By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THE season of Advent, which this year starts on November 27, marks another beginning of the liturgical year or the Church year. The immediate thought that comes to mind in this transition of the old and new liturgical years is that while we should have the mind of ending well and also beginning well, we should neither forget that this cycle of life is meant to catapult us to the eternal life where there will be no more changes of seasons and shifts of days and nights.
We have to understand then that the season of Advent implies that we have to learn how to begin again very well. What is presumed is that we have a global picture of our life.
We ought to know the different constitutive elements of our life here on earth as well as their relations among each other. We have to distinguish as well as relate the different dimensions of our life, like the material and the spiritual, the temporal and the eternal, the natural and the supernatural, the mundane and the sacred, the theory and the praxis, piety and morals, work and prayer, etc.
In this regard, we have to learn how to be properly focused amid the many distractions we have today. At the moment, we can see a disturbing development involving many people, especially the young. A big segment of the people is getting addicted to games and the many other novelties played out in the Internet and in the new technologies.
They are now more self-centered and self-absorbed, prone to idleness, laziness and comfort and pleasure seeking. God and their relationship to others are all but blotted out of their consciousness.
In this regard, we have to be most careful in handling our intentions. They play a strategic role in our life, for how and where we direct them would determine whether we want to be with God and simply with our own selves.
Our intentions express who and where in the end we want to be. Do we choose God, or do we simply choose ourselves, or the world in general? It’s actually a choice between good and evil.
Even if we are not aware, or refuse to be aware, of this choice, which is usually the case, the choice between God and us, between good and evil is always made with every human act we do.
We need to realize then that we have to take utmost care of our intention, making it as explicit as possible, and honing it to get engaged with its proper and ultimate object who is God.
We should try our best to shun being simply casual or cavalier about this responsibility. We can easily play around with it, since intentions are almost invariably hidden from public knowledge. We are urged to be most sincere in directing our intentions properly.
We can easily fall into hypocrisy and deception, doing what can appear good externally but is not internally, since we could refuse giving glory to God, which is the proper intention to have, and instead feed and stir our vanity, pride, greed, lust, etc.
Our intentions can and should only have at their core the love of God, the giving glory to God. As St. Paul once indicated, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10,31) That’s how our acts become good, or moral. Otherwise, they are bad, or at least dangerous.