Emmanuel and our affections PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 14:08

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

Emmnuel, of course, means God-with-us. It is the name given to Christ, the son of God who became man to save us. It’s he who perfectly translates this name into reality. Though he died, resurrected and ascended into heaven, he continues to be with us, in fact, not only in a passive way, but in a most active way. He always intervenes in our life.

God can never be absent in our life. As creator, he is the giver of our very existence and maintains it, since otherwise we would cease to exist. As savior through his son, he re-creates us to free us from the clutches of sin that has deformed us. Driven by an eternal love for us, he will always be with us.

We need to train ourselves to be more aware of the constant presence of God in each one of us, among all of us, and in the whole world and the entire creation. He is in every place and in every situation of our life. And he is actually always showing us the way to live each moment—how to think, judge, reason, conclude, etc.

All we have to do is to discern his will and ways.

We need to be more aware of this reality that first of all requires faith. But let’s remember that faith should not just be a purely intellectual and spiritual affair. Since it is meant for us, and we are men with body and soul, our faith should affect us all the way to our bodily dimension. It should not be stuck in the spiritual level alone. Thus, crucial in this concern is the role of our emotions and passions, our sentiments and affections.

Though only secondary to the role of our intelligence and will, our emotions and affections nevertheless cannot be neglected, since as our Catechism teaches, they are “the movements of the sensible appetite—natural components of human psychology—which incline a person to act or not to act in view of what is perceived as good or evil.”

Our emotions and affections are integral and somehow indispensable in our life, and therefore also in our relation with God and with others which in the end are what our life is all about.

We cannot and should not take them lightly for the simple reason that if they are not for God and for others, then they would be against them and would just be instruments of our self-indulgence, something that will spoil us sooner or later.

We can apply in this regard the words of Christ: “He who is not with me is against me and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” (Mt 12,30) These words may strike us at first as quite demanding, but let’s always remember that Christ also has given us everything so we can actually follow his will. All we have to do is to avail of what Christ has given us.

In short, if our feelings and affections are not with him, and because of him with everybody else, then they will be against him and others. They will just be for ourselves, lived and developed at the instance of our own whims and caprices.

Besides, when our feelings and affections are truly grounded on love for God and for others, then we would have more unity and consistency in our life, and avoid the usual tendency of ours to profess one thing and yet do another. We would avoid, in short, hypocrisy, double-life or at least some inconsistency in our life where our actions often belie what we say.

That’s why for us to be more aware of God’s continuing presence in us and to be stably driven by the love that is proper to us, we have to see to it that our relation with him should also be felt, and in fact, felt quite strongly. It’s not enough that our  feelings for him are shallow, tenuous and easily overtaken by many mundane things in life.

We need to spend some time training our feelings and affections to conform to our professed belief and love for God and for others. For this, we have to ask first for the grace of God, then go through the process of meditating the word of God, savoring the tremendous love Christ is showing us through those words.

We have to allow ourselves to burn with love. It should also be a love that knows how to be practical and adaptable to the different circumstances of our life. Let’s give it a thought and start moving!