Depopularizing something popular at the moment

By Fr. Roy Cimagala


SOMEONE suggested this idea to me recently. He was reacting to a growing number of deaths involving young people, as young as in their twenties, who died of diabetes, stroke and some heart ailments.

He said taking sweets like sugar-filled soft drinks and energy drinks and other saccharine items like cakes and candies have become so popular that everyone seems not to mind taking them in excess. And this is abetted by a strong and sustained campaign of commercialism of the items involved.

“They only talk about the benefits of these items without any warning about the danger of taking them in excess,” he said. “They usually cover up the true amount of sugar and the real character of the sweetener involved in these items,” he continued. We need to expose the dangers of these items, depopularizing them while popularizing the healthy food, like veggies, instead.”

“Their commercials should include the warning, like those of the cigarette ads, that too much sugar is bad for one’s health,” he said. And everyone should be educated about the proper amount of sugar to be taken by each individual given his concrete conditions.

I immediately gave some general agreement to the idea, though at the back of my mind, I also thought what if we only take veggies without taking anything sweet, would it not also result in something excessive that would give us another kind of illness?

Since my knowledge of medicine and physical or biological health is very limited, I restrained myself from pursuing that thought further. I hope and pray that in time, I and everybody else can be more enlightened about this particular question.

Just the same, while there indeed is a need to depopularize something popular at the moment but is harmful to us, I believe there is also a need to popularize something that is unpopular at the moment but is truly helpful to us in general.

And in this regard, there should be no question asked about the need to popularize a healthy spiritual life that at the moment is still generally unpopular. Many people find it hard to have it. They feel extremely awkward even talking about it, let alone, finding ways of effectively and correctly developing it.

Of course, there is such thing as fanaticism which is an anomaly in the world of spirituality. But that’s because there is some erroneous understanding of what and how a spiritual life should be.

But it cannot be denied that if properly understood, there can be no limit, no excess in developing one’s spiritual life. This is where a more vigorous, effective and sustained campaign of popularizing should be made. We can never have enough of it, as long as it is properly done.

We have to talk more about this, which should not be limited only to some church environment. It has to be talked more vigorously in the families, in the media, in the offices and other workplaces.

Even in business and politics which are greatly in need of spiritual guidance, this matter should be given due importance and attention. This is, of course, a delicate matter, given the character of business and politics, but if understood properly, it can also be done there. In fact, it should be done there.

Yes, we need to popularize the still unpopular topic of spirituality!

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