We need to purify our intentions PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 14:24

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

We have to be most careful in handling our intentions.

They play a strategic role in our life, for how and where we direct them would determine whether we want to be with God and simply with our own selves.

Our intentions express who and where in the end we want to be. Do we choose God, or do we simply choose ourselves, or the world in general? It’s actually a choice between good and evil.

Even if we are not aware, or refuse to be aware, of this choice, which is usually the case, the choice between God and us, between good and evil is always made with every human act we do.

We need to realize then that we have to take utmost care of our intention, making it as explicit as possible, and honing it to get engaged with its proper and ultimate object who is God.

We should try our best to shun being simply casual or cavalier about this responsibility. We can easily play around with it, since intentions are almost invariably hidden from public knowledge. We are urged to be most sincere in directing our intentions properly.

We can easily fall into hypocrisy and deception, doing what can appear good externally but is not internally, since we could refuse giving glory to God, which is the proper intention to have, and instead feed and stir our vanity, pride, greed, lust, etc.

We need to actively purify our intentions, since we have to contend with many spoilers in this regard these days. In fact, we just have to look around and see how openly opposed many people are of directing their intentions to God.

To them, intentions are strictly personal and confidential matters that others do not have any right to meddle. While there is a certain truth to this claim, we have to remind ourselves that our intentions too are subject to a moral law.

This moral law is universal in character. There is something essential in it that cannot change in spite of the variations that this law can come to us due to the differences of cultural, historical and social conditionings, etc.

Our intentions can only have at their core the love of God, the giving glory to God. As St. Paul once indicated, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10,31) That’s how our acts become good, or moral. Otherwise, they are bad, or at least dangerous.

This is so, since God, being the Creator, is the standard for everything. And more than the standard, he is, in fact, the very substance of what is good, true and beautiful, what is fair and just, what is perfection itself.

Nothing is good, true and beautiful, nothing is fair and just, nothing is perfect if it is not done with God and for God. In short, we need to refer all our acts to God. We have to make this affirmation very clear in our mind and do everything to make that ideal a reality.

Short of making the love of God and his glorification as our basic intention for our human acts, whatever good we can see in our human acts would simply be apparent. They can be useful if in the end our intentions are purified and corrected. If not, they can only pose as a danger.

Some people may consider this understanding of what ought to be our proper intentions as ridiculous. That some may think so should be no surprise. Religion, especially when talking about a crucified Christ, has long been considered as “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1 Cor 1,23)

Neither should the claim that all this is impractical and inhuman hinder us in purifying our intentions. The love of God does nothing to our humanity other than purifying and elevating it to the supernatural order. It enhances and strengthens our humanity. It has resources that no other human motive can match. It even is stronger than death, the worst predicament that we can get into.

That is why we have to pay serious attention to where our intention tilts, to who or what actually holds our heart, for it is the heart, the home of our intention, where we determine the morality of our acts and ultimately where we find our true identity.

Christ himself said it quite clearly: “Where your treasure is, there is your heart also.” (Mt 6,21) We need to ground our heart firmly on God, filling it with love and goodness even if heroic effort is needed.