The sacred and the mundane

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to try to be constantly aware that everything good comes from God, and we therefore should treat them accordingly. Of course, with our human and temporal condition, we can make a distinction between the sacred and the mundane.

The sacred things refer to those that lead us directly to God. These things can be the sacraments, especially the Holy Mass, God’s word as contained in Sacred Scripture and the doctrine taught by the Church, and even the sacramentals like the holy water crucifixes, etc. All the liturgical acts in the Church are also considered as sacred. We have to learn how to deal with the sacred things properly.

With the sacred, all we have to do is utmost reverence, putting all our faith in them, knowing that through natural and human elements, we are touching the supernatural dimension of our life, we are touching the very life of God.

We have to develop as early as possible a sense of the sacred in our life. We can develop this sense of the sacred when we remember that in any liturgical act, for example, no matter how handicapped by our human limitations and mistakes, we are actually doing and participating in the act of Christ, the act of the Church with all the saints and angels and the Christian faithful.

The mundane things refer to the temporal affairs of ours, like our business and politics, the sciences, arts and technologies, and all the materials involved there. While they may not deal directly with God, we have to understand that they are meant to be the tools, instruments and occasions we have to bring us to God. Their relation to God should not be lost in our mind when we are dealing with them.

Yes, we need to develop a keen sense of the sacred, especially when we deal with the sacred things, and even when we are dealing with the mundane things. With the sacred things, Christ himself said it very clearly, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Mt 7,6)

I believe that the same words can also be applied when referring to the mundane things. We should not just treat them as if they are not vehicles and expressions of our faith and love for God and for others. In fact, given our objective relation with God, we have to realize more deeply that our involvement in these things is part of God’s providence over all his creation. There is also something holy in them.

The mundane things, and more so the sacred things, are meant to bring us to God. They are an occasion to bring about our own sanctification, which is the ultimate purpose of our life here on earth, as well as to involve us in Christ’s continuing work of redemption that necessarily involves us. Yes, we are all meant to be apostles to each other, since all of us are involved in the business of human redemption.

For all this, we certainly have to rev up our faith, our piety and devotion, even while immersed in our earthly affairs. We have to learn how to achieve that ideal and to avoid the tendency to be carried away by merely earthly forces, forgetting our duties toward God and others.