THE PASSERBY | Let’s be properly occupied

By Fr. Roy Cimagala
Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE)
Talamban, Cebu City

WITH all this restricted life we are having these days,
let’s see to it that we are properly occupied. Let us, of course,
avoid idleness, but even if we fill ourselves with activities, let’s
see to it that we are properly occupied.

The most important thing to remember is that whatever we
are doing should be done with love for God and for others. This, we
can say, is what can be considered as the subjective requirement of
how we ought to occupy ourselves properly these days.

Without this requirement, our activities would be
practically worthless and can even pose as a danger, even if these
activities appear to be impressive in human terms. But with it, even
our smallest and most hidden act of service would acquire tremendous
value for all of us. Let’s do all we can to see to it that it is love
that inspires and moves us to do whatever we may be doing.

Obviously, this subjective requirement of how to be
properly occupied has its objective counterpart. And this means that
we have to have the proper sense of priority over the many options we
can have in spending our time during these stay-home dispensation. In
the end, things depend on what in our conscience God is telling us to

We just cannot do anything to fill up our time. Of course,
we have already said that as long as there is love, anything can be
pleasing to God. But again, we can also say that if there is real
love, we also would have a keen sense of order as to which activity
has greater importance over another. We would not just be doing things
simply for the sake of doing.

In other words, in choosing the things to do out of love,
there has to be a certain order of priority. That’s because not
everything has the same value. Obviously, the things that relate
directly to God and others have priority over the things that simply
are related to our own legitimate personal interests.

Thus, spiritual activities and the acts of piety have
priority over our mundane and secular activities. Also, those
activities that have more impact on others have priority over those
that simply benefit us more.

It’s important that we plan our day well so that we can
really say that we are occupying ourselves properly. We should not
just be whiling away our time by filling ourselves with all sorts of
random activities that simply do not reflect true love for God and for

In this, of course, we have to expect things that may not
be to our liking. This is when we can show the genuineness of our love
as motive for doing things. This is where we can live out those words
of Christ: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and
take up his cross and follow Me.” (Mt 16,24)

We can project the same drama Christ underwent in his
passion, especially during his agony in the garden when he “bargained”
with his Father by saying, “Father, if it is your will, let this cup
pass by me, but not my will but yours be done.” (Mt 26,39)

So you see, we don’t need extraordinary situations to live
out the passion of Christ. We can practically do it while cooking,
doing laundry, cleaning house, doing repairs, etc., as long as we do
them with love and with the proper sense of priority and spirit of

Let’s take advantage of our stay-home time to cultivate,
polish if not perfect the way we can occupy our time properly. This
present dispensation can serve as a basic school to train ourselves in
that department.

Part of this art of occupying ourselves properly is the
development of skills of resilience and quick adaptation, since there
will always be surprises and plans may have to be modified and revised
as we go along.