REFLECTION: Be self-emptied to be God-filled PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 November 2014 14:33

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

This is the law that should rule our life. Christ himself said so. “He that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.”

“Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, shall save it.” “He that hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life eternal.”

The same idea, the same truth and ideal, is reiterated, developed and expressed in many other ways in different parts of the gospel. In one instance, Christ tells us be detached from all possessions and even from those we consider close and important to us.

“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple…Everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Lk 14)

As we can see, all this business of losing and hating and renouncing is meant to make us filled with God who after all is our everything. With him, we also would have everything else we need, but in their proper order.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt 6,33) We should never worry that what we seem to lose according to our human standards would actually be lost. On the contrary, what we lose would actually gain us a hundredfold.

Again, Christ reassures us of this truth. “Everyone that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.” (Mt 19,29)

We should be quick to react to things and to reason out with faith, so that we avoid going into unnecessary episodes of anguish, sadness and self-pity. Rather, when this belief about losing so we gain the things of God truly rules our life, we can be happy and confident, with the mind of a victor, with a demeanor that would suggest elegance and poise.

Far from being a sad life, Christian life is actually a very happy life. When one conforms himself as tightly as possible to

Christ, he knows that whatever self-denial and suffering he can experience in life, will always have great redemptive value.

We have to learn to rid ourselves of the fear of losing, of renouncing, and even of dying. Like a good, shrewd businessman, let’s not be afraid to throw in a big infusion of investment, as suggested by Christ, into our ultimate business of our redemption, when the hundredfold of spiritual dividends is already guaranteed to us.

To learn this, we can start in the self-denial of little things in our daily affairs—in our food and drink, in our comfort and convenience, in our dealings with others that should be marked with utmost understanding and patience, in the generous self-giving with which we do our work and other duties, etc.    In fact, that little effort to smile and to be nice to someone we find boring or offensive could very well be the spiritual investment needed at the moment. When we persist in that attitude, making it a habit, for sure we can acquire greater capacity to give ourselves more and more to God and to others, to lose ourselves so we can gain God in us.

Let’s remember the example of Christ, as described by St. Paul who strongly encouraged us to follow Christ. “Let this mind be in you,” he said, “which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men…” (Phil 2,5-7)

This attitude is not some form of masochism. It is not a perversion of our humanity. Rather, it is what purifies us, what cures us of our illnesses, what strengthens us, puts us in the right path, helps to repay and atone for our sins, disposes us to be elevated to the supernatural order of God to whom we belong, assures us of our redemption.

We have to grab every opportunity to empty ourselves more and more so we can fill ourselves more and more of God. That is how we have to look at how to live our life here on earth.

And the opportunities to do so are actually ever-present. We are presented with an endless flow of possibilities to empty ourselves even in our most solitary moments. That’s because all this is first of all a matter of thoughts, intentions and desires.