'Without you'

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

Many love songs today are entitled or at least have in their lyrics the phrase, 'Without you.' They paint dark pictures of sadness, emptiness, meaninglessness, etc., when the lover would miss or even lose his beloved.

 They are filled with burning emotions or gnawing sorrow that can swing the lover either to hope or to depression, not to mention the wild and violent reactions that some songs also express.

They obviously have to be taken with a grain of salt. They drip more with sentiments than with reason. Exaggerations abound, objectivity and balance go AWOL. But not everything is lost.

These love songs articulate the language of the heart, the seat of our basic humanity. As such they can be useful even to do our prayer, as long as they are purified and elevated to another level.

When I, for example, am too tired to think when doing my prayer or would just want to try something different, I resort to the love songs which with their soothing melody and prepared lyrics facilitate the meditation and can make the mind and heart, the memory and the imagination to soar and fly.

 That's when I meet the phrase 'Without you' frequently. I use it to imagine how life would be without God. And so, instead of saying, 'without you, babe,' I say, 'without you, God.' And all kinds of thoughts and scenarios come to mind.

Without God, we would be left to our own devices. They might be powerful, but we also would know that they can only go so far and cannot fully cope with all the challenges in life. Failure, as in death, will just be a matter of time. Nothing positive would be derived from it.

 Without God, we would make our own selves as our own god.

Or we can craft a god according to our own designs. This is when we start to build our own world, our own reality. We get locked in by our own subjectivism, cocooned in our own fantasy.

 Our capacity to think, judge and reason out properly would be compromised. It would be easy for us to fall into sophistries, rash judgments, biases and unfair estimations of things.

Without God, we could not help but plunge into fears, doubts and despair as sooner or later the powers at our hands start to fail to contend with the objective realities of life. We would not have any reason to hope, nor to see brighter possibilities beyond our failures.

We would be helpless in the face of temptations and our weaknesses. To resist or to tackle them, we would simply be left, as our defenses, with our own bodily constitution, or some medical, psychological, or social means that can only do so much.

That's why we can easily fall into lust, greed, envy, sloth, gluttony, anger, etc. We would be at the mercy of our hormones and the erratic play of many conditionings, be they social, cultural, political, etc.

And whatever success or advantage we enjoy in life can easily occasion pride, arrogance, vanity and conceit. Without God, we would not know the relation between humility and greatness, between sacrifice and redemption in the intoxicating air of our good fortune.

Without God, we cannot help but be prone to cheat and to play games with our own selves and with others. We can resort to all kinds of rationalizations and false reasoning, all the way to the ridiculous, to justify our actuations or to cover up our own anomalies.

If all these things can happen in our personal lives, you can just imagine what would happen in our collective life as a society, as a country, as a church community. Without God, there would be a lot of envies, jealousies, conflicts, wars.

Our politics would be endlessly marred by bitter partisanship and lust for power. Governance would be full of deceit and corruption. Business can hardly go beyond working simply for profit and would practically forget the common good.

Media would be hard put to resist the temptation of sensationalism. Sports would play the game of domination at all costs.

The entertainment and celebrity world can only dance to the tune of frivolity and inanity.

We need God more than we need air. This is something that we have to learn well. Our need for God is not like our need for air which is something instinctive. It requires grace which is actually given in abundance. But it also requires our correspondence.

Our behavior should be more theological than biological, ruled more by faith than by hormones, etc.


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