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Eager to look for Christ always

The Feast of St. John, the Apostle, celebrated two days after Christmas, presents us with his inspiring example of eagerness to look for Christ. As the gospel reading of the day tells us, the youngest apostle ran ahead of Peter and arrived at the empty tomb first once they were told that Christ’s body could not be found anymore in its place. (cfr. Jn 20,1-8)

We, of course, can easily say that it was his youthfulness that enabled him to do so. That is quite right, though we may have to qualify that. It’s more his spiritual youthfulness than his physical one that made him do it. It’s this kind of youthfulness that we should always cultivate and keep in ourselves despite our growing age. It’s not only possible. It is also highly doable!

And the secret, as always, is really to develop, to take care, and to make vibrant one’s spiritual life, one that is supported by an appropriate plan of life that nourishes one’s faith and piety.

It is to give one a global picture of things, making him realize where we came from and where we are supposed to go, and training him to relate the things of this world to our eternal destination with God in heaven. It is to make him realize that God can always be found anywhere, and that God should be the one that elicits our most intense attraction.

This is a tall order indeed! But again it’s all worthwhile. For this, we first of all should ask for God’s grace which is actually given to us in abundance. And from there, let’s go through some systematic plan of life that will nourish and strengthen our constant and intimate relationship with God, a relationship that should involve our entire self—body and soul, feelings, emotions and passions down to our very instincts, as well as our mind and heart.

It should be a plan that should obviously include prayer in all its forms—vocal, liturgical, ejaculatory, mental, contemplative, etc. Our life of prayer should be such that even when we are immersed in the things of the world due to our work and our temporal duties, we would still be aware of God’s presence, and it is doing God’s will that should always motivate us.

The plan definitely should include practices that will foster our spirit of sacrifice, penance and purification, given the obvious fact that no matter how much we try to be good, we would always be hounded by our weaknesses and the temptations around, and the possibility of falling into sin is high. This spirit of sacrifice would help us discipline ourselves in order to rally all our faculties for the service of God and of everybody else.

The plan should include a daily effort of ascetical struggle where, aside from fighting evil, we should aim at growing in our love for God and others, by developing the virtues as well as always strengthening them. It should help us to develop a growing concern for the others, doing personal apostolate wherever we are and whatever the occasion and circumstance may be.

It should include the frequent recourse to the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and confession. These spiritual and supernatural means are always effective, enabling us to be with Christ even if we do not feel his presence nor his interventions in our life. And it should also include some program of ongoing formation, knowing that our spiritual life would always need that.*

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January 2023
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