By Fr. Roy Cimagala
To go directly to the point, we can only find our true strength in Christ.
There’s no other—no, not in some drugs, therapy, physical stamina, genes, etc. These things only give, at best, some temporary relief. They don’t last for long, and they don’t work all the time.
This was affirmed by St. Paul and has been proven right in the lives of many saints and holy men and women through the ages. “I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound,” St. Paul said. “I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things throughChrist who gives me strength.” (Phil 4, 12-13)
Thus, St. Paul once said: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4, 8-9)
And the martyrs were not afraid to face death for the sake of Christ. The saints and the holy men and women also managed to do what they had to do despite tremendous difficulties because of their living union with Christ.
We have to see to it that we go to Christ for our need of strength—physical, mental and emotional, moral and spiritual. We should not delay. We should not hesitate. Only with him can we bear all things, can we find meaning in everything, including the darkest and heaviest predicament we may find ourselves in.
We have to develop the proper habit of going immediately to Christ whenever there is anything that bothers us in some way or that makes us worry. Especially these days, with the uncertainties and problems brought about by the Covid pandemic, we need to sharpen this practice of going immediately to Christ.
Nowadays, many people are threatened with depression and other mental illnesses and emotional disorders. It’s a pity that these things are happening when what can help them in these situations is readily available.
Part of the problem is the thinking that these cases of depression and other mental and emotional disorders are mainly due to their biological proneness. It’s in their genes, it’s a hereditary thing, we sometimes hear.
But while it’s true that some people are more vulnerable to these problems because of their natural constitution, we should not deny the truth that it is the spiritual and supernatural that can resolve whatever natural weaknesses people may have.
It is the recourse to the spiritual and supernatural means, the effort to effectively bring Christ to people’s lives that can make the difference. It’s true that we have to take care of the natural means, but we should never set aside the spiritual and supernatural means.
Let’s always remember what Christ himself said in this regard. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt 11, 28-29)
With him, as he has reassured us, whatever yoke and burden we carry would be easy and light. Yes, we would not be exempted from suffering, but with Christ, we can always find meaning and even joy in suffering. In fact, if we truly would be with him, we would look forward to suffering, knowing that such suffering would have tremendous redemptive effect on all of us.
We need to understand strength from the point of view of faith. It should be a theological strength more than anything else that would make full use of what is natural in us but would also have recourse to the spiritual and supernatural sources of strength and power.
And this recourse to the spiritual and supernatural is not difficult at all, because all we have to do is to call on Christ and he will be there immediately!*