Dealing with routine

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

FALLING into routine, which is another name for spiritual lukewarmness, is a common occurrence that we should know how to handle. It cannot be denied that there are certain things that we do day in and day out. Yes, falling into a routine is a constant threat to us. If we are not careful or, worse, we do nothing about it, it would just be a matter of time when we would become spiritually numb and dead.

As much as possible we should not allow our routinary tasks to muffle our enthusiasm and love for God and others. The challenge is how to keep ourselves burning with love in spite of our routinary tasks. In fact, if we are clever enough like the serpent that Christ talked about, (cfr. Mt 10,16) we can even make use of these routinary tasks as a way to nourish our love for God and others.

For this, we have to see to it that we are always activating our faith, hope and charity by making frequent acts of faith, hope and charity in spite of the lack of gusto for them. Much like everything else in our life, there are things that we should just do even if do not feel like doing them simply because they are necessary to us. These frequent acts of faith, hope and charity can do a lot of wonders and can fan into a flame our waning enthusiasm and love for God and others.

These theological virtues, these God-given gifts are the ones that enable us to live our life in a way that is full of love, the love that comes from God himself. It’s a love that always renews itself, not allowing itself to get accustomed, much less, bored by what we do every day.

As the Catechism would put it, these theological virtues “bestow on one the capacity to live in a relationship with the Trinity. They are the foundation and the energizing force of the Christian’s moral activity and they give life to the human virtues.” (CCC 384)

With this love that the theological virtues impart on us, everything will always strike us as something new. With it, the prose of every day is somehow converted into beautiful verses that are engaging to both the body and the soul, the heart and the mind.

With this love, we can manage to see the beauty and find meaning in everything, even in things, events and situations that humanly speaking are not pleasant. With it, we can manage to escape from the shallow and narrow appreciation that our senses and our human understanding can achieve things in general. It lets us go to the deeper and higher levels of reality.

This love enables us to relate the material to the spiritual, the mundane to the sacred, the temporal to the eternal, the natural to supernatural. It connects us and everything else to God, the source of all good things.

Obviously, while these theological virtues are divine gratuitous gifts to us, we also have to do our part to take care of them well, otherwise, they would have no effect on us. Thus, we need to develop the corresponding human virtues which the theological virtues are meant to animate. We can never overemphasize this point.

It is also helpful that we try to train our emotions to discern and appreciate the spiritual and supernatural aspects of ordinary life, of the routinary tasks. In this way, we can better live a consistent unity of life where the body and the soul, the heart and the mind, the feelings and the convictions are integrated, and are friendly and helpful to each other rather than being at war.

The proper formation for this purpose should be done at all levels—from the family to parishes to schools and offices, etc.

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