Given our notorious tendency to fall into spiritual lukewarmness and complacency, if not coldness, we need to often exert conscious effort to burn with desire and to light up our fire to love God and everybody else. We cannot deny that we often are good only at the beginning of an activity but peter out later on. We need to be guarded against this tendency.
This is actually what is proper and ideal for us. We are meant for this condition of being fervent in our desire as long as it is properly motivated and oriented, and also as long as we use our faculties properly, that is, without abusing and stretching them too much. Yes, a certain restraint and moderation is also needed here. Let’s always give due attention to the limitations of our bodily dimension.
This burning desire should start in our mind and heart, in our spiritual powers before it is manifested in our senses and our bodily parts. Of course, our senses and bodily organs, once properly animated, can also help in sustaining the ardor in our spiritual faculties. Hopefully, we can keep a mutually perpetuating cycle of our bodily and spiritual faculties in the service of desire out of love.
In this, we should be inspired by the example of that woman with haemorrhages who, out of fervent desire, struggled to touch the cloak of Christ despite the thick crowd. (cfr. Mk 5, 21-43), or of Mary Magdalene who, in spite of the difficulties, visited the tomb of Christ in haste. There are actually many characters in the gospel who manifested this burning desire to see Christ in spite of all odds.
We can cite the example of the paralytic who was brought by his friends to see Christ. Since they could not get close to him due to the crowd, they went up to the roof, bore a hole there and lowered the paralytic until he was right before Christ. Christ was so impressed by their burning desire that the healing that was asked was given pronto. (cfr. Mk 2, 1-12)
Or that blind man, Bartimaeus, who in spite of his condition, could not be restrained by those around him as he shouted to get the attention of Christ. Again, Christ was impressed by the fervor of his faith. (cfr. Mk 10, 46-52)
Since in our piety there are things that we do often and regularly, like praying, going to Mass, etc., we need to see to it that our desire to show genuine love for God and others through these acts is maintained. We cannot deny that if we are not careful, we can easily fall into routine, and before we know it, we can appear to be more dead than alive when doing these acts of piety.
What can help is to repeat many times during the day many small acts of faith, hope and charity, in the form of spontaneous aspirations and ejaculatory prayers. They can serve as little twigs to maintain the waning embers of our piety if not to fan that dying piety into a bursting fire.
Of particular interest is our desire to receive Christ in communion, which practically constitutes the summit of our love for him here on earth. We can formulate some acts of spiritual communion to keep that desire burning and to prepare us adequately to receive him in actual communion.
We really need to be always in this state of burning desire in spite of the condition of our body. As said earlier, it is first of all a matter of exercising our spiritual faculties to ask for the grace of fervent love. Let us hope that we know how to do this. We can only expect many good things that can come from this, in spite of the varying conditions and situations in our life, many of them, quite adverse to our spiritual health.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City (email@example.com)./WDJ