How do we trend Christ?

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

I don't think it's an irrelevant or irreverent question to ask. Given the temper of the times, I believe it's a question that needs to be asked, though some qualifications also have to be made.

While things related to our faith and piety have a distinctive spiritual, if not sacred, character that should be respected and not trivialized, it doesn't mean that they cannot and should not be applied to the developments and realities of the mundane world.

It's precisely in the secular spheres of our life-our business and politics, our arts, sciences and technologies, our sports and fashions, etc.-where the doctrine of our faith and Christ himself are most needed.

This is simply to have some unity of life, some consistency in our life, avoiding a divisiveness in our life while respecting the legitimate distinctions of the different parts and aspects of our life. There has to be some consistency between the material and spiritual dimensions of our life, the temporal and eternal, the mundane and the sacred.

And this consistency can only be built on our vital link with God who is our Creator and Father, who knows everything about us. He has revealed himself completely to us in Christ, the Son who became man who continues to be made present in us through the Holy Spirit.

I remember St. John Paul II at the beginning of his pontificate begging that we open the gates of our human temporal affairs like business and politics to Christ. "Be not afraid," he said. "Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development...Be not afraid!"

We need to realize more deeply that Christ would not be out of place in these areas of our life. In fact, he is most needed there. In the first place, he wants to be there, to purify, humanize and sanctify them. That's why the Son of God became man-that he may be with us to bring us back to God.

For sure, we should not treat Christ as some kind of superhero in the mould of Superman or Batman or a Jedi or some famous celebrities in the political, entertainment or sports fields.

Let's remember that when people wanted to carry him on their shoulders to make him their human king, he escaped. "I do not receive glory from men," he said. (Jn 5,41) And this should also be our attitude. We need to avoid human self-glorification. All the saints, starting with Our Lady, fled from human glorification.

But we need to make Christ known to as many people as possible. In fact, that was the mandate he gave to his apostles before we went up to heaven: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Mt 28,19)

In the context of today's world, we should also make use of the new technologies to carry out this divine mandate, doing it with rectitude of intention and due prudence, always following the example of Christ.

Since there is already a sizable portion of the world's population who are now called netizens, Christ should be made present there. This is where some "trending" of Christ can be made, creating all sorts of networks and spreading things about them through blogs, postings, social media, hashtags, etc.

We need to overcome the initial awkwardness involved in this effort. And there is always a learning curve that everyone has to go through, and the mistakes and missteps that can happen along the way should not stop us but rather humble and encourage us to go further.

These possible mistakes and missteps are actually excellent learning moments for us and good occasion to deepen our humility, and thus grow in virtues like order, and ultimately in sanctity. Yes, we can talk in these terms in this field that is so rich of apostolic possibilities.

We obviously need to have a certain discipline so that our intentions are always made pure, our timing, use of words, selection of topics, etc., are prudent and effective. This field is full of temptations and distractions that we need to master, and so we have to learn well the skills of spiritual struggle.

We have to learn to adapt to the different mentalities of people without losing our true identity as children of God who want to be faithful and fruitful. Let's hope that one way or another, we can manage to trend Christ in the proper way for the good of all!

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