Stir up hunger and thirst for Christ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 11:05

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

This we have to deliberately do. We cannot and should not expect that this hunger and thirst would just come about automatically, as if it is going to be physically felt and biologically dictated. This is a spiritual hunger and thirst that needs the impulses of our faith, the dynamics of grace and the cooperation of our spiritual faculties.

On the part of God, he is already giving us all that we need to have this hunger and thirst be felt by us. His grace is made available in abundance. Even when we are in the state of sin, that grace is there. “Where sin has abounded,” St. Paul said, “grace has abounded even more.” (Rom 5,20) And so, instead of running away from Christ because of our sin, we should be more drawn to him.

Besides, the whole mystery of God, if properly appreciated, can never quench our hunger and thirst for him. We can never know him and love him enough. And that state, instead of making us indifferent to him, should continually spur our desire for him.

It’s just how we react to all this goodness of God that we need to train ourselves properly. And this can mean cultivating that spiritual hunger and thirst for him that should be with us all the time.

We need to pause and reflect on this truth of our faith, so that we can be more aware of it, and more importantly, would know how to act accordingly. We really would need to spend time knowing him more by praying, studying and meditating on God’s word, cultivating a certain fondness for him, having regular recourse to the sacraments, etc.

We have to be wary of the many factors that tend to deaden our appetite for God by replacing it with merely earthly appetites. We all know that the inordinate fascination for worldly pleasures, be it in food and drinks, sex, sports, entertainment, etc., can easily dominate us. Thus, we need to be properly guarded.

That’s why Christ told us that if we want to follow him, we need to deny ourselves and carry the cross. It’s not that we have no right to have these earthly pleasures. We can have them as long as they are legitimately and morally resorted to, that is, they begin and end with God, giving glory to him, our Father and Creator, which is what we are all supposed to be doing all the time.

We have to be wary of how we are exercising our freedom, because we have the tendency to abuse it, using it at the impulses of our selfishness rather than giving glory to God and loving others.

St. Paul already warned about this. “You, my brothers and sister, were called to be free,” he said. “But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Gal 5,13)

St. Peter made a similar warning. “Live as free people,” he said, “but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil.” (1 Pt 2,16)

We need to frequently ask ourselves about how we are using our freedom to see if it is serving the law proper to it, that is, to give glory to God and to serve others. In these times, many things work to compromise the proper exercise of our freedom. We should be more adept in handling this particular aspect of our life.

What should ideally happen with the use of our freedom is that our desire and appetite for God and for others is always whetted, not diminished, when we are handling our legitimate temporal affairs, whether it be about money, politics and the other things that give us some degree of pleasure.

We are actually facing a tremendous challenge, since the current dominant world culture is precisely held captive by merely earthly things and values. The more important spiritual and supernatural things and values are, at best, held as optional, not a necessity.

The task at hand is to instill little by little the sense of the spiritual and supernatural in everyone, starting with those close to us—the family, friends, relatives, colleagues, etc.—so that the appetite for God is not compromised, but rather fostered and enhanced, protected and defended.

We have to wean everyone from being overly dependent on earthly and temporal things that at best only have a relative and passing value. But first, let us make Christ really known and erase the false images of him, so everyone would find it natural to have hunger and thirst for him.