Making little conquests daily PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 June 2016 11:46

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

Our life will always involve some struggle. In fact, it is and should be a daily affair. Failing in that struggle does not only mean getting stuck at a certain point. It certainly means we have retrogressed. In this business of struggle, if we don’t advance, we retreat.

We should therefore be reminded of our duty to hone up our skills in spiritual warfare. Christ already hinted this much when he said: “from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent bear it away.” (Mt 11,12)

We have to understand though that to be violent in this sense does not mean to be destructive but rather constructive, driven by love and the desire to be united with God and with the others in a way proper to us as children of God and brothers and sisters among ourselves.

Our life here on earth cannot but be in some form of struggle. Aside from our innate urge to grow and develop that requires some effort, we also have to contend with enemies whose sole intent is precisely to bring us down, to divert us from our proper path toward holiness. This is not to mention that our ultimate goal is to reach heaven, which definitely will require effort and struggle, and of course God’s grace.

We are not simply ranged against natural difficulties, challenges and trials in life, but rather with very powerful and subtle nemeses. The natural enemies alone are already formidable. St. John describes them this way:

“For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 Jn 2,16) That’s why we can talk easily about envy, jealousy, vanity, lust, greed, sloth, etc.

For this type of enemies alone, we need an extensive spiritual pharmacopeia and moral regimen to cleanse us of their affliction. That’s why we are encouraged to intensify our spirit of penance and mortification. We should not take this indication lightly.

They are very necessary.

But what is actually practical in this regard is to make little conquests everyday in every front of this spiritual warfare. It can be in the battle for faith, hope and charity. It can be in the way we pray and in the offering of sacrifices.

Any progress or victory in any battle or skirmish, no matter how small, counts. As long as we struggle constantly, our spiritual life will always advance. If we persevere in our spiritual warfare, our fidelity to any commitment is assured, for God on his part will always give us what we need. Things would just depend on us.

Any progress in the virtues, like humility, as when we try to pass unnoticed while doing a lot of good to others, purifying our intentions when we serve, will always go a long way in our spiritual life. We need to remind ourselves strongly that everything that we do should always be for God’s glory and not for our own glorification.

The strategy in our battle in temperance, for example, can be concretized by having a good grip on our emotions and passions. It can be in regulating well our use of time, our attachment to sports, hobbies and other forms of recreation, our curiosities, our thoughts, imagination and tongue that can go wild.

Of special interest these days is the use of the gadgets that seem to be intoxicating people, especially the young. There is need to put limits to their use, to be clear and pure about our intentions in using them. We cannot deny the fact that while these gadgets give us a lot of benefits, they also occasion a lot of grave dangers.

Also in the area of temperance is the need to practice some self-denial with respect to food and drinks. There is a lot of gluttony around these days—people splurging and self-indulging.

Another area where we can make daily little conquests is in the virtue of order. We have to learn to organize our day well, observing the proper priorities—first doing our duties toward God, then toward everybody else starting with those close to us, and then toward ourselves.

We have to learn how to grapple with the many distractions that we meet everyday, and how to maintain or regain our proper focus as soon as possible. It would also help if we make a to-do list everyday, so we don’t get lost and confused easily.