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The WOEs and WOWs of Life Part 2 of 2

Fr. Francis Ongkingco



In the first part about the WOEs (Words Of Encouragement), we came up with helpful ideas for those who are recovering from some trials or struggles in their life.

Now we are going to see some WOWs (Words Of Wisdom). These are for persons who are doing fine but sense they can still do better. Again, as with the WOEs, there is no particular order in the list.
Here are some helpful WOWs:

• High fives and also lows. Being high is grace is also a grace. One will even gain higher ground if he often recalls his own low moments from where God has raised him up with His mercy.
• Impossible is something. Sometimes we may experience we’re good and that things are definitely better than before. But all this wouldn’t have been possible if it were not for God’s grace. Never forget that the impossible, that is, the supernatural life is attained always and only with His help.
• Your Profile pic. Never be satisfied with a generic or anonymous spiritual life. Every person’s love for God is unique. Know yourself and discover what is yours, and only yours to give to God and neighbor.
• Just do it… Now! A wonderful cliché is to simply think about doing something good but never putting it into action. Pray, Plan, and Proceed with action.
• Get used to saying ENOUGH! St. Josemaría often said: ‘Get used to saying NO.’ It can be further developed with ‘saying ENOUGH’ to superfluous material things and plans that do nothing more than distract us and make us inefficient in our apostolic mission.
• SMILE. Don’t forget you have no reason at all to never SMILE. I always say that the word S.M.I.L.E. expresses to others what’s in your heart: Simply Means I Love Everyone!
• Occasions of grace. Now that one has learned, with God’s grace, to be wiser in avoiding sinful occasions, he must eagerly turn his attention to discovering occasions of grace and leading others to them.
• Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade! There is a frenzy for upgrading gadgets nowadays. Together with material things, and more importantly, let us upgrade our spiritual and moral life. Let us remember St. Augustine’s wise advice: ‘He who does not daily advance spiritually is already taking a step backwards.’
• Good > bad. You don’t have to know math in order to understand that good is greater than bad. Good is more natural to man than evil. Even though experience shows it is difficult to do good (arduous and lasting) than to avoid evil (instant gratification but fleeting), we should just keep on doing good (habit) and drown evil in the process. There are more good things to do in a given day, than bad ones!
• You’re Bad if you’re ONLY Good. The young often say, ‘I’m good!’ to mean they’re okay. In the spiritual life, however, virtue isn’t about being good but about being HOLY. One cannot remain comfortably in some middle ground between virtue and vice and think he’s good. This only clears a path for mediocrity and lukewarmness.
• Look at the bigger picture. Improving in the spiritual life is one thing, the other is discovering that improvement is meant for something bigger. Have a sense of mission. You’re not struggling alone! God has a bigger plan for you, ask Him about it!
• Concretize, don’t dramatize. Every now and then you get discouraged with some small weakness or fall. Don’t fall into sentimentalism or a victim complex. This only reveals your hidden pride. Objectively identify your fault, its causes, concretize and apply the remedies.
• Feel, don’t chill. There’s no problem to chilling. But sometimes it comes close to indifference when we are no longer sensitive to the feelings and conditions of those around us (i.e. our parents, the poor, the beggars, and the sick).
• Aim high but at something. The sky isn’t the limit in the spiritual adventure. In fact, there is no limit because the object of our love is God who is infinite. In any case, we reach the infinite when we unite ourselves to God’s infinite love in carrying out our finite earthly duties with silence, cheerfulness, and constancy.
• What goes up doesn’t always come down. According to the law of spiritual gravity, we should never expect anything in return for what we offer God and our neighbors. And if we are ever praised for whatever good we do, then let us lift it up to Him as well.
• Invisible is visible. Never get discouraged when you don’t see results in your spiritual life and apostolate. The very effort you invest is a visible proof of your trust and love for God. If He sees your perseverance, He will take care of what you and I on our part can never do.
• Make big small, and small big. Like the saints, we can do more when we put more love in the smallest things we do. Thus, we learn to discover God’s presence and serve Him constantly in our most ordinary daily duties. Moreover, like God’s “favorites”, the saints and the blessed struggled to “make little” of what the world considers big: trials, illness, misunderstandings, possessions, power, and wealth. Instead, they sought out the “hidden pearl of great price” in the most common occurrences of life.
• Home court advantage. Always take your spiritual life to the next level. Victories are never ensured when we choose to play in the devil’s playground (sloth). Instead, let us engage life and others in our spiritual home court. Concretize daily, weekly, and monthly targets in your prayer, the Sacraments, professional and social duties, and in carrying out in the best possible manner your apostolic mission or ministries where God has called us to love and serve.

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