Are we now in some altered state? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 22 April 2016 13:31

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

I was struck the other day by an article that claimed we are heading toward an altered state of attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD). It seems this is not anymore an illness associated with children. With our new technologies, this disorder has become pandemic, viral, affecting everyone all over the world, thanks also to today’s phenomenon called globalization.

My dictionary defines ADHD as “a childhood syndrome characterized by impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and short attention span, which often leads to learning disabilities and various behavioral problems.”

This was first identified in 1987, although we can be sure this anomaly must have existed long time ago, perhaps not as bad and as prevalent as it is now.

With children, it comes as an illness whose cause is largely freed of malice and guilt. It’s more due to some hormonal imbalances. I don’t think we can say the same of the adults afflicted with it.

With children, the effects and manifestations are more on the irritating aspect and are largely harmless. With adults, they are much worse since they tend not only to kill the body, but also the soul.

With children, we can readily see it and most likely act on it. With adults, we need a lot of convincing that we have it. Its cure, of course, goes beyond the medical and psychological. To be effective, it has to heal the soul. Alas, this requires tremendous effort and resources!

What is obviously wrong is that people nowadays have forgotten almost  completely that we are meant to be contemplatives or to have a running awareness of God’s presence. That is to say, men and women who manage to see God in everything and in everyone as well as to see everything and everyone with the eyes of God.

For many Christian believers, it would seem that to be contemplatives is an exclusive prerogative of people like the Carmelite nuns and monks. At this point in our development, it’s amazing that we still retain this old myth.

All of us are meant to be contemplatives with a strong spirit of recollection. And we don’t have to stay in convents and monasteries to be so. The streets, the offices and farms can readily be our cells. This ideal is contained in St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians:

“…be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inner man, that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts, that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth.

“To know also the charity of Christ which surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” (3,16 ff)

But again, who practically remember these words, let alone make an effort to turn them into a living reality in themselves? It would seem that these words have remained plainly biblical, and confined and stuck there. They have not or are not allowed to leap out of the book.

This is the challenge we have. It is how to overcome the massive and thick barrier of human resistance to anything that has to do with faith and religion. And then to show the many ways that can make this ideal a reality in everybody’s life.

That wall has a human component consisting of our natural limitations. It has a worse component—our sins and their consequences in our lives. But the ways to be contemplative are actually endless.

Let’s fatten our war chest for this purpose.

There is always hope. We just have to be patient and continue to evangelize, trying to drown evil, confusion and ignorance with an abundance of good and certified, authoritative teaching and doctrine.

We need to continue reminding everyone that we always need to exercise our faith, hope and charity. We cannot remain reacting to things by using merely our senses and even our intelligence, no matter how high it may be.

We need to use faith and to activate our spiritual life.

Of course, right now these things would look strange to many, but

that’s just at the beginning. With patience, hard work, sacrifice,

etc., the right things can be done!

 

Christian teaching tells us about being docile to the Holy

Spirit. This doctrine has to be better known by people, and its ways

of effecting it should be taught and shown tirelessly.

 

I think that any effort to stop the slide to

attention-deficit disorder threatening us today has to start and end

with the effort to make ourselves truly contemplative souls in the

middle of the world.