Ordinariness and True Freedom

In our current day and age, many people are so worried about not getting recognized enough, not being vocal enough, or being influential enough so other people know that they exist. Hence, many ended up being so extravagant that the words “being extra” now have become a common expression as to gather attention to one’s self. What we have ended up nowadays are many people trying to compete with one another as to get their own self-centered versions of what seems to be “true” just to be accepted and recognized by the popular mass.

Perhaps in this day and age, we are no longer respecting true researches and facts, substantial information and perennial wisdom, only following and buying into what popular influencers are selling and getting people to support their particular products, ideologies, or agendas. Everyone and everything is just trying so hard to be vocal and win our attention! Some have done a good job of targeting their desired demographic through specified advertisements or targeted messages, too.

Since I am often labeled as a borderline millennial by many influencers and companies, I often see ads on my social media feeds that tell how a product or person is “disrupting the __________ industry!” To be honest, it does get boring really quick because the typical message gets repetitive and overused. The truth is that what they are selling is really nothing special… just another provocative and attention-seeking product or idea. Reality tells us that too many people are just trying too hard to interrupt, disrupt, and stand out but no one really cares about the other person anymore. Sadly though, many people fall into the clickbait traps because they are captivated by the words that triggered or appealed to them. Hence, in a consumeristic world, our words and messages become empty because they only serve the purpose to appeal, sell, or garner supports but lead to no higher truth than the “next best thing” and its plethora of popular opinions.

Nonetheless, the ultimate truth is interwoven with our very search for wisdom, which is a daily and life-long journey to seek the highest good. And, our faith teaches us that the highest good and truth are only found in God. If we only search for our version of what seems to be true, we remain the principal actor and mover of our very own lives and destinies. Everything exists only to serve our desires and wants but they have nothing substantial or more to point us toward the eternal, transcendental, or everlasting values and reality.

In a world of attention-seeking voices, we have cheapened God and makes Him into another influencer, or worst, just another attractive ideology or product to be sold. We have seen this with televangelists and popular speakers rolling His name off their lips and quoting the Sacred Scriptures that support their lifestyles and what is popular, but they leave people empty after they get their products sold or achieved what they want. People get sentimentally or emotionally attracted and motivated to these targeted, specially formulated, and appealing messages but they remain hopeless and sad at the end of the day. Furthermore, by treating God as an enabler and giver of all goods, one’s faith gets shaken when trials and hardships come. Faith, hence, remains nothing more than empty and popularized words without true hope and love. We rarely see people willing to lay down their lives for the true faith because they get discouraged and easily abandon their faith when things get tough. Yet, we have heard in the Book of Sirach that, “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust God, you too shall live.” (15:15)

To believe is much more than chasing or being captivated by what is appealing or attractive. The truth teaches us to know who we are, because our beginning, our words and actions, as well as our ultimate end belong and come from God! He is the source of all wisdom, not just some conventional, progressive, or appealing advertisements and influencers. Our free will is not to do whatever we like at the costs of others and using others for our own good, it is a response to His love, for God never objectified or forced us into loving Him. He taught us through His faithful acts of creation, redemption and salvation, sanctification and providence that love is a free and heartfelt act of self-donation.

Following the commandments of the Lord is extremely hard at times, but St. Paul reminds us that divine wisdom helps us to be matured in the truth, for it is not the wisdom of this age, nor of rulers, people, and things that are passing away. To know this wisdom is to be in line with God through the power and working of the Holy Spirit, to test and scrutinize all things, to discern, reflect, weight, and pray on all things that help us to understand the true glory and love of God shown through Christ, especially the immense love of the Crucified Christ that contradicted all earthly and human wisdom. (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6-10) What He has planned and willed for us is much more than what conventional and popular opinions tell us! Even though we can never fully understand the will of God, we have to discern our words and actions according to what the Lord and His Church teach us. We need to learn how to listen and be in tune with the Holy Spirit instead of being deafened and deceived by lesser spirits of this world.

The Lord said in the Gospel that He did not come to abolish the Law and Prophets but to fulfill and transform everything according to the truth. He was moving the people from being preoccupied and worrying about the petty letters of the law to fully embrace its fullness of spirit as willed by God. He wanted us to use the law, not for our own personal self-righteousness but the true righteousness in perfecting our faith, hope, and love as children of the Heavenly Father.

Therefore, even the slightest word and action of ill-willed, manipulative, and inconsiderate nature will be liable to divine judgment. God desires us to keep His law out of love and not of petty calculations, self gains or personal benefits. When we have failed, He desires contrition (the genuine and heartfelt repentance and conversion) instead of mere attrition (worrying about going to hell or not looking right to others alone). He desires our heart and soul, our words and actions, so that everything that we have belongs to Him and filled with His love. Therefore, anything that causes us to sin should be cut off, thrown away, and remove before it becomes cancerous and destructive, eating us alive deep from within.

The Almighty desires that we become perfect in love, so that our “yes” means “yes,” and our “no” means “no,” for anything more is from the evil one. (cf. Matthew 5:37) Jesus reminds us that it is not enough to just keep the legalistic letters and interpretations, we must be people whose every word and action can be relied upon. Hence, even though it is tough and hard, these are His demanding standards for His disciples. May we not forget that where we are today is because of His mercy and compassion. We are who we are is because of His grace. What we shall be can only be known through a loving trust of His divine providence. For if we know who we are and where we are going, we have nothing to fear but to abandon, offer, and give our everything to Him who created, loved, saved, and continue to guide us with His truth.

May our love of wisdom leads us to God and may His loving truth sets us free from all the lies of this world and the enslavement of sins.