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Order amid the clutter around

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - January 6, 2021 - 12:00am

It’s often a virtue that is taken for granted. We tend to go through our day guided solely by instincts and what we consider as “what comes naturally.” We tend to think on our feet, which may be effective from time to time, but definitely not all the time. We like to act with spontaneity, regarding following a schedule as being rigid.

We need to realize that this virtue is a necessity for us. There are just so many things to deal with and we have to know their proper priorities. Not everything has the same value. We may be involved in all kinds of aspects of life, but there are priorities. We obviously have to give priority to the spiritual over the material, the supernatural over the natural, prayer over our work, family over our social activities, etc.

With all the rapid pace of the developments and the multiplying number of things grabbing our attention today, we really need to get hold of a stable foundation, something that offers an anchor or at least a rudder to maneuver ourselves with some sense of direction and purpose along the strong and confusing currents that mark our life today.

That is why we cannot overemphasize the need for the virtue of order that would give us the proper priorities that should guide our sense of direction and purpose. We have to concretize that virtue of order by specifying plans, strategies and structures that would make things clear to us as to what is most important and necessary in life, what should come first before anything else.

We have already been warned by Christ that what is most important is that we be saints, that we be as God wants us to be—his image and likeness, sharers of his divine life and nature.

It is often said that when one is very orderly and focused on things, he most likely will fail to consider other things that may be more important. He becomes a rigid, one-track-minded person.

Of course, there is some truth to that observation, especially when the persons concerned precisely are too orderly and too focused that they become compulsively controlling of things and therefore end up blind to other considerations that may objectively be more important than what they are handling at the moment.

Sad to say, we have many cases like this nowadays. This may be due to the increasing complexity and complications of our life and the growing clutter not only of material things but also and especially of moral issues and concerns. As a consequence, many people react in that way as their means to cope with the situation.

But if order and focus are lived properly, they actually favor flexibility and creativity, and they can lead one to be more broad-minded, more objective and more able to tackle what is truly important to us. And the proper way to develop and live order and focus is to inspire them with love for God and others.

When the sense of order and focus is motivated by love of God and others, and empowered by God’s grace, then it can be developed and lived calmly and with greater sensitivity to the objective reality of things in their proper hierarchy as willed by God who knows everything and sets the ultimate standard of things.

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