accidental, the absolute and the relative, the permanent and the changeable.

We have expand our heart to be make it more universal, as well as broaden our mind so we can understand things more deeply and extensively.

Let’s examine ourselves more thoroughly so as to be more aware of our biases and preferences that can get in the way of our effort to adapt and our pursuit for a more universal compassion.

We have to learn how to go through the process of changing, improving and growing in our spiritual life. This can be painful and tedious, but it is always worthwhile. Not only that. It is necessary, if we have to be realistic.

Compassion should not be exclusively associated with the sweet and tender moments of pity, sympathy and empathy. It demands sacrifice and self-denial which we should be willing to give.

These challenging times are actually a call for us to identify ourselves more closely with Christ. In other words, we are called today to be truly holy, to become saints, canonizable saints, and not simply fellows who are goodish, or smart and clever, or practical, etc.

We are challenged to be another Christ himself, “alter Christus,” who emptied himself all the way to the cross just to save us, the ultimate in love and compassion. Are we ready for this challenge?

To be sure, this does not mean we do extraordinary things.

It would be enough to do our daily ordinary things extraordinarily well, with greater love!