Guarded, protected but on the go

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

IN this life, with all the bad elements we have to contend with, we really would need to be properly guarded, protected but also keeping ourselves always on the go. We should not just be on the defense mode all the time. We should also know how to be on the attack mode especially in our spiritual and moral life.

Yes, we cannot deny that in this world, we cannot escape evil in all its forms. And let’s always remember that in this world, good and evil co-exist. We have been warned about this in that gospel parable about the wheat and the weeds, the good seed and the bad seed. (cfr. Mt 13,24-30)

We should not forget that the many forms of evil can be very subtle because it will always need to have the cover of good things to inflict their malice. Even the temptations of the devil will always be coated with something good and nice.

This confusing mix of good and evil is usually present in the world of media and social communication, where the so-called fake news can take advantage of certain facts to pursue a self-interest and not the common good.

It is also most present in the world of politics where politicians can have selfish interests in mind while promoting projects that in themselves can produce some good. The same is true in the world of business and the use of the new technologies.

We really would need to be most discerning about this phenomenon, learning how to take advantage of what is good in a temptation, for example, while knowing also how to avoid the evil that accompanies them. Doing so is complying with what Christ himself told us: “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Mt 10,16)

To be simple and innocent is not equivalent to being naïve and simplistic, fantasizing that we can live in a world where everything will be black and white, or that we can live in an isolated world, escaping from the real challenges in this world. We live in a real world where the combinations of good and evil can be infinite.

We just have to learn how to live with that condition. That is why to a certain extent we need to be immunized, allowing the dirt of evil to come to our system if only for us to develop the relevant antibodies in their proper amount so we can resist the effects of evil and go on living. We can even take advantage of the effects of evil to produce a lot of good.

To be sure, Christ himself has shown us how to deal with this condition. He clearly told us about what is good and evil, what is right and wrong. And since evil in this world will always persist, he taught us how to suffer and die with them so that we can also resurrect with him.

And the saints, following closely the teaching and example of Christ, precisely got involved in some dirt, in some form of evil, suffering them with Christ so they too would resurrect with Christ.

In other words, we cannot expect to be squeaky clean in this life. We have to expect to get dirty in this life. It’s something that is unavoidable. But let’s hope that we can manage to handle that condition without compromising what is most important in our life—our relation of love with God and with others, a love that was shown to us perfectly by Christ.

In this regard, it might be good to review the principles that govern the so-called material, not formal, cooperation in evil. We have to be good in this so that we would know how to live with evil in this world while advancing in our journey towards God, towards heaven.