Fr. Roy Cimagala
Indeed! To be a servant is a great honor. It is never a cause of shame or dishonor. It is a very special privilege, in fact. And the simple reason is that to be a servant is to be like Christ who expressly came to serve and not to be served! (cfr Mt 20,28) There can be no better dignity than that.
That is why many saints and great men and women through the centuries took pride in being regarded as servants. And the Pope as Supreme Pontiff also describes himself as Servant of Servants.
This is a truth of faith that we have to feel most at home with. We, all of us, are called to be servants, because if Christ is the “way, the truth, and the life” for us, then we have to assume his attitude of serving and avoiding of being served by others. That is what is proper to us. We there-fore need to make some drastic adjustments in our understanding and atti-tude toward servanthood.
Of course, the object of our service is primarily God, just as Christ served and consummately obeyed the will of his Father till death. “Not my will but yours be done,” he said. (Lk 22,42) And he went through all the process of suffering and dying on the cross in obedience to his Father’s will and for our own salvation.
And then, secondarily and as an organic conse-quence of the primary object, all the others, including those who give trouble to us. We have to have a universal scope in our eagerness to serve. We should not discriminate against anyone. We have to serve all as they need to be served, that is, the way Christ served everyone.
We have to learn the art of serving which will require of us complete self-forgetfulness, rejecting all the rights that we have, something that definitely will require supernatural grace for us to live by it, and simply assuming all the duties and respon-sibilities to-ward God and every-body else.
The standard is Christ’s way of serving all of us, which ultimately took the form of giving his life as a ransom for many. (cfr Mk 10,45) We have to start widening and loose-ning our very restrictive human concept of serving others.
Do we always think of the others? Do we take the initiative to find ways to help and serve them in some way? Do we readily empathize with them in their difficulties and misfortunes? Are we willing to make sacrifices for them, willing to part some money, comfort, even our reputation just to help them? Are we convinced that by doing so, we truly become like Christ? Do we experience a sense of fulfillment when doing so?
Every day we should be able to serve others in many ways from the moment we wake up till the time we drop to rest at night. It should start with prayers and some sacrifices. And then all throughout the day, in the different situations we find ourselves in, we should nourish this eagerness to serve others.
Are we aware that by serving others the way Christ continues to serve us, we are helping in the ongoing work of man’s salvation? We should never forget this redemptive character of service. It is what would give meaning to it and motivate us to give ourselves to God and others completely. Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enter-prise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org