Always check the spirit behind anything PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 11:56

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

This is what we should always be doing. We cannot be naïve and just accept things as they come. We need to check if the spirit behind anything that involves us comes from God or not.

In this, we have received enough warnings from SacredScripture. “Beloved,” St. John, for example, in his first letter tells us, “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (4,1)

There are many kinds of spirits roaming around the world, and we have to learn how to discern them. There is the spirit of God, the spirit of Christ as opposed to the antichrist. There is also the evil spirit, and the spirit of the world that is dominated by the evil one.

St. John was explicit as to which spirit is proper to us. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that

Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.” (1 Jn 4,2-3)

St. Paul distinguished between the fruits of the Spirit of God and the works of the flesh dominated by the evil spirit. The former include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (cfr Gal 5,22-23)

The latter include fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing. (cfr Gal 5,19-21)

We need to be wary of these truths of our faith so we can be properly guided in our human affairs. In this current issue of Brexit, for example, no less than Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his many writings some time ago, was suspicious of the stability of the European Union.

He somehow pointed out that many signs indicated the EU or Europe itself was not animated by the proper spirit of God that can only work for unity in spite of obvious differences among the member countries.

It’s a pity because that wonderful project of integration contented itself simply with worldly values. It was merely an economic and political enterprise, ignoring the religious underpinning that it needed.

It cannot avoid being precarious and fragile since the economic and political principles, deprived of the spirit of God, cannot cope with all the challenges and trials of an integrated continent whose members have strong nationalistic identities and peculiarities.

In the case of the Brexit, it seems that Britain cannot cope with the problems arising in the area of the trade deals, the monetary and fiscal policies, and the surging migrants issue.

There will always be differences in any attempts at integration, there will always be advantages and disadvantages. There is no perfect system. But if only economic and political principles, unanimated by God’s spirit, are to be applied, things cannot go far.

Sooner or later, disintegration will come. It’s unavoidable.

Those working for world integration and globalization should learn precious lessons from this Brexit development. They have to approach that goal with a wholistic attitude where the spiritual and religious aspects of human life not only should be considered but also regarded as a crucial and defining element.

They cannot and should not play naïve, because even if they say that they are only considering the economic and political aspects of their work, the spiritual factor cannot be avoided. If they are not for God, then they are for something else.

Christ was very clear about this point. “He who is not with Me is against me,” he said. “And he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Mt 12,30)

These words remind us that there is no human activity where God is not involved. From the most insignificant act to the most global projects, God is and should be involved. We need to overcome our awkwardness with respect to this truth of our faith.

In our country, we are also trying to achieve some kind of integration among our Asia-Pacific neighbors. We may just be contented with enlarging our markets and other economic benefits like the economy of scale, but then again, we should not forget that the whole thing will require the proper spirit.

This is a big challenge, and our country, still with good religious grounding, should do its part in endowing this project with the proper spirit. Let’s be convinced that we will go much farther than we can expect if we only work by purely economic and political principles.