By: Fr. Roy Cimagala
That’s how we should handle ourselves. Let’s remember that, as St. Paul said, we have a treasure in vessels of clay. (2 Cor 4,7) And that’s because our dignity is that of being children of God, image and likeness of His, meant to share in the very life of God. Together with that of the angels, ours is the most sublime dignity, in the whole creation of God.
But we need to follow the logic of St. Paul to know how our attitude should be toward this tremendous but most delicate truth about ourselves. He said that the treasure that we carry in vessels of clay is meant to show that the “all-surpassing power” inherent in that treasure, in that dignity of ours, “is from God and not from us.”
We should always remember this truth of our faith and realize ever more deeply that to handle such great treasure in such delicate bearer as we are, we need always to be with God, and never without him, not even for a short while.
We always have to acknowledge our inadequacy no matter how conscious we are of the rich and powerful endowments in terms of intelligence, wealth, power, etc. that we may be enjoying. And let’s make that awareness of our inadequacy a reason to always be with God.
We should always feel the need for God, especially when we feel that we are quite gifted. That’s because we tend to distance ourselves from God and feel that we can be without him once we enjoy certain advantages that others do not have.
Let’s remember that our earthly status, as aptly described in the Book of Daniel, is compared to a huge statue that is richly endowed—with the head made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, but its feet are partly iron and partly clay. It only took a small pebble to hit it for it to crumble down into a big mess. (cfr. 2,31-35)
Yes, we all have the Achilles heel. And the only way to handle that condition properly is to be with God who actually is always with us, attending to us with abiding solicitude. Our problem is that while God is always with us, we many times are not with him, as St. Augustine once affirmed.
We seem to be so occupied with our own things that we fail to feel our need for God. In this regard, again St. Augustine said: “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.”
Whenever we feel the first stirring of a temptation that can come from the weakness of our flesh or from the dangerous allurements of the world or the wiles of the devil, the first thing we have to do is to go to God immediately. Perhaps, even before that, we need to humble ourselves so that we can feel the need to go to God.
It’s only God who can handle things properly. All we have to do is just to be with him, cooperating with his will and ways in the best way we can. If only we can conquer ourselves to let God do things for and with us, we can manage to handle ourselves well. No amount of difficulty can overcome us. Even the victory and sting of death is removed. (cfr. 1 Cor 15,55)
When we fail to get to God, the only possible thing to happen is to fall into sin and from there to complicate things further. This is what is happening now when what are clearly bad things even in purely human terms, like abortion and same-sex marriage, are now rationalized and legalized.
We would fall into the false sense of security and welfare offered by our God-deprived ideas of what is good and fair for us.