By Fr. Roy Cimagala
EVERYONE KNOWS that in life, one has to learn how to shift gears. We, more or less, have what we consider as our normal life speed and rhythm. But we also realize there are times we need to go faster, and times to go slower.
A variation to this is our need also to know when to get hot and when to get cold, when to act and move and when to study and reflect. As the Book of Ecclesiastes expresses it beautifully:
“All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die…” (3,1-2)
I just wish to reiterate and enlarge on what it says about “all things pass under heaven.
To my mind, what it implies is that we should to get in touch with heaven, with God, that is, to pray always no matter what, so as to get the proper sense of timing for the different things that come our way and that we do.
This practice, which should develop into a skill and a permanent operative feature in life, is urgently needed these days as we can’t help but be dragged into the accelerating and dizzying pace of development.
Even our most indifferent, asocial bystander of our times is easily sucked into this whoosh of developments. And often with disastrous results, precisely because they don’t know for the most part what is happening. He just rides… for a fall.
We need to know when to go fast and when to go slow, when to get close and hot, and when to be distant to get a bigger view. For this, we need to pray to be able to connect the dots and get a better perspective.
With prayer we can get immersed in things, and yet transcend them, not imprisoned by them. When we pray, we can distinguish between the absolute and the relative values of things.
Prayer enhances, not restrains, our analyzing and synthesizing powers, affording us greater depth and scope. It enables us to conform our earthly affairs to our eternal destiny.
In this regard, we have to be wary of tendencies, specially pronounced in certain sectors, to badger us to act on instincts alone, if not on passions and anger. Prudence, reason, faith, patience and mercy take the back seat, if they get the chance at all.
When hot issues erupt in public, usually emanating from the world of politics and eagerly amplified in the media, we have to be very cautious. Our experience should abundantly teach us that outrage is hardly a reliable force to lead us to real progress.
Radical and lasting changes in our society don’t come in an instant, through things like “People Power”, coups, exposes, illegal changes of administration… Who are we kidding? Let’s stop playing naïve.
Genuine changes and transformations have to correspond to our true nature as a human person and to our dignity as a child of God. They cannot take place when that nature and dignity is sidelined to give way to so-called ideological and social imperatives of the moment.
When name-calling, coercion to extract the truth some like to hear, sweeping and reckless denunciations, out-of-the-legal tactics and other savage barbarities are resorted to, we should be alerted to be more discerning in prayer.
Remember Pilate asking Christ what truth is? He had the truth right before him, and that truth just kept quiet. When we don’t pray, we will miss the truth, or detach truth from charity. We become prone to mob mentality.
Evil forces and malicious designs have a clever way to look good, legit and popular. We have to be sober to sift things well. Let’s pray for our politicians, media people and all of us, so we avoid playing into the devil’s hands.
The road to development and progress is long, winding and narrow. The gate to perdition is wide, easy and enticing. Remember what our Lord said:
“Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life…” (Mt 7:13-14)