Formation under the new normal
We know that our need for formation is a continuing one. It’s a never-ending affair. That’s because not only do we have to pursue the ideal of the fullness of our humanity, let alone, our Christian perfection—already a formidable, overwhelming task—but we also have to contend with the changing circumstances as we go along, which can be very tricky to us. And some of these changes can be drastic and radical!
We can imagine, for example, how things will be after this pandemic we are having at the moment. We cannot anymore do things the way we used to do them. There will be new challenges in many fronts—personal, professional, social, etc. The need for adaptation is going to be very exacting.
But we just have to find ways to adapt to the new or the next normal. Remember Christ saying, “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. For the patch will pull away from the garment, and a worse tear will result. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will spill, and the wineskins will be ruined. Instead, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Mt 9,16-17)
We have to take time to study how we can pursue this indispensable task of our continuing formation given the drastic changes and the new challenges of our times. It would be advisable to consult with some people who may give us new ideas and techniques, especially in the area of the new technologies.
Of course, it is important that we are very clear about what are truly essential in our formation—that God is the source and end of everything, that we have been created in his image and likeness, that we are meant to sanctify ourselves usually in the middle of the world and to help in the work of human redemption through our personal apostolate, that God meets us in all the circumstances of our life and invites us to love him and everyone else, etc.
For all these, we are supposed to be strong and stable humanly and spiritually, knowledgeable about the doctrine of our Christian faith that gives us the global picture of things. We have to learn how to pray and do the necessary practices of piety given the likely scenario that our days will have more things and more challenges.
We have to learn how to deal with our weaknesses, limitations, failures, temptations and sins. Of course, we also have to learn how to properly deal with our successes and achievements and the other good things in life that can spoil us if not handled well. Yes, we have to learn how to strike a good balance between the new and the old, our immediate requirements and our ultimate necessity.
We can imagine that the new or the next normal will require of us more resilience, patience and humility, since it is most likely that we will have to study new things. We may even have to change profession, not to mention our social and economic status. We should be ready to strengthen our spirit of sacrifice, otherwise we will likely fall into depression and the like.
In all this, we should try to maintain a calm and cheerful bearing and outlook, knowing that God takes care of everything, and that everything will work out for the good if we are with God. (cfr. Rom 8,28) We just have to learn how to be sport and game, considering these new challenges as some kind of a divinely-directed adventure.
Although we may not be able to avoid worrying completely, let us consider these worries as an occasion to get closer to God, begging him for some help, asking for some miracle if we want it, etc. Our spirit of divine filiation, that conviction that we are children of a good father who takes care of us in everything, should remain strong!