August 9, 2020
My dear friends in Christ,
How often have you experienced this that you set the alarm for a time to wake up in the morning? When the alarm goes you press the button to stop. Then, it rings in another five minutes and you stop the ringing once again. I experience this sometimes telling me how weak my physical self is. Another ten minutes in bed is not going to wreck your whole day but it is a way of living our life.
How often we listen to the demands of our flesh so willingly than yielding to the demands of our Spirit? The flesh is weak. Its cravings are strong. It will not let us go till we submit ourselves to its fulfillment. Of course, Jesus took this flesh to bring us salvation. The very fact that God in Jesus became flesh tells us that our flesh is elevated to a newer level of dignity and honor. When he spent forty days and nights in the desert not feeding his flesh but his spirit, he found the right balance. Even after fasting for forty days, his spirit was so strong that he did not yield to the temptations of Satan. He put God’s will first than fulfilling his personal need for pleasure, power and fame. That does not mean that he did not celebrate his bodily presence on this earth. He enjoyed many good meals with different people. He had fun time with his disciples on the beach and sailing on the sea of Galilee. When he healed the blind and the lepers, he touched them and offered them the divine spiritual healing through a human touch. Only with his very flesh on the Cross, he brought us redemption. He went through the incomparable suffering of the body in order to elevate our bodily life to a new height of spiritual immortality. If he is our true guide to live a fully human life filled with true spiritual flavors, then we should find the right balance too. Instead of leaning towards our bodily seeking constantly and tending to its needs often, we should also find times and ways to strengthen our spiritual self. The spiritual self grows steadily when we develop a habit of listening to God’s voice every day in our prayer. Even our physical seeking could be made meaningful and purposeful for the Lord if we act according to God’s will. As St. Augustine reminds us, everything in moderation becomes a virtue. All that we eat, the time we spend in recreation, the works we do to improve our lives, they should be done in right proportion that we do not neglect our responsibility to strengthen our spiritual self. We should find time to do prayer, to read the Bible, to spend some quiet and peaceful time with the Lord, finding quality time with the family are some ways to strengthen our Spirit. Let us not leave the spirit in us to starve that we may be left high and dry in our purposeful human existence in the Lord.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Xavier Ilango