Yesterday’s reflection focused on the necessity of having the appropriate mindset and positive attitude when confronting adversities and striving to fulfil our responsibilities as God’s children. The key lies in our willingness to trust God with all our hearts. As well, we now understand that there is nothing terrifying about the devil on his own but we must be cautious against his ploy. But what is his trickery on this topic of “many things”?
On Day five of this retreat, we explored the phenomenon of busy-ness; most of us feel overwhelmed with busy-ness without knowing why and that we keep losing track of time for no reason.
The devil’s scheme is that he wants us to live a life devoid of clarity and purpose while labouring day-in and day-out; making us blind to our identity as God’s children, thus unable to fulfil our unique mission bestowed by God.
Just like that, we would have missed the most important purposes of life, that is, to walk the path of holiness, as well as accompany and lead more people to know and love God through evangelization and charitable works.
However, we cannot possibly achieve these ultimate goals in life without a plan. The devil’s conspiracy is to prevent and disrupt us from making proper life plans.
The testimonies of those who had come face to face with death have affirmed that the most important thing in life is not our work or accomplishments, but our relationships with others. However, since many people spend excessive time on work, they tend to neglect spending time on relationships with others, making these relationships vulnerable. Therefore, the primary target of the devil is this: to drive a wedge in and destroy our relationships; and certainly, he will, first, go after our closest relationships because that will affect and hurt us the most. The most obvious relationships are the one between God and ourselves as well as relationships in a marriage and family. This can explain why many people have left the Church, and the serious distortion and confusion in society’s understanding and definition of marital relationship.
We need to recognize that the devil is the father of lies (ref. John 8:44); he is also the master of “accusation” and “division”.
The devil often takes advantage of the situations when problems plague our relationships with our closest loved ones. He will try to incite misunderstanding and tear apart our relationships, and proceed in his work of creating further division. Our mutual accusations and arguments allow the devil to aggravate our unresolved emotional pains and baggage; giving him free-range of power to achieve his goal of fracturing our relationships with others. In this way, he keeps adding to our already heavy burden of “many things”; distracting us from achieving our ultimate goals in life. We can be certain that the devil will never ease up on his work of destruction; therefore, he will keep us busy and send us running in circles, until both our “self” and our most important relationships collapse. In extreme situations, we may fall prey to depression, or other emotional illnesses.
Even the most difficult problem in our “work” will have a solution; however, when deep fractures appear in “relationships”, extra effort and thoughtfulness are needed to resolve and mend them.
In addition, reconciliation also requires a lot of time. Similarly, the process of healing also takes a long time and lots of patience. In our impatient world, most people would choose the quickest and shortest way, leading to countless broken marriages and families. How our Heavenly Father has wept for us!
Such is the meticulous work of the devil, to turn our priorities upside down. Therefore, we cannot afford to ignore it!
If we are willing to devote more time on building and maintaining our relationships with one another, we will be able to avoid the devil’s scheme, save time and effort on reconciliation when problems arise, and avoid distractions from other important things in life.
How does this reflection help you to prioritize your time to balance “work” and “interpersonal relationships”?
Merciful and gracious Abba Father, not only are You the God of love and life, but also relationships. Forgive me of the times when I neglected some important relationships and caused harm. Grant me a heart, just like Yours, that is filled with compassion so that I may be able to nurture all the significant relationships in my life, particularly the relationship between my family and myself. Bestow on me sufficient wisdom and patience to tackle all the problems in my current relationships. Help me to persevere and learn from You, to be “slow to anger”. For this I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.