Saving the mundane and temporal

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

We have to understand that our mundane and temporal affairs are no obstacle in our relationship with God and others. They shouldn’t be. In fact, for most people, these matters and affairs are the very occasion, material, and motive for developing the love for God and for others. Thus, they also serve as the means for their own sanctification.

While we have to take utmost care in carrying out our sacred duties of praying, offering sacrifices, having recourse to the sacraments, availing of spiritual means of formation, etc., we shouldn’t forget ordinary secular duties and responsibilities play an important role in our spiritual life.

It’s in these latter duties that most people have their usual encounter with Christ. It’s in them that most people have the opportunity to correspond to God’s continuing work of creation and redemption on them.



The basis for this assertion could be the fact that in the life of Christ, his hidden life that was spent in doing the ordinary work of a citizen in a community is as important and is as redemptive as his public life spent going around preaching, performing miracles, and going through his passion, death and resurrection.

In that episode of the boy Jesus who at 12 years old went with his parents in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, we can have a good inkling of how his hidden life was also redemptive in character. He was lost for some days and his parents looked for him earnestly. When finally he was found in the temple, Mary said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” To which, he responded: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

We can have several interpretations of his words, but my take is he wanted to tell his parents that even in his hidden life spent in doing ordinary things, he was doing the things God sent him for, to redeem us.

The episode ended with Jesus returning home with his parents and was subject and obedient to them, and he grew “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

I can only draw from this episode the conclusion that the boy Jesus wants to show us that the ordinary things he had to do while being subject to his parents were an integral part of his mission of redemption.

We have to look at the usual and ordinary things we handle every day, more from the point of view of faith rather than just from the point of view of our reason, common sense, and practical needs.

We need to save our mundane and temporal affairs from the clutches of simply being treated in a completely technical and practical way. We have to learn to see God there. We need to learn to see how his continuing providence over us is working through those usual ordinary things that we do every day.

We need to pause and study how we can train our mind and heart, our senses and all other faculties we have to perceive the spiritual and supernatural dimension of the ordinary things we do every day and of all our mundane and temporal affairs.

This will require nothing less than cultivating and growing in our faith, hope and charity which are the main nourishing elements to develop our spiritual life and to acquire that skill in seeing God and his providence in everything we do every day.