By: Fr. Roy Cimagala
OF course, we have to use all the means to be effective. Like, we need to be clear with our goals to reach, the relevant resources we need, the time-frame in which we work, etc. But let us realize that all these are more to assure us of being efficient than of being effective. Efficiency is not necessarily effectiveness. We can be efficient without being effective.
Effectiveness is mainly about reaching our real goal, our ultimate end. It is not about attaining some secondary goals that admittedly are also important, since without them we cannot reach our ultimate goal. We may be successful in reaching our secondary goals, but if we miss the principal one, we actually have failed. Sad to say, this is a common phenomenon nowadays.
We need to realize that our ultimate goal is to be with God, to conform ourselves as fully as we can to God’s will and ways. And this is because we come from him and we belong to him. We are still being created and redeemed by God. We have to be most aware of this fundamental truth about ourselves.
And all this is more a matter of the spiritual dimension of our life more than of the material and the external aspects of our life which, of course, are also very important. As Christ said, “What does it a profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul.” (Mk 8,36) We need to realize more deeply that everything that we do should begin and end with God. Otherwise, we would be making our own world.
So, it should be a constant question we ask ourselves: “Is what I am doing now what God wants me to do, in the manner God wants it? Or am I just doing my own will, or worse, considering my will to be God’s will?”
The immediate corollary of this realization is that we need to be truly united with God. And this is always possible as long as we live a life of prayer. It is prayer with all its complement, like the recourse to the sacraments, assimilating the doctrine of our faith, the willingness to make sacrifices and to grow in the virtues, etc., that assures us of this union with God.
It’s in our prayer that we become keenly and promptly aware of what God wants of us in any given moment, without getting lost in the generics of what is true, good and beautiful, something that usually happens. We may be doing a lot of good things, but not what God wants us to do. The real good, amid the many choices of good things, is simply what God wants us to do.
Our prayer should be genuine, intimate and abiding contact with God. And we should know how to convert everything into prayer, always relating ourselves and things to him and always trying to see him and his designs in every event and situation in our life. God’s providence is constant and universal. It does not stop even if we mess up things.
Thus, prayer is not just about saying vocal prayers and making novenas and other special acts. It is more a matter of awareness, of attitude, of lifting our mind and heart to God in a stable manner. It lends itself to endless ways, forms and manners. We can even pray when we are asleep. In short, prayer is very much doable.
It’s when we pray and truly become united with God when we can echo Christ’s words: “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 6,38) These words should be like the motto of our whole life. They truly make us effective!