Fr. Roy Cimagala
A pas-sage from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans can serve as a graphic description of what is happening in many of the discussions people have about some hot issues. Let’s hope that we can be guided accordingly.
“Claiming to be wise, they became fools,” (1,22) he said. The immediate context in which these words were spoken may be different, but they still can be applicable to the present state of public opinion where we can now see so much wisdom of the fool.
When people aban-don God or alienate themselves from him, there’s no way but to get into all kinds of anomalies, no matter how clever and sophisticated the rationa-lizations are. Such sophis-tication foists falsehoods as truth.
Nowadays, there is so much surge of self-righteousness that the source of what is good and evil, fair and unfair, human and inhuman is not anymore God the Creator, but us. The distinction is not anymore made by God, but by us. We are now in the world of subjectivism.
Everything is now based on our views and opinions, our preferences and current understanding of things. If we can manage to have some kind of consensus, then that’s it! We can now consider as good what actually is inherently bad, and we make a world of make-believe that sooner or later will burst.
People now follow their own light, a very beguiling and unreliable light. They have forgotten what Christ said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8,12)
This man-made light is usually so self-fascinating and blinding that instead of enabling us to see things objectively, it only leads us to see our subjective egos. It is a light that is usually not compatible with humility, patience and fidelity. Rather, for it to shine it makes use of pride and violence, impatience and intolerance, infidelity and promiscuity. Thus, it usually generates division and conflict, controversy and envy.
This man-made light is the wisdom of the wounded flesh, the world and the devil himself. It can be clever and wily, and can present immediate if short-lived advantages. It springs from people’s belief that they are simply using their freedom, ignoring the fact that our freedom is not self-generated but is a gift from God and has to be lived according to God’s will.
This man-made wisdom is different from the wisdom referred to by Christ when he said: “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Mt 10,16) As St. James said in his letter, the wisdom that comes from above “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.” (3,17) It is a wisdom that expresses itself in restraint and moderation. There is no bitterness at all.
Whereas the wisdom that is not from God, as St. James again said, “is earthly, unspiritual, devi-lish.” (3,15) It is generated by jealousy and selfish ambition, and spawns disor-der and every vile practice. It basks in contentiousness.
This wisdom finds no value in suffering, no meaning in the cross of Christ. It can hardly cope, let alone find joy in setbacks, difficulties, failures. Its triumph is actually trium-phalism, a false victory that would be unmasked sooner or later.
We have to be careful with our world today so swamped with this kind of wisdom of the fool. Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enter-prise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org