More than Doing Good!

Our society respects people who are good and it is supportive of people who are doing good for others. As we see many posts and videos on social media outlets, the ones that show cares, compassion, and the best parts of humanity often get the most likes and approvals. All these things are wonderful and commendable because we are called to give ourselves to others. A society cannot exist if people are not willing to support and look out for one another. Nevertheless, all these words and actions are also important reminders of who we truly are deep from within.

In a world that is often operated with the principle of utility where everyone is subjected and judged by their usefulness, where everything is pragmatically calculated in order to maximize the amount of productivity, where it is so easy to objectify people who are around us, there has to be something more. Even though our words and actions are important, they are still only signs and reflections of who we are. While it is very easy to be focused on what we are called to do and how to achieve them at all costs, it is crucial to understand who we truly are and what we are called to do. Our personal and intimate relationship with the Lord clarifies, radiates, magnifies, and strengthens our ontological identity and mission instead of simply worrying about what we have to do in order to make a difference. Words and actions are good, but they are supposed to reflect our deeper love and commitment to God who loves us instead of simply trying to prove something, change someone, or calculating ways make a difference. Our identity and mission as children of God bring Him into the picture and radiates His presence in our daily interactions. We are called not only to make a difference but to become instrumental in letting Him guide our thoughts, words, and actions for the glory of His name.

Our mission is bigger than making a better world. Our vocation is to be children of God and allow His love for us be enlivened in and through us. This is very important because many people often end up burnt out because they are trying to do too much. Some even get locked in their own frustrations and resentment with the world as they face resistances, limitations, rejections, and failures. While it is commendable to make the world better, we also have to embrace the reality that our world is never going to be perfect. This is not meant to be a pessimistic blow for people who are trying to make a difference. However, it is a great reminder that our mission has to be Christ-centered and faith-focused so that our hope is not based on any human institution, ideology, or effort, but springing forth from the love of God. Only when we love God enough to trust in Him totally and completely can we truly be able to embrace the “not yet” of this world. Unless we truly hope in God and allow our deeply rooted faith defines us, we will lose hope and easily give up when things do not go as planned. Yes, we are called to work for a better world, but we are also called to be instruments of God’s grace as to allow Him to be in control. Only His infinite wisdom can determine when is a good time for things to fall into places! Hence, even when we face the creative tensions that exist within our present “not yet,” we are able to know that this world can never be perfect. If it is too perfect, we would never yearn for heaven. If everything is alright, we would never desire the everlasting, eternal, and transcendental.

This world is not our final destination for we are meant for something more! Hence, this is the unique creative tension that exists with our Christian understanding of the world. It is not meant to make us lose hope, give up on everything, and be cynical about everything. It is a great ontological and teleological reminder of why we were created and where we are called to be by the One who loves us into being and calls us toward eternal life with Him. This loving reality and God-given mission can only be understood when we know who we are and what we are meant to be. It reminds us who is in control and what we have to do as to embrace our finitude and to be instrumental in His works of grace instead of trying to be controlling. Our Christian hope is real because it is based on the love of God so that we do not simply depend on ourselves, someone else, the government, some idealistic or political revolutionaries. In each and every moment, we are called to discern the presence of God and His will in our own times through prayer, patience, reflection, and trust. Saint Ignatius of Loyola taught us a beautiful prayer as we offer up to God our everything:

“Receive, O Lord, all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.”

This short and beautiful prayer reminds us that we do everything that we do because He has loved us and as the response to this everlasting, life-giving love. Our focus is not just in doing good or to make a difference by our own efforts but to simply share what we have encountered in and through prayers to others so that the love of God is enlivened and shared with those who are around us. What sustains and nourishes us is not simply what we have achieved or will achieve but the intimate, life-giving, and everlasting love of God and His grace at work in us. Only when we know who loves us can we learn to be content with who we are instead of focusing so much on what we have to do. When we know we are loved by God, we will not need to prove ourselves to others nor chase after the quantitative achievements or successes of this world. We are rich when we abide and remain in His everlasting, transcendental, and infinite love. Who we are is then defined with a real life-changing and life-giving love of God, therefore we do not need to ask for nothing more to make us feel good. We give life and change those who are around us not with our own abilities but by sharing Him with others.

This is what makes us powerful: we have the loving, transformative grace of God that is able to give and change lives. Therefore, everything that we have, who we are, what we do need to radiate Him because we belong to Him. In everything that we have and the things that we are challenged with, may we learn to offer and unite them to the Lord as we surrender ourselves to Him. We belong to Him and that is enough! We are rich and powerful because we are full of His love and His grace is working in and through us as His instruments of peace. We are content with what is going on around us and ask for nothing more for He is enough for us. Who we are is bigger than what we have to do or how we are to function! To be children of God is our vocation and calling as we live, share, and love one another with and through His love for us. If each and every one of us understands this, our world would definitely be better because we no longer build empires or civilizations after our name, but a community of brothers and sisters in Christ who loves and saved us. Nevertheless, even though the world is still imperfect and there are a lot of needs for healing, we do not give up for we believe in Him. May the love of God transforms our hearts, strengthens our memory and understanding of His grace, heals our hurts, and reconciles our divisions as we trust in Him and live to will the good of others just as He has willed our own good.