I remember TV commercial sometime ago that had this punchline: “Kanino ka ba babangon?” (For whom do you get up in the morning?) I imagine it was supposed to highlight the motivation one has in getting up so early in the morning, do some tasks and other sacrifices to serve a loved one. It obviously resonated with many of the audience, me included.
Still, no matter how legitimate and worthwhile the whole idea behind that commercial was, I would still say it did not say enough. To put it bluntly, to work and to sacrifice for some beloved person and yet fail to consider love for God as the main motivation, would be a great pity.
Sure, there is already some good being done to another, yet it is a good that is not quite clear about its origin and its ultimate end.
If not corrected, that good according to human and worldly standards, could not stand the test of time and the many and often formidable challenges we can face in our earthly sojourn. It is a perishable good that would not bring us to our ultimate imperishable and supernatural good who is God.
Indeed, we can say that what good we do to others out of love for them can be translated into a good done to God out of love for him. Loving God and loving others always go together. Still, it’s always a possibility that what we consider good by serving our loved ones may just be an apparent good because it is not properly animated by our love for God, which should be the ultimate motivation for all our actions.
This is when we have to develop and sharpen our sense of hope, since it is with this virtue that we would be willing to do things and make sacrifices for others, if only to attain what we consider to be a greater, nay, the greatest good.
Now, we have to be clear about what this greatest good would be for us. If it would just be something that simply revolves around ourselves, like gaining a sense of satisfaction, or respect for others, etc., then that good would not be worthwhile. That good would be nothing less than an expression of self-indulgence.
We have to aim at nothing less than the greatest good, the ultimate good, and that is nothing other than love of God, being with him of whom we are supposed to be his image and likeness, and children of his.
Some words of St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans can shed light on this point. “I consider our present sufferings,” he said, “not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope that the creation will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (8,18-21)
It’s a fine point that is worth considering since it makes a big difference. Let’s see to it that all our good actions towards others be properly motivated by love of God and not just by some perishable human and worldly motives. Let our hope be grounded properly on our Christian faith and oriented toward true charity, our love for God.*