reflectionsBy: Fr. Roy Cimagala
If we are really good citizens of our country, truly concerned about how things are, then we should be good activists pursuing advocacies that can make authentic improvements in the different fields of our social and political life.
We cannot deny that there are serious issues and problems besetting our collective life and we shouldn’t be indifferent to them. We have to feel the responsibility of doing something about them, since we, as persons and children of God, are meant to be responsible for one another and for the whole society in general.
We should just find a practicable way how we can be good activists without compromising our basic personal necessities, especially in the moral and spiritual aspects. We have to observe the proper priorities, although it cannot be denied that sacrifices cannot be avoided.
To be an activist means we have reached a certain level of maturity and have formed a personality and character that now covers a scope of concerns wider than just the purely personal and individual.
In practically all aspects of our life, we need activists. From the most material and physical aspects, to the personal, social, political, etc., there are serious matters that need to be improved.
We may focus on physical cleanliness in our environment only, but that would already be a good and worthwhile effort. But I am sure there are many other issues regarding the environment that need to be tackled.
To me, the advocacies with fundamental importance would be those related to the protection of life, basic human rights, family, education, moral and spiritual ecology.
These advocacies can be pursued individually or by groups. But these should be inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, not just motivated by some certain sense of social or political concern, because unless clearly inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, these advocacies will most likely turn into something where lack of charity and the dominance of biases and prejudices prevail.
We have to be careful not to be activists simply obsessed with something, no matter how legitimate in itself. That can only lead us to bitter zeal, if not violence.
A good activist will always be respectful to everyone and will pursue his cause with great delicacy to the people’s different views and conditions. The forcefulness of his advocacy will never compromise anyone’s freedom, but come as a result of the clarity and fairness of his views and actions.
A good activist is willing to suffer anything and isn’t scandalized by any wrong thing that can happen along the way. He refrains from making rash judgments and finding faults in others. He’s willing to listen to everyone, including those with different ideas.
Amid differences and conflicts, he knows how to find common ground with everyone, always listening to everyone and open to dialogue. At times he may have to give in without giving up over something that may pose as an obstacle for moving on with the advocacies. If it is something essential, he may have to be patient in waiting for the proper time to recover what was unfairly lost.
He would know how to behave properly in both those times when things are favorable to him and to his group and when they are not. He is always game and sport, not allowing setbacks, disappointments, and frustrations to discourage him.
He is also quick to learn from the others, knowing that he doesn’t have an exclusive claim of what is right and fair. He is very welcoming to others and knows how to adapt to every one according to the way they are.