Involving the whole man

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

I AM referring to our relationship with God, as well as with everybody else. As much as possible, we should involve our entire humanity, and not just part of it, as in, we deal with God only spiritually and not bodily, only intellectually and not emotionally, etc.

We are reminded of this truth of our faith in that gospel episode where Christ “complained” about people who “look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.” (cfr. Mt 13,10-17)

As that gospel narrates, the reason why Christ used parables instead of using a more direct language is because the heart of the people has grown gross. “They will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted,” Christ said.

In other words, the reason why the people failed to see and to understand what Christ is telling them is because they do not want to be converted. This is also the problem that many of us have. We need to be aware of this predicament and try to do something about it.

We really need to have a burning desire to be with God and with everybody else for us to be able to involve our whole humanity in all our relationships. Without that desire, which will also require the grace of God, we would not go all the way in dealing with God and with others. For all that we do that may appear as if we are doing a lot for God and for others, we would just end up indulging on ourselves or simply affirming ourselves.

We need to discipline ourselves so as to involve our whole being in all our relationships. We always have the tendency to be fragmented and distracted, especially nowadays when we have a lot of things, a lot of novelties that can attract our attention at the expense of giving due attention to God and to others.

For this, we need to pause and do some spiritual exercises so that our belief and love for God and for others would really trickle down to our senses. In this regard, we have to give due attention to the need to educate our emotions and passions also.

As the Catechism tells us, our emotions and passions are “natural components of the human psyche; they form the passageway and ensure the connection between the life of the senses and the life of mind.” (1764)

Our emotions and passions therefore serve as a link between our body and soul. They are where we materialize what is spiritual in us, and spiritualize what is material in us. As such, they create a rich texture in our lives. They create the consistency proper to us as a person and as a child of God. They also help to give focus on our judgments, modulate our will, and add sensitivity to our reasoning.

In other words, they play a decisive role in achieving a happy and fully human life. They contribute to achieving the full potentials of our humanity. But given the wounded condition of man, our emotions and passions need to be purified and thoroughly educated.

They should not be allowed to just develop at the instance of our hormones and instincts, for example, and the many other blind or short-sighted impulses and trends in our social, cultural, economic, or political environment. They need to be reined in, to be guided and given direction.

This is how we can aspire to involve our whole being in our relationship with God and with others.

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