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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 13, 2018
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Rock & Refuge

The only thing necessary

I was happy to learn that in his New Year address, Pope Francis recommended jettisoning what he called as life's “useless baggage” that includes empty chatter and banal consumerism.

He advised setting aside a time of prayer everyday so as to be with God. In the end, that is the only thing necessary. After all, the other affairs, concerns, projects, challenges we have should be considered as mere ways, means and occasions to be with God, to give glory to him. We should not get confused and lost in our priorities.

In the words of Pope Francis, our daily prayer would help “keep freedom being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting.”

We should consider these words of the Pope seriously. They precisely echo what Christ told the busy Martha when she complained that her sister, the contemplative Mary, left her to do all the house chores. (cfr Lk 10,38-42)

“Martha, Martha,” Christ said, “you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Lk 10,41)

We cannot deny that the world nowadays is getting too immersed in worldly and temporal affairs at the expense of forgetting God. This is a terrible deal that we are having. All our affairs and concerns should lead us to God or at least engage us with him, not separate us from him.

Christ already warned us: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Mt 16,26) That is even presuming that we can gain the whole world without God. The most likely consequence is that without God, not only would we lose our soul but also everything else.

Let us always remember that it is God who will give us everything, but we have to have the proper priorities. Let's never forget what he said: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Mt 6,33)

To follow this divine indication, Christ himself has given us what to do: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16,24)

Indeed, we have to do some self-denial because we are very notorious to follow only our own will and ways that usually are shaped only by what we see, feel and understand. These can hardly capture the whole picture of our real and objective needs.

That is why we need to spend time praying if only to recover and keep our spiritual and supernatural bearing that is proper to us. Otherwise, we would just be at the mercy of our own powers that can only do us harm if not inspired by God, by love for God and for everyone.

To be sure, spending time of prayer does not remove us from our real worldly and temporal concerns. On the contrary, it would greatly help us to deal with them properly in such a way that, regardless of how we fare with them in human terms, they will always lead us to God, to our eternal life with God, to live charity and all the other qualities proper to us as persons and as children of God.

We really need to rein in our human faculties so that their use would contribute to our need for prayer and our need for God, which in the end, is the only thing necessary in life.*

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