Keeping our focus on God always strong

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

IN the gospel of the Mass on Monday of the Third Week of Easter (cfr. Jn 6, 22-29), we are told about how more and more people, after learning about how Christ managed to feed 5 thousand people with a few loaves of bread, came looking for Christ. They were even willing to cross the water in boats just to find him.

This reaction of the people should also be our reaction to Christ. We should try our best to develop and keep our attraction to Christ as strong and abiding as possible. We have to convince ourselves that this is the ideal condition for us to be in, and thus, we have to be wary of the constant danger of being drawn and trapped in our earthly affairs only, with Christ regarded only peripherally, if at all.

For this, we first of all should ask for God’s grace which is actually given to us in abundance. And from there, let’s go through some systematic plan of life that will nourish and strengthen our constant and intimate relationship with God, a relationship that should involve our entire self—body and soul, feelings, emotions and passions down to our very instincts, as well as our mind and heart.

It should be a plan that should obviously include prayer in all its forms—vocal, liturgical, ejaculatory, mental, contemplative, etc. Our life of prayer should be such that even when we are immersed in the things of the world due to our work and our temporal duties, we would still be aware of God’s presence, and it is doing God’s will that should always motivate us. Our faith tells us that God is everywhere. It should not be hard to find him.

The plan definitely should include practices that will foster our spirit of sacrifice, penance and purification, given the obvious fact that no matter how much we try to be good, we would always be hounded by our weaknesses and the temptations around, and the possibility of falling into sin is high. This spirit of sacrifice would help us discipline ourselves in order to rally all our faculties for the service of God and of everybody else.

The plan should include a daily effort of ascetical struggle where, aside from fighting evil, we should aim at growing in our love for God and others, by developing the virtues as well as always strengthening them. It should help us to develop a growing concern for the others, doing personal apostolate wherever we are and whatever the occasion and circumstance may be.

It should include the frequent recourse to the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and confession. These spiritual and supernatural means are always effective, enabling us to be with Christ even if we do not feel his presence nor his interventions in our life. And it should also include some program of ongoing formation, knowing that our spiritual life would always need that.

It’s important to realize that the net effect of all these should be a strong and abiding feeling of intimacy with God, a strong attraction to him. We should not allow our attractions to stop at the level of some earthly and temporal goods only.  It should be God and his will and ways that should attract us most.

We should also be wary of the constant danger of getting distracted. We have to identify the usual sources of our distractions and plan an appropriate strategy to deal with them properly.