By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THAT gospel story of Christ attracting people wherever he went, always asking for favors and miracles, (cfr. Mk 6,53-56) should remind us that we all need to hunger for God always. We have to strongly counter the tendency to be attracted only to worldly things.
For this, we need to train ourselves to be guided always by our faith, rather than putting ourselves at the mercy of worldly forces that, while containing some good, can actually deaden our need for God. If we take our faith for granted as we immerse in the things of this world, there is no way but to be swept away by them and to get lost.
In this regard, we cannot overemphasize that need for us to spend time truly praying, truly getting in contact with God, because that’s the only way such hunger for God is maintained and nourished. Especially nowadays when we are living in a very secularized world, this need for prayer and contemplation is a must. It should be that we feel the need for God more than our need for air, food and water.
For this, we first of all should ask for God’s grace which is actually given to us in abundance. And from there, let’s go through some systematic plan of life that will nourish and strengthen our constant and intimate relationship with God, a relationship that should involve our entire self—body and soul, feelings, emotions and passions down to our very instincts, as well as our mind and heart.
It should be a plan that should obviously include prayer in all its forms—vocal, liturgical, ejaculatory, mental, contemplative, etc. Our life of prayer should be such that even when we are immersed in the things of the world due to our work and our temporal duties, we would still be aware of God’s presence, and it is doing God’s will that should always motivate us.
The plan definitely should include practices that will foster our spirit of sacrifice, penance and purification, given the obvious fact that no matter how much we try to be good, we would always be hounded by our weaknesses and the temptations around, and the possibility of falling into sin is high. This spirit of sacrifice would help us discipline ourselves in order to rally all our faculties for the service of God and of everybody else.
The plan should include a daily effort of ascetical struggle where, aside from fighting evil, we should aim at growing in our love for God and others, by developing the virtues as well as always strengthening them. It should help us to develop a growing concern for the others, doing personal apostolate wherever we are and whatever the occasion and circumstance may be.
We have to realize that based on the story of the sisters, Martha and Mary, (cfr. Lk 10,48-52) the one thing necessary in life is prayer, no matter how many and urgent our other concerns are during the day.
The immediate basis for this truth is what Christ himself said: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Mt 16,26) That’s because prayer is like the breathing and the heartbeat of our spiritual organism, of our soul. Just as we continue to breathe and just as our heart continues to beat even while we are unconscious in our sleep, so should our prayer be.