Good and bad curiosity

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE are by nature curious. That’s how we start our quest for knowledge. Let us just remember that there are two basic kinds of curiosity, the good one and the bad one, the healthy one and the unhealthy one, one that is inspired by love for God and others and another that is driven by self-love and self-indulgence.

We need to examine ourselves as to the kind of curiosity we have and let us try to choose the right one. The good one will always bring us closer to God and to others. It will increase our love for them and our willingness to serve them, regardless of the effort and cost it may involve.

The bad one usually can give us instant perks but in the end traps us in a very subjective, self-indulgent world. It is prone to be simply idle since it would lead us to be oblivious to our duty towards God and others. In a sense, it is like a sweet poison.

A sample of this bad curiosity can be that episode narrated in the gospel of St. John (21,20-25). Perhaps it is worthwhile to remit the whole story: “Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, ‘Master, who is the one who will betray you?’”

Peter was referring to the youngest apostle John, the author of the gospel itself, who out of delicacy, I imagine, did not identify himself in this episode. The gospel continues by saying that “when Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘What if I want him to remain until I come?’ What concern is it of yours? You follow me.”

Here, Peter is already told that his curiosity is misplaced. He should just focus on what is truly important, and that is that he follows Christ. But the story does not end there. From that incident, the ‘fake news’ spread that John was not to die.

This part simply shows how easily we can misinterpret things. And not content with that, we even spread that misinterpretation around. Of course, John corrected that. “But Jesus had not told him (Peter) that he (John) would not die, just ‘what if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?’”

Anyway, the most important thing to remember is that our curiosities which start our quest for knowledge should begin with God and end with God. Otherwise we would just be building up our own fantasy world that can give us some excitement for a while but in the end, would just lead us nowhere but our self-made troubles.

When our curiosity is inspired by the love for God and for others, we would realize that there are limits to it even if in theory we are poised to know an infinity of things. We would realize that there will always be mysteries in our life that we cannot fully understand no matter how much we try. We should just learn to live with that reality and trust in the ever wise and powerful providence of God.

Our Christian faith assures us that God takes care of everything. Christ, the son of God who became man to save us, takes care of everything. Ours is simply to follow him as best we can, even if our best can always be made better. We are not expected to complete and perfect everything. It is Christ who will do that for us.

Nowadays, there sadly are many instances when people follow their bad curiosities. Of course, sooner or later they will have their comeuppance. In the meantime, they may look like they are having a heyday and are leading the so-called progress in the world.

But its falsity will simply be uncovered one day…