In anything that we do, let’s see to it that our intentions are pure. That is to say, that we have to be motivated always by love for God and neighbor. And by love, we mean that we follow God’s commandments as clearly articulated by Christ himself: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (Jn 14, 15)
And the epitome of this obedience to God’s commandments is Christ himself, who said: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 6, 38) The secret therefore of love, which is obeying God’s will, is to have the mind and heart of Christ. That is to say, to be ‘another Christ’ which we can always attain because Christ himself has given us all the means.
We should be most careful nowadays because it is now easy to stray from God’s commandments and feel convinced that we are still ok. With our man-made laws that are supposed to reflect the spirit of God’s will and ways but often fail, at least partially if not completely, it is now easy for us to hide and justify such anomalies as greed, pride, vanity, envy, corruption, etc.
We can be so self-deluded that we would not know anymore that we are already going against common sense and the barest of delicadeza.
For this self-delusion to take place, all that is needed is a clever and manipulative mind, often using the sophistry of the devil himself. Let’s remember that in tempting Christ, the devil even cited Scriptural passages to justify his temptations. (cfr. Mt 4, 1-11) But Christ corrected him by giving him the proper interpretation and context of those passages.
If we are not clearly with Christ, there is no way but to succumb to the tricks of the devil who is the father of lies. (cfr. Jn 8, 44) He is so clever and manipulative, using every trick in the book and beyond, that if we engage him in a dialogue, we would surely lose.
At least this is also what Pope Francis warned us about a few months ago. He said that the devil is like a dying crocodile, who hunters advise not to approach because it can still strike you with its tail. He is dangerous and his proposals are all lies.
The Pope also said that the devil knows how to seduce us in our vanity and curiosity. The devil can use lofty words that would promise us things like pleasure, comfort, convenience, profit, practicality, popularity and the like. Where our weakness is, that’s where he attacks.
We should never separate ourselves from Christ. For this, we should follow what St. Paul advised, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes 5, 16-18)
This praying without ceasing can always be done. All that is needed is to exercise our faith. It is to live our faith which can go beyond words. It is a matter of attitude that is first of all a spirit before it is shown in words and deeds.
We should not worry about the practicability of prayer. We already have been given the different forms of prayer — vocal, liturgical, mental, meditative, contemplative, etc. We have enough doctrine of our faith that would so enable us to have a good picture of God as to develop an intimate relationship with him. We have the sacraments that make Christ present and the merits of his redemptive work applied to us.
We have the precious legacies of saints and the living testimonies of many holy men and women even at present to edify and inspire us. There’s no excuse that we cannot be with Christ and have his mind and heart so that we can always have purity of intentions in all our actions.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City (firstname.lastname@example.org)/WDJ