A worshipping life

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

We have to be rescued from the hostaged idea, now made a dominant world culture, that worship is strictly an intimate, private matter between a person and his God, or that it is an optional thing.

And if it happens to have some external manifestations, then the mainstream view is that it should largely be confined and restricted to Church or temple services, expressed in formulaic prayers, chants, rituals, incense, kneeling and bowing, etc.

That is wrong. While it is true that worship involves these things due to its liturgical nature, we should also realize that it actually is first of all an attitude arising from an indisputable universal need of man

As creature of God, man needs to give worship to God his Creator and Father. That is to say, since he has been made in God's image and likeness, and elevated to be a child of his, he cannot but unite his life with the life of God. This happens through grace that needs the cooperation of man.

Worship expresses our irrenunciable need for God and defines how our relationship with him should be. We are nothing without him. God is everything to us. We just cannot marginalize him in our life, let alone ignore and deny him. As such, worship has to characterize all our life, all of life's aspects, in fact, all its moments.

Therefore, our life, even if spent most of the time in the unavoidable mundane affairs of man, has to be a life of worship. We need to learn how to link everything in our life-our work, concerns, ambitions, joys and sorrows, our projects and all circumstances of our life-to the dynamism of our need to worship God.

Our problem is that we have divided our life at least into two--one part for God and the other part for us, and for us alone. This flies in the face of the fundamental truth that our life, though having many aspects and developing in several stages, is only one. That unity should always be protected, reinforced and defended.

Because of this unfortunate division, we can not avoid fragmenting our life further, such that we not only end up alienating ourselves from God, which is quite obvious, but also alienating ourselves from our own selves, a more subtle consequence.

We lose the taste for God. We tend to think only of ourselves and to distance ourselves from the others. In the end, we worship ourselves instead of God, which is an absurd situation.

We have to develop a lifestyle of worship, such that whatever we are doing, whether we are working or playing, etc., we do everything with God as the beginning, the end and the means. We should sharpen our awareness that everything is done because of God.

We have to find fresh reasons for this, so that we can always feel the urge to worship God through the very things we do, no matter how mundane or secular they are. God is always there. He waits for us there. He wants us to deal with these things with him and for him.

Scripture is full of references to this truth. "Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10,31) And again, "Let no man glory in men…for all things are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." (1 Cor 3,20)

The task at hand is how to acquire and develop this awareness of our duty to give everything, or at least to relate everything to God. This effort will not be a drag to our human activities.

It will rather orient and track all our activities properly, so that they really reach their proper goal and possess the proper character, instead of just drifting anywhere.

We have to realize that God is everywhere, and as a Father and our Creator, he always intervenes in our life, full of love and concern. There's actually no moment when he is not with us, because even in our state of sin, he will always look at us with great concern and unleash his plan of recovering us.

God is never indifferent to us, whatever state and circumstance we may find ourselves in. Thus, we should learn to enter into an abiding relationship with him. What we can always do is to praise him, to thank him for everything, to ask for forgiveness for our faults and sins that we cannot seem to avoid, and to ask for help always.

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