Playing offense and defense PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 October 2017 13:58



THIS is about the virtue of fortitude, one of the cardinal virtues from which spring many other virtues. It’s a virtue that we all should cultivate since it is necessary as we plod through the tricky waters of this world.


It involves both aggression and protection. We have to learn how to pursue some arduous good without fear and let-up but avoiding rashness, as well as how to bear the unavoidable difficulties and evils along the way without giving up. Thus, it involves both action and patience, offense and defense.


We should not forget that in this life, whether we like it or not, aware of it or not, we are involved in some kind of lifelong warfare. Our heart is always an arena for the battle of good and evil.


That is why we always have to make some kind of strategy to see if we are keeping the right combination of offense and defense in our spiritual life. Everyday, we have to go through some kind of accounting to monitor how we are living and continually developing this virtue as we have to cope with the changing challenges and opportunities in life.


We should not take this concern for granted, simply abandoning ourselves to fate or to a blind adherence to God’s providence without us making due effort to be truly responsible in shaping our life. This would be what is called as fatalism, an improper and exaggerated understanding of the spirit of abandonment.

This unconcern, as we all know, is quite common. We have to overcome it, helping one another to develop the proper attitude and skills in playing offense and defense in our spiritual life which is a matter of growing in love for God and others through the events of our daily life.

A good means to do this is to make a habit of making a regular examination of conscience everyday. In this way, we practice accountability of what God has given us and of what he expects from us. We are in this life for a clear God-given purpose. We should not get distracted, much less, diverted from this objective of our life.

With regular examination of conscience, we would somehow know if we are gaining or losing ground in our spiritual life, or if we are winning or losing in our ascetical struggles to develop virtues and to avoid sin, if there is growth and progress or stagnation and regression in the long and short-runs of our specific spiritual battles.

With regular examination of conscience, we would have a sense of continuity and direction in our spiritual life. We would be encouraged to put some goals to reach, some standards to measure our performance, some deadlines to meet. In other words, we would have a guide to help us, some structure and road map to show us the way.

It’s about time that the means we seriously use to be effective in our mundane activities be also used in our spiritual and moral affairs. We cannot afford to be casual and dismissive in the development of our spiritual life.

With regular examination of conscience, we can make the necessary adjustments to adapt to the changing situations and circumstances. It gives us a sense of confidence that is so necessary if we want to be effective in reaching our ultimate goal, which is nothing less than our own sanctification.

With regular examination of conscience, we develop a culture that is responsive to the fundamental needs and purpose of our life.