By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE have to accept this fact of life. In spite of how we are endowed by God to live our life with him, we always tend to be indifferent to him. We play deaf, dumb and blind to his will and ways that are actually proper for us also.
We cannot deny that there’s vast religious indifference and even hostility against religion today. That may be intriguing to say, since on the other hand, thanks be to God, we can also notice a surge of religious fervor in some sectors.
This contrast actually has been around since time immemorial, an indication that human history is always an interplay between good and evil, between God’s providence and man’s freedom.
A complex structure of rationalizations now supports religious indifference and hostility to religion. It seems that the threads of naturalism, skepticism, agnosticism, atheism, relativism, etc., have become more sophisticated, snuffing whatever religious ember that may still remain in a person or in society.
So, many times in the Bible, God begs us to pay him utmost attention, let alone to give ourselves completely to him who is the perfection of our humanity since we are God’s image and likeness.
“My son, give me your heart,” says God in the Book of Proverbs. (23,26) And in the Book of Psalms, it is often repeated, “I am the Lord, your God, hear my voice.” (cfr. Ps 81) In the Letter to the Hebrews, we can read, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as they did when they provoked me.” (3,15) To top it all, Christ himself said many times, “Follow me.” (Mt 4,19)
The secret to overcome our blindness, deafness and dumbness to the things of God is to earnestly go to Christ. This was dramatized in that gospel episode where some people brought a deaf man to Christ, imploring him to cure the man. (cfr. Mk 7,31-37)
We need to truly enliven our faith to overcome our indifference to God. For this, we need to undertake a serious plan of human and Christian formation and acts of piety so that we can acquire an abiding and intimate connection with Christ.
We have to give priority to this concern over all the other human concerns we have. This priority was dramatized in that gospel episode of the sisters, Martha and Mary. (cfr. Lk 10,38-42) Martha was busy doing the practical chores of hospitality, while Mary simply stayed close to Christ. When Martha complained about Mary’s apparent idleness, Christ corrected her, telling her, “Only one thing is necessary, and Mary has chosen it.”
Nowadays, when we are bombarded with many seemingly irresistible worldly allurements that offer us promises of convenience, growth of knowledge, etc., we truly need to exert some extraordinary effort to keep this priority of the sacred over the mundane, the spiritual over the material, the supernatural over the natural.
Religious indifference and hostility to religion have to be tackled by persistent effort to identify oneself with Christ through prayer and sacrifice. In other words, we have to be ready to be crucified, which is the best form of prayer and sacrifice.
There’s no other way. Unless we are willing to imitate Christ all the way to his crucifixion, we cannot expect to melt away the thick and sticky layer of religious indifference and hostility to religion among us.