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Developing a deep sense of religion

The liturgical season of Advent can be a good occasion for us to develop and strengthen our sense of religion, our life of piety, our intimacy with God. We have to remember that as human beings, we often are trapped in our human and natural world and quite indifferent to the spiritual dimension of our life, let alone the supernatural goal our life is meant to pursue. Let’s do something about this predicament.

Let us hope that as we prepare for Christmas during this Advent season with our customary excitement for the holidays, we do not neglect the religious significance of Advent, and enkindle an intense desire to have a living encounter with Christ who is God who became man to be with us and to show us the way of how we ought to be, since he is the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity.

We cannot deny that there’s vast religious indifference and even hostility against religion today. 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.

Nowadays, reason and empirical findings are considered the ultimate measure of things, and are made to dispute the claims of faith, steadily removing its attractiveness to the people. With this approach, piety is slowly eroded until it becomes practically dead.

With this trend, it is held that if things could not be fully understood and explained, if they could not be directly verified, if they are not socially, economically or politically practical, then they should be rejected. They are deemed senseless.

It’s as simple, or rather, as simplistic, as that. Such attitude sorely misses the point that truths of faith, being spiritual and supernatural, require more than human reason to be believed. It’s a tyranny to force everyone to work only within the framework of reason and understanding alone, beyond which things simply cannot be true.

It sorely misses the point that we precisely need the gift of faith, because we are men of belief, more than of reason. Faith always respects reason, and always works through it, but is beyond it. It cannot be fully grasped by reason, much less by our senses. It has a longer spread, a wider scope, a deeper reach, a firmer grip on reality.

It is our faith that will tell us that we need not only to be with Christ, but also to be like Christ. And the season of Advent is a good time to develop a burning desire for this purpose.

We need to be reminded that we have to develop an abiding and burning desire for Christ to fulfill the real purpose of our life which is precisely for us to be “another Christ.” We should be clear about this ultimate purpose of ours so we can have the proper sense of direction and focus in our life, and the corresponding urge to fulfill it.

Our problem is that we often take our life’s real and ultimate purpose for granted, preferring to sway and dance according to the music played simply by worldly conditions. We prefer to be guided by our senses and emotions, or by our reasoning alone as expressed in our man-made different ideologies, philosophies, sciences and technologies, etc.*

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January 2023
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