Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Knowing the Basics

"Everything we need in life is learned in kindergarten" is an insight often heard, suggesting that having a basic understanding of life is sufficient to live a good life. The desk columnist  of the Catholic Times would also like us to go back to the basics of our religion to improve our faith life. His reflection begins by noting that a drama on Korean TV, "The Chaser," which has become popular recently, is very entertaining, although it has no well-known stars and no romance, just a very simple story. But it  grabs the attention of the viewer, in his opinion, because it has the basics of a good drama: a captivating plot, well-crafted, with good acting and direction.

In studies and sports, and in many other endeavors, no matter the innate ability one may have, if we don't know the basics success is not possible. If a person in sports does not have the physical strength and know the basic requirements of the sport,  he will not go very far and will face frustration.

The basics are important in any field that one enters. In Korea, traffic accidents are mostly caused by failing to follow the basic rules of driving. It may not show up in the beginning, but one day it will.

In the spiritual life, when we are faced with tribulations and suffering, it will not be the techniques or abilities we may have that will overcome the difficulties. It will be knowing the basics: not trusting in yourself, but trusting in God and surrendering to him. It is getting to know Jesus and  doing what he wants; not merely going through some religious exercise. We have to truly live what we do; going through the motions, religiosity, is concern for the externals.

If we are to make head-way in the spiritual life, we need to check to see if we have the basics. This requires that we read and make an effort to live the life of a Christian. It means living not my way but God's way, searching for his will.  Without the basics, it is impossible to live the Christian life. It requires a love of God, continually relating with God in prayer, giving thanks, reading his word, and doing our utmost to live it.

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