Test of the heart
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - May 18, 2020 - 12:00am

A meme that entertained people in social media for a time says, “Two things will define you. Your patience/determination when you have nothing. And your attitude when you have everything.”

Though I mostly take memes with a grain salt, I cannot deny they also contain some grains of truth that are helpful and insightful. We just cannot dismiss them entirely. And this one is especially relevant these days, when with all this stay-home dispensation, we all of a sudden find ourselves with a lot of time.

While before, we seem to be always running out of time, often testing our patience and stretching our determination to the limit, now we are having a surfeit of it. Many of us are now wondering what we can do with so much time in our hands.

Would we just luxuriate in doing nothing, lazing around, going into all sorts of inanities just to fill up the time, or do we still find ways to occupy ourselves fruitfully and, more importantly, with love?

This abundance of time during these days can bring to the surface where our heart truly tilts. Does it tilt towards God or does it simply tilt towards ourselves and everything else in this world? Does it still throb with love, filling us with drive and creativity, or is it quite empty, prone to brooding and boredom?

We cannot deny that human as we are, we all have our own share of weaknesses that can disturb us precisely when we have so much time in our hands. We have to do something about it. In fact, we have to do something drastic.

It may even require that we do some emergency measures to keep our heart throbbing with love. And the secret again is for us to pray. That’s because when we pray, it is presumed that we humble ourselves to acknowledge that we are nothing without God. Therefore, when we pray we affirm that we need God which is the most objective need of our human condition in this life.

The problem we often are beset with is that we ignore God, especially in moments when there seems to be no immediate danger and we appear to be enjoying ourselves in a very relaxed mode. We have to overcome this deadly tendency.

It’s only with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit that we can manage to be truly in love. God is love himself. Without him, we are left without love. And without love, we would just end up bumming around, doing things aimlessly, even if we appear to be busy with something.

Indeed the excess of time we are having these days is a good test to determine where our heart tilts and of what and whom it throbs for. It’s this love that knows how to find ways of expressing itself to be productive and fruitful even when we appear to have a lot of time in our hands due to unavoidable circumstances.

True love that comes from God always throbs whether we are in good times or in bad. It knows how to unify what may seem to be different and even conflicting elements in our life. It has a proper sense of order, direction, and focus.

Let’s see if this is the kind of love that beats in our hearts these days. We have to be wary of our tendency to muffle this kind of love to give way to many other forms of love that actually are fake. These latter forms cannot pass the test of time, let alone life’s many trials.

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