By Fr. Roy Cimagala
IN the gospel, there’s a part where Christ lambasted some of the leading Jews for their hypocrisy. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.” (cfr. Mt 23,13-22)
Somehow with those strong words of Christ, we are reminded that we should always have purity of intention in all our actuations. We should be very careful with our intentions. Since they are hidden, we can easily play around with them. We can appear good outside but bad inside. Our deeds may be considered as acts of generosity and compassion, but the intentions may be those of envy, conceit and the like.
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 or 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.
In anything that we do, let’s see to it that our intentions are pure. That is to say, that we have to be motivated always by love for God and neighbor. And by love, we mean that we follow God’s commandments as clearly articulated by Christ himself: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (Jn 14,15)
And the epitome of this obedience to God’s commandments is Christ himself, who said: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 6,38) The secret therefore of love, which is obeying God’s will, is to have the mind and heart of Christ. That is to say, to be ‘another Christ’ which we can always attain because Christ himself has given us all the means.
We should be most careful nowadays because it is now easy to stray from God’s commandments and feel convinced that we are still ok. With our man-made laws that are supposed to reflect the spirit of God’s will and ways but often fail, at least partially if not completely, it is now easy for us to hide and justify such anomalies as greed, pride, vanity, envy, corruption, etc.
If we are not clearly with Christ, there is no way but to succumb to the tricks of the devil who is the father of lies. (cfr. Jn 8,44) He is so clever and manipulative, using every trick in the book and beyond, that if we engage him in a dialogue, we would surely lose.