I suppose this is what we observe in life in general, and especially when as priests we have to preach. We do the same things, we say more or less the same message, but we should also see to it that there is some variation in all that we do. Otherwise there is no way but to fall into boredom and complacency for all the parties involved.
This is actually a big challenge especially to those whose effectiveness and success in life and in his mission depends on saying or doing the same things everyday. These people can be the clerics who have to say Mass everyday, preach more or less the same message. These can also be people in the media who have to write or say something everyday, etc.
These people can also be the audience who have to listen to more or less the same things everyday. They have to learn how to make some variations in the same things that they do, say, hear, read and handle everyday.
The secret, I imagine, is for one to be truly a man of God who, in the Book of Revelation, is the one referred to as saying: “Behold, I am making all things new.” (21, 5) With God, everything will be new. Nothing becomes old and stale no matter how many times something is repeated.
To be sure, this business of how to make repetitious things look and sound new will bring to mind the need for creativity and continuing innovation. But we just have to understand also that creativity and innovation are not simply a function of human effort and genius. God’s grace is always needed before anything else would come to the picture.
We have to realize more deeply that the ability to vary the same things that we do and say everyday, the ability to be creative and innovative, is not only a matter of techniques. There has to be a living spirit behind it. And that spirit cannot be other than God ultimately.
When we are truly inspired by the God’s spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, we would be able to say the same things in some new ways. We would not even know how this would happen. It goes beyond mere repackaging of things or mere rhetorical tricks and devices.
When we are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, we would be like being born again and would be acting like the wind, just as Christ described it. “You must be born again,” he said. “The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (Jn 3, 7-8)
It is when we are inspired by the Holy Spirit that we would be driven with love for God and for others and empowered to transcend the limits of our human and earthly powers.
With God’s grace, with love for God and for others, nothing will actually be the same even if materially, physically, socially, things appear to be the same.
We have to do everything to be vitally engaged with God, always asking for his grace and developing our love in accordance to God’s love. That is when we can transcend but not contradict the laws of nature and be swept away by the spiritual laws of God’s grace and love.
For this to happen, we need to pray, to cultivate a recollected and contemplative lifestyle even as we are immersed in the things of the world. We need to discipline our bodily and human powers so they don’t hinder but rather facilitate the way of God who makes all things new. In this way, we can manage to vary the way we do and say things even if we have to repeat them often everyday.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City (firstname.lastname@example.org)/WDJ