The one to die for PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 31 August 2015 14:49

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

If there’s anything that should elicit the strongest passion in us, it should be the desire to be like God. This simply corresponds to God’s greatest commandment as articulated by Christ himself: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.” (Lk 10,27)

Let’s see to it that these words do not remain words alone, nor mere intention or theory that would hardly have any effect on our feelings nor on the many aspects of our life. Let’s see to it that these words would set us aflame with love, with a certain madness which is how love usually expresses itself.

This love for God—which is like saying, to be like God, since loving resembles the lover with the beloved—should be the be-all and end-all of our life. It’s not fame, nor wealth, nor some power.

Much less should it be some person with great looks or tremendous talents, or some vain thoughts about ourselves. It should be God who draws our strongest desire, the only one to die for. Thus, it is important to ask ourselves from time, what truly is my greatest passion now? Is it simply food, fame, money, work, power?

Or it is possible that our immediate passion is some worldly thing, but do we know how to relate it to the ultimate passion that is proper to us? Do we know how to relate these earthly passions to God?

Everyday, we need to find reason to make this need to love God and to be like him very much alive in us. That’s simply because we have been made in God image and likeness. And we have been given the freedom together with his grace so that we can choose to be like God.

We have to understand that freedom is best exercised when used to choose to love God and therefore to be like God. We should not misuse our freedom by using in any which way, or by simply using it to pursue our whims and caprices. Only tragedy awaits us in these latter cases.

Let’s remember that our freedom is the best endowment God has given our nature. It is through it that together with God’s grace we can truly become like God as God wants it, nay, as God commands it.

As St. Peter would put, let’s not make freedom “a cloak for malice.” (1 Pt 2,16) Freedom’s ultimate purpose is for us to become like God, since we have been created in his image and likeness, something that we have to correspond ourselves to, using our freedom precisely.

We need to be more familiar with this need, and little by little try to feel it and act on it. It does not come automatically. It has to be educed, obviously slowly but also steadily. And for this, it requires a lot of formation, of continuing motivations, and the appropriate attitude, skills and virtues. Let’s hope that everyone lends a hand in this task.

We also need to disabuse ourselves from the thinking—erroneous and baseless, for sure—that adopting this kind of attitude would make us strange and weird. Hardly anything could be farther than the truth.

Passionately desiring to be like God completes and perfects our humanity, or rather leads us to the fullness of our humanity. It certainly is not an easy thing to do. There will be a lot of awkwardness in the beginning, some bumbling and inconsistent efforts in the process, but then if we persist, for sure, we can hack it. It’s hard but not impossible.

Besides, we are assured of God’s grace. This is also something that we have to be more familiar with. This task and challenge certainly does not depend solely on our human efforts. It requires God’s grace which is actually given to us in abundance, but which we have to ask, even beg.

We have to remember always that while things completely depend on us, they also completely depend on God—in fact, they depend on God primarily. Our role, while done with total commitment, is more of seconding God’s will and ways, which we have to do precisely with our God-given gift of freedom.

It’s time that we instill in everyone this awareness of our need to cultivate this passion to be like God, who has revealed himself completely to us in Christ, and who in turn continues to be with us through the Holy Spirit acting on the many instrumentalities Christ himself established.