By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THIS virtue of order is now posing to us as a huge, most tricky and nasty challenge. With all the growing number of things to consider, each with its own growing complexity also, we truly are most vulnerable to fall into disorder and chaos.
Even if we manage to a certain degree to cope with them, it is still not clear whether we are living this virtue or not. And that’s because our idea of coping may simply be a matter of putting material order to the things we handle. But at that level, we can never consider ourselves as living this virtue. At best, it is a kind of superficial order that we would be having.
Indeed, taking care of material order alone today is already a very tall order. There are just so many things to handle that we end up at a loss as to which one has priority over the other. We even would not know which one is essential to us and which one a distraction. That distinction is getting blurred. Often, what we produce is sheer clutter. We would seem to be doing a lot of things but going nowhere.
We have to remember that this virtue of order refers first of all to our need and duty to do God’s will for us at every moment and to offer what we are doing to him. That’s the first, last and constant criterion to follow. Everything else follows from there.
Just considering, for example, the order of the ten commandments that already articulate to us God’s basic will for us, we can already see that we have to consider our duties towards God first before we consider our duties toward others.
The latter duties depend on the former, even if the whole Decalogue is considered as one organic whole. Following or failing to follow in any of those commandments would affect the whole Decalogue. As an organic whole, the Decalogue makes our duties towards God and those towards others mutually affect each other.
But priority has to be given to our duties toward God, since it is from him that everything true, good and beautiful begins. This point can be verified when Christ said, when asked what the first and the greatest commandment was, that we have to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind. (cfr. Mt 22,37)
We should try our best to live by this kind of order where we give God priority over everything else. It is in this kind of order where we would know the proper hierarchy of priorities, where we can truly distinguish between what is essential and what is not, which to keep and which to discard, etc.
It would always pay to keep the proper spiritual and supernatural bearing so we would not get confused and lost in the many things that we have to handle. For this, a certain detachment is necessary so that we can properly supervise our feelings, emotions and passions that will always have the tendency to preempt what our reason, and more, our faith, hope and charity would indicate.
At the moment, we have to be most wary of the many alluring and intoxicating distractions provided by the many novelties we have today. Without living the virtue of order, we can become victims of sweet poison and friendly fire.
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