We are a bundle of contrasts PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 December 2015 11:53

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

We should not be surprised by this. This is already common knowledge. What we should do, rather urgently, is to learn how to handle this reality properly.

Yes, we are a bundle of contrasts, because first of all we are made of body and soul, each one with its own laws that do not always operate harmoniously. Certain adjustments had to be made from time to time to make the two sets work in tandem.

This fact of life has been worsened because of sin. The original integrity that was given to our first parents as some extra gift over and above our superior human nature, was lost because of the fall of our first parents, from whom we inherit what is now known as the original sin, the loss of that gift together with immortality and impassibility.

Thus, these two radical components of our nature can be at war with each other, such that we can speak of a spiritual man and a carnal man. St. Paul describes this phenomenon very well:

“I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do…I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.” (Rom 7,19ff)

We are capable of doing good and evil. We can go north or turn south. We can be a saint or a sinner, a hero or a villain. We can be with God one moment, and with the devil the next, capax Dei (capable of receiving God) and capax diaboli (capable of receiving thedevil).

In the Book of Daniel, there’s an image that can describe our predicament. “The head of this image was of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” (2,32-33) A similar image is that of the Achilles heel.

In other words, we can be brilliant and impressive from waist up, but miserable from waist down. Our strengths can stand on our weakness. We have a certain vulnerability that we should learn to manage well.

To manage this bundle of contrasts that we are requiresconstant supervision of our freedom that would involve first of all a true and loving relationship with God, the giver, law, pattern and standard of our freedom. Without God as the foundation, our efforts would be doomed from the start.

Only God, the living God, our Creator and Father, as well as our Savior and Sanctifier, can provide us with the real principle of unity in our life. We would be fooling ourselves if we don’t go all the way to recognize this basic truth about us.

This, of course, is a truth of faith, not so much of science. And that’s where the problem lies. There is a crisis of faith in the world, especially involving those who rely more on their human abilities than on belief in God.

We have to learn how to marshal and mobilize all our powers and faculties toward keeping and strengthening this loving relationship with God. We have to give special attention to how our intelligence and will are pegged and used. Are they with God? Or they at the service only of our own will, if not, of our feelings or passions alone?

We have to reiterate the truth that we need God to have a solid, genuine unity of life and an unwavering focus even in the midst of so many things in our life. Only in this way can we manage tohandle the different contrasts in our life.

We just have to learn how to strengthen our relation with God, overcoming our natural awkwardness and difficulties, knowing how to pray, studying and assimilating the doctrine, availing of the sacraments, rectifying our intention, developing the virtues, observing proper priorities, etc.

We have to learn how to exercise our freedom, having a good understanding of what true freedom is, where it is to be found, and how it is used. In this regard, we have to realize that we need to form our conscience well, going through some self-discipline so that our conscience can really make a good and correct judgment.

This is always possible, because God in the first place will give us the necessary grace for this to take place. Things just depend on us!