The passerby | Test of the heart

by Fr. Roy Cimagala

A MEME that was entertaining people in the social media
for a time says, “Two things will define you. Your
patience/determination when you have nothing. And your attitude when
you have everything.”

Though most the time I take memes with a grain of salt, I
cannot deny that they also contain some grain of truth that are
helpful and insightful. We just cannot dismiss them entirely. And this
one is especially relevant these days, when with all this stay-home
dispensation, we all of a sudden find ourselves with a lot of time.

While before, we seem to be always running out of time,
often testing our patience and stretching our determination to the
limit, now we are having a surfeit of it. Many of us are now wondering
what we can do with so much time in our hands.

Would we just luxuriate in doing nothing, lazing around,
going into all sorts of inanities just to fill up the time, or do we
still find ways to occupy ourselves fruitfully and, more importantly,
with love?

Indeed, this abundance of time during these days can bring
to the surface where our heart truly tilts. Does it tilt towards God
or does it simply tilt towards ourselves and everything else in this
world? Does it still throb with love, filling us with drive and
creativity, or is it quite empty, prone to brooding and boredom?

We cannot deny that human as we are, we all have our own
share of weaknesses that can disturb us precisely when we have so much
time in our hand. We have to do something about it. In fact, we have
to do something drastic.

It may even require that we do some emergency measures to
keep our heart throbbing with love. And the secret again here is for
us to pray. That’s because when we pray, it is presumed that we humble
ourselves to acknowledge that we are nothing without God. Therefore,
when we pray we affirm that we need God which is the most objective
need of our human condition in this life.

The problem we often are beset with is that we ignore God,
especially in moments when there seems to be no immediate danger and
we appear to be enjoying ourselves in a very relaxed mode. We have to
overcome this deadly tendency.

It’s only with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit that
we can manage to be truly in love. God is love himself. Without him,
we are left without love. And without love, we would just end up
bumming around, doing things aimlessly, even if we appear to be busy
with something.

Indeed the excess of time we are having these days is a
good test to determine where our heart tilts and of what and whom it
throbs for. It is this love that knows how to find ways of expressing
itself to be productive and fruitful even when we appear to have a lot
of time in our hands due to unavoidable circumstances.

True love that comes from God always throbs whether we are
in good times or in bad. It knows how to unify what may seem to be
different and even conflicting elements in our life. It has a proper
sense of order, direction and focus.

As St. Paul would put it, “Love is patient…It bears all
things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13,4.7-8)

Let’s see if this is the kind of love that beats in our
hearts these days. We have to be wary of our tendency to muffle this
kind of love to give way to many other forms of love that actually are
fake. These latter forms cannot pass the test of time, let alone, the
many trials that we are sure to encounter in our life here on earth.