Dealing with unavoidable treachery

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

IT’S a fact of life. We are all traitors. We practice treachery even within ourselves. That’s why we fall into sin. We, of course, do it also among ourselves. And in spite of our best efforts, we can still fall into it even with God. In fact, it’s with God that we are most treacherous, since any treachery we do with our own selves and with others is first of all a treachery with God. Every sin is a form of treachery with God.

We are reminded of this intriguing phenomenon in the gospel reading of Tuesday of Holy Week. (cfr. Jn 13:21-33, 36-38) We are presented with the sad story of Judas Iscariot, one of the apostles who enjoyed intimate moments with Christ and confidence from him.

Despite that ideal condition, Judas managed to turn Christ in. Of course, he showed repentance later on that led him to hang himself. But it’s not for us to judge where he is now. We know that God is the only one to give the final judgment and that he is all merciful.

So, we should not be surprised by this fact of life and just proceed to see how we can deal with this danger more effectively. And I believe that the way to do it is to truly develop an abiding intimate life with Christ.

We have to be wary of our tendency to ignore the due attention and care we need to give to our interior, intimate life where our true world as a person is located. That’s where we know who we really are and how we are relating with everyone and with everything.

Our usual problem in this area is that we just live our life most of the time reacting in a purely human and natural way to things around us. As a result, we are prone to fall into either activism or obstructionism, and all the other isms that are actually not proper to us as a person, let alone, as a child of God. And the inevitable effect is that there is hardly any intimate life in us.

If we want to be consistent with our faith and allow our faith to guide our mind and heart and all the other faculties we have, then we would know that God is with us and that he loves us and is always intervening in our life. In fact, we believe that he is actually directing and shaping our life. Ours is simply to go along with him as far as we can.

This is what is called developing an intimate life or a life in the Spirit of God. It is an abiding awareness that God is with us and that we are living our life with him and for him. Everything in our life would have God as the main reference point, the beginning and end, the giver of meaning to everything, and the provider of all the resources we need to deal with any situation in our life.

This is how we can aspire to effectively deal with the constant danger of treachery. We can have the sense of confidence once articulated by St. Paul when he said: “If God is for us, who can be against us?…Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers…will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8,31.38-39)