Never forget our fragility

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

In the Book of Daniel, we are told of a statue whose head was made of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron. All impressive! But its feet were, sadly, part iron and part clay. (cfr 2,32-33)

It took only one small stone to hit its feet to bring the whole statue crumbling down. It's an image of how we are-we can be majestic in many aspects, but we'll always have these feet of clay, our Achilles' heel.

Precisely, our very own strengths and assets, if not inspired properly by the spirit of humility which acknowledges those endowments as God-given gifts to be taken care of and not just ours to be used in any way we want, can be the very source of our perdition.

"Fame can take interesting men and thrust mediocrity upon them." These were words of the late rock superstar Davie Bowie who must have experienced in an intense way the tension between his outstanding talents and his weaknesses. They are a proof of the biblical truth about that impressive statue with feet of clay.

We should always be on guard, distancing ourselves from temptations and occasions of sins, purifying our intentions always so as to ward off unwelcome thoughts and desires, ever developing an authentic spirit of penance to cleanse and strengthen ourselves as we go through the adventure of life.

In this we can never overdo the effort to be most careful and prudent in our thoughts, words and deeds. Every day we need to renew and update our resolutions and strategies to live by this norm, considering that these days especially, we are practically bombarded with all sorts of things that can spoil, depress or desensitize us.

We need to be humble and transparent, especially in our spiritual direction and confession, to have constant recourse to the sacraments, and also to develop a deep devotion to our Lady whose utter simplicity and humility can help us to remain simple and resistant to the allures of the world and the devil.

Let's make use of this wonderful Marian month of May to grow in that devotion and in becoming more and more like our Lady who was given to us by Christ to be our mother. She will truly take care of us, who will understand us always and prod us to continue moving on in spite of our weaknesses and falls.

We have to be good in waging spiritual combats. We are ranged against powerful opponents. As St. Paul said: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph 6,12)

Above all, let's fill ourselves with a continually renewing and cross-driven love for God and neighbor. This is the ultimate way to escape the ever grasping and treacherous clutches of our weaknesses. We have to be more aggressive than defensive in our spiritual combats.

This is, of course, not an exercise in negativism, in being a wet blanket to human interests. Rather, this is prudence and wisdom, the cunning of serpents while having the simplicity of doves that our Lord wants us to have always.

In the use of the modern technologies, for example, let's see to it that our motivation should always be to love, to serve, to help others more than just satisfying our curiosities and whetting our worldly if not carnal appetites.

We need to abide by some concrete norms of prudence, like seeing to it that during our rest in the evening, we fill ourselves with prayers and thoughts of how to help others, rather than still playing with our gadgets, surfing in cyberspace or playing games.

No matter how strong one feels he is, the feet of clay will somehow catch up with him if he does not submit himself to some norms of self-discipline. We can never overemphasize what Christ himself said about the need to deny ourselves and carry the cross if we want to follow Christ.

Otherwise, sooner or later, we will just follow the impulses of our wounded and sinful flesh and the worldly allures. We do not need further proofs to substantiate the inevitability of this possibility.

We should never forget that we are fragile creatures. The more and better endowed we are naturally and spiritually, the more fragile we become, much like those beautiful and fine porcelain set. Yes, we have to be tough also, but with the toughness that comes from God, one bathed in humility and holy fear.


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