OPINIONS / COLUMNS (September 15– September 21, 2008)
Our spiritual life needs care
(The following is an article written by Fr. Roy Cimagala—Ed)
WE have to be more aware of our spiritual life, and even more so with respect to our abiding responsibilities toward it.
Our problem is that we tend to take it for granted, attending to it only on certain special occasions. And this latter we do more for show than for truly living and developing it. We need to improve our grade in this area.
Though many are now questioning it, the existence of our spiritual life cannot be doubted. Our Lord himself told his sleepy disciples during his agony in the garden: “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt 26,41)
And even without getting very scholarly, we all know that there’s something spiritual in us because we can do spiritual operations. We think, we choose and love, we reason, discover things and an endless etcetera of acts that can be abstracted from our material dimension.
A philosophical principle, formulated more through common sense than through labored thinking, tells us that “Operare sequitur esse” (operation follows being). A thing acts according to what and how it is. Applied to this case, if we can do spiritual operations, it’s because there’s something spiritual in us.
To repeat, we have to be more aware of our spiritual life. We need to go past the awareness of only our physical, psychological, intellectual, social conditions, etc. If we need to take care of these aspects, we need much more to take care of our spiritual life.
This is because our spirit is actually our principle of life, unity and direction. It’s not food, air, water, etc. that give us life and sustain us in it. These too are necessary, but only insofar as our physical organism and natural life are concerned. The body without the soul cannot live, is helpless and clueless.
It is our spirit that brings us to look endlessly for the truth and for happiness. Our body simply enjoys them, but does not look for them. It’s our spirit, through its faculties, the intelligence and will, that looks for them.
Pertinent to this point, the Compendium of Social Doctrine teaches: “Through his spirituality man moves beyond the realm of mere things and plunges into the innermost structure of reality.” (128)
Our spirit has the natural tropism for this. Thus, this tendency has to be reinforced always, seeing to it that it does not get frustrated by getting entangled with merely material things and external impressions, nor even earthly truths and goods.
Samples of the merely material things are when we allow ourselves to be dominated by our senses, by our feelings and emotions. Sad to say, many do not anymore distinguish between what is emotion and what is intelligence.
Samples of earthly truths and goods are the worldly elemental forces involved in “feng shui”, geomancy, divination and horoscope. Or the sophisticated, esoteric knowledge derived from the human sciences and arts. Our spirit goes beyond these.
Ergo, while it can be assisted by our senses and faculties, our spirit should not be allowed to be dominated by them. It has to soar toward its infinite possibilities, toward the purely spiritual world.
We should try not to interrupt this process or course. Rather we should foster it. Thus, we need to adapt the appropriate attitudes and acquire the relevant skills. We need to learn the art of praying, of meditating and contemplating. These are the best acts of our spirit.
Ultimately, it is our spirit, with the help of grace, that allows us to be elevated to the supernatural order, to a sharing in the life of God. This is our spirit’s proper and ultimate object.
In this respect, the spirit has to be freed from the
clutches of the flesh.
With our praying, meditating and contemplating, we hope to deepen our faith, hope and charity, our wisdom, understanding and knowledge, that will enable us to achieve communion with God while on earth, and with everybody else.
This is the beauty of taking care of our spiritual life.
Ilocos Times copyright 2008
Opinions / Columns