The need for order
WE should develop an abiding sense of the need for order. And that's simply because there is always some kind of order in the world to which we have to conform ourselves freely.
Even from the natural level, it's obvious that different kinds of law ought to be observed to put some order in the world as God, its creator, has wanted it to have. There are laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc., for this purpose.
In our common life as a people who have to live together, we can observe and also make some laws to put order in that integral aspect of our life. For this, we have laws of sociology, economics, culture, history, politics, etc.
It's obvious that we try our best to have some order in our life. We just have to realize that we also have to be most aware of the laws that govern the spiritual and moral aspects of our life, not to mention the supernatural goal of which our Christian faith teaches us.
That is why we have moral laws and certain indications regarding spirituality and piety. We need to be always conscious of them and try our best to observe them. But all this need to develop an abiding sense of order starts with our daily effort to live and to put order into our things.
Unless we live order in a daily basis and in our ordinary little things, I don't think we can be ready to live order in the big and ultimate things in our life. That is why we have to develop a certain discipline that would help us acquire this indispensable virtue in our life.
Offhand, what comes to mind as the basic requirements for this effort is the clear idea of what our goals areóboth the short-run and the long-run, the immediate and the ultimateóas well as the means and resources we need and have to achieve these goals.
For Christian believers, it's clear that the ultimate goal is to be with God always, to give glory to him, to love him and to love everybody else. The basic means and resources are God's grace for which we should always ask, our effort to correspond to that grace, etc.
But the immediate goals would be our daily planning and S cheduling of things, always remembering the importance of our time which we should never waste. Time is a God-given resource that has a very strategic purpose in our life. By planning and scheduling our activities we not only save time, but somehow can also multiply time, since order enables us to do more things.
This is a very important skill to have for which we have to cultivate the proper attitudes and practices. Toward this end, we should try to have a running inventory of the things we have to do, the duties and responsibilities we have to carry out. For sure, a daily to-do list would help.
If we could just spend a few minutes to make this to-do list, we can achieve a lot more than just going through the day without it, completely subordinating ourselves to the changing circumstances like our moods, the happenings around, etc.
With that list, we have a better way of discerning the proper priorities of the day. Prayer and our direct duties toward God should have pride of place, which does not mean that we spend the greater part of our day for these activities. These duties toward God should inspire the rest of our earthly and temporal responsibilities.
With that list, we would be better protected from distractions, especially these days when distractions are aplenty. We would have a clear sense of purpose and our ability to go from one thing to another would be facilitated.
With that list, we can truly aspire to gain dominion over our day, if not, over our whole life. We would not be held captive by passing and irrelevant elements, like our moods. It certainly would help grow toward our human and Christian maturity.
We just have to see to it that our need for order does not fall to the other extreme of getting exaggerated as to make us rigid and inflexible, wanting always to control everything and therefore being close-minded, and easily falling into helplessness and despair when things do not come out the way we have planned them.
Our effort to develop this basic virtue of order should not lead us to an anomaly that is usually called obsessive-compulsive disorder. Order should be compatible with charity, patience, mercy, flexibility, adaptability, etc.*
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