REFLECTION: Beware of routine PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 11:58

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

YES, we have to be most wary of the danger of routine. This can easily fall on us, especially these days when there are just too many things that grab our attention to distraction.

Never forget that we now have to contend with an information and image overload that lead us into an overdrive with its consequent unhealthy stress and the like. Allied to this common phenomenon is that of multi-tasking, where people are pressured to work at the expense oftentimes of impoverishing their spiritual and even their bodily health.

Another would be the proliferation of couch potatoes hooked to the internet and often unmindful of their personal conditions, including meals and hygiene, and much less, of the needs of the others.

Routine is when instead of pursuing our real goal, we get entangled with other not-so-important things though they also have certain legitimate value. This is a big problem, since very often we get lost in our sense of priorities in life.

When we are not properly anchored on God, then it would be very easy to get confused, especially now when many things appear to compete with each other in terms of importance and priority.

Routine goes against what Christ told us very clearly: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and everything else will be added unto you.” (Mt 6,33) We should always bear these words in mind. It’s a basic principle of life.

The subtle and very deceptive character of routine is that it can fill us with many things, it can engage us with all sorts of exciting challenges and projects, and yet miss the main or the most important point in life.

It’s like sewing with a needle without a thread. No matter how many passes or movements the needle makes, it can never stitch or mend clothes.

Routine is when we can deaden our sensitivity towards God and others, and enliven our self-absorption to the point of invincibility. That’s why some saints, like St. Josemaria Escriva, describe it as the sepulchre of piety.

That’s why we should always be on the look-out for the quiet and often sweet invasion of routine. They are now everywhere. Let’s always remember what Christ told us as to why we have to deny ourselves and carry the cross and follow him. Some sacrifice is always needed to be able to be on the right track.

Routine is actually a form of escapism from God, from reality, from our true responsibilities. It is a form of pampering and spoiling ourselves. Whatever effort, sacrifice, investment involved in routine is done in pursuit of self-interest rather than of God’s will.

The worst form of routine is when we convert our practices of piety into a routine. Our prayers and attempts to be with God are only a shell with nothing inside. We go through the motions of praying, but are not actually praying, are not actually in touch with God.

We should promptly correct this anomaly by humbling ourselves to ask for pardon and for more grace so that, in spite of all difficulties, we can manage to pray, the very lifeblood of our spiritual life.

It can also happen though that on some bad days, we are not inspired to pray for one reason or another, and yet we somehow force ourselves to pray, not out of hypocrisy but more out of true love for God. This is another story, which is actually very meritorious and laudable.

We need to do everything to sharpen our need for God, our sense of giving God the first and only priority over everything else in our life, convinced that everything else would just follow and fall in place.

Let’s not be afraid to face the unavoidable effort and sacrifice involved here. It would always be a worthwhile effort and investment.

We have to make many acts of faith. And we need to humble ourselves always so that the impulses of God’s grace would be received and corresponded to promptly. Let’s never forget that God never fails to intervene in our life, showing us the way of our life.

That’s why it’s good that we also avail ourselves of some workable plan of piety composed of certain practices, to keep our presence of God alive, effective and fruitful. We can think of some period of mental prayer, spiritual reading, some Marian and other helpful devotions.

Regular examinations of conscience are also a necessity to monitor our spiritual life is developing, and to promptly address the constant threat of routine setting in.