Let's be properly occupied
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - April 30, 2020 - 12:00am

With all this restricted life we are having these days, let’s see to it that we are properly occupied. Let us, of course, avoid idleness, but even if we fill ourselves with activities, let’s see to it that we are properly occupied.

The most important thing to remember is that whatever we are doing should be done with love for God and for others. This, we can say, is what can be considered as the subjective requirement of how we ought to occupy ourselves properly these days.

Without this requirement, our activities would be practically worthless and can even pose as a danger, even if these activities appear to be impressive in human terms. But with it, even our smallest and most hidden act of service would acquire tremendous value for all of us. Let’s do all we can to see to it that it is love that inspires and moves us to do whatever we may be doing.

Obviously, this subjective requirement of how to be properly occupied has its objective counterpart. And this means that we have to have the proper sense of priority over the many options we can have in spending our time during these stay-home dispensation. In the end, things depend on what in our conscience God is telling us to do.

We just cannot do anything to fill up our time. Of course, we have already said that as long as there is love, anything can be pleasing to God. But again, we can also say that if there is real love, we also would have a keen sense of order as to which activity has greater importance over another. We would not just be doing things simply for the sake of doing.

In other words, in choosing the things to do out of love, there has to be a certain order of priority. That’s because not everything has the same value. Obviously, the things that relate directly to God and others have priority over the things that simply are related to our own legitimate personal interests.

Thus, spiritual activities and the acts of piety have priority over our mundane and secular activities. Also, those activities that have more impact on others have priority over those that simply benefit us more.

It’s important that we plan our day well so that we can really say that we are occupying ourselves properly. We should not just be whiling away our time by filling ourselves with all sorts of random activities that simply do not reflect true love for God and for others.

In this, of course, we have to expect things that may not be to our liking. This is when we can show the genuineness of our love as motive for doing things. This is where we can live out those words of Christ: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Mt 16,24)

We can project the same drama Christ underwent in his passion, especially during his agony in the garden when he “bargained” with his Father by saying, “Father, if it is your will, let this cup pass by me, but not my will but yours be done.” (Mt 26,39)

So you see, we don’t need extraordinary situations to live out the passion of Christ. We can practically do it while cooking, doing laundry, cleaning house, doing repairs, etc., as long as we do them with love and with the proper sense of priority and spirit of sacrifice.

Let’s take advantage of our stay-home time to cultivate, polish if not perfect the way we can occupy our time properly. This present dispensation can serve as a basic school to train ourselves in that department.

Part of this art of occupying ourselves properly is the development of skills of resilience and quick adaptation, since there will always be surprises and plans may have to be modified and revised as we go along.

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