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When the legitimate becomes immoral

By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, roycimagala@gmail.com
April 24, 2019

WE have to be careful with this possibility that, sad to say, has become rampant nowadays. It cannot be denied that we are aware of the many blessings we have, and the many rights of our human condition. We have all kinds of talents, we have intelligence and freedom, and varying degrees of wealth, resources, power. We have the right for rest and comfort and some amount of bodily pleasure.

We obviously can use and enjoy them. We just have to make sure that these legitimate things do not become immoral as when we allow them to lead us to sheer self-indulgence, with God completely out of the picture. Thatís when what is good can become bad.

This danger is always present in our life and we should do something about it. We should not allow Godís blessings and the rights we have to simply be spoiled and to spoil us because we feel they have nothing to do with God.

No, sir! God is and should be the beginning, the center and end of all these blessings and rights. They are supposed to lead us to God, to give glory to him, and not just for us to wallow in our shameless pleasure. We should not forget that these things are God-given. They are not simply and exclusively our own.

We have to remember that without God in their use and enjoyment, there is no other alternative but to fall into sin, into some self-entrapment that alienates us from God and others. We would soon lose the sense of balance, restraint and moderation, prudence and propriety, and start our wayward ways. We would just feed our bodily and worldly pleasures while starving the soul. The animal in us dominates.

Without God, we would easily fall into some form of addiction and many other anomalies, like pride, vanity, greed, self-righteousness, rash judgments, etc. We should be quick to feel something is wrong when we realize we are enjoying things without God and simply by our own selves. We should correct that predicament just as quickly.

In other words, just like in anything else we do, we should have rectitude of intention when exercising our rights and enjoying our endowments. To be sure, such practice does not undermine the enjoyment of what is legitimate in our condition.

On the contrary, it would enhance such enjoyment, purifying it and elevating it to the supernatural order which is proper to us as children of God. It would affirm the dignity proper to us as persons and children of God.

With God, we would know how to use and enjoy them with measure, with self-discipline and control. We would avoid being fully at the mercy of our worldly curiosities and other bodily impulses and urges.

Again, let us spread this caveat around. More than that, let us teach everybody the ways and means of how to rectify our intentions when exercising our rights and enjoying the blessings God has given us.

Let us remind ourselves of the importance of developing a life of prayer, to such an extent that we truly have an abiding contemplative spirit, when we would be always aware of Godís presence, and see him in everything and in everyone, and get to know his will and follow it as faithfully as possible.

This should not be regarded as alien to our human nature. On the contrary, this is what is essential and integral in our nature. Without God, we as human beings would go on a limb. Sooner or later, we would get into trouble that is made worse because we might not even know we are in trouble.

It would be good if right there in the family, this basic skill of praying is taught and lived, and the small ones would already be initiated into the ways of prayer and prudence.