Sunset at Boracay Beach. Watching out for the new phoenix rising.
Sunset at Boracay beach, Photo library of TalinMan

Despite the massive socio-economic damages inflicted upon the community of nations by COVID-19, it is notable to see that a new phoenix is rising. We see the emergence of the new class of self-sacrificing people. They are personified by medical professionals and practitioners, teachers, essential goods personnel, utility workers, peace & order forces, etc. These come from the ranks of virtually unknown persons who have come to the fore in response to the needs of their communities. These are the new breed of heroes that will sustain this new phoenix arising.

Is this a sign of brighter and better things to come? The answer lies in the heart of man. For indeed, if the fire of love is burning in one’s heart, then, there is every reason to believe that this new phoenix will continue to rise. Otherwise, if there is no love in one’s heart, then, for sure, it will die soon. Without love, it’s easy to find excuses to avoid doing one’s obligations. In fact, obligations become burdensome and hateful.

Excuses: a Bane to the New Phoenix Rising

As nations grapple with the shape and size of the new phoenix arising, St. Josemaria propounds a simple rule to aid everyone, namely:

Point no. 21

Excuses. You will always find plenty if you want to avoid your obligations. What a profusion of well-thought-out nonsense! Don’t stop to consider it. Dismiss it and do your duty.

St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way

In essence, St. Josemaria’s point no. 21 delivers a piece of a very practical decision-making tool for everyday use. For instance, you may find yourself being presented with an opportunity to serve; but, then, you easily find an excuse to evade it. In such a case, St. Josemaria admonishes us to do the more prudent thing, that is, to take time out to dig deeper into the root of it. Otherwise, one would risk falling habitually into the trap of saying “no” to opportunities for service or self-improvement through the use of convenient excuses.

A Techno-centric World

Interestingly, as the world crosses over to the third decade of the 21st century, man has seemingly reached the apex of social, political and economic development. We see a modern world largely driven by social media, information technology, and the internet. We have come to realize that the power of dominance rests upon the ubiquity of social media and the advent of artificial intelligence and other hi-tech applications. Truly, these resources have shaped and influenced the modern man’s way of thinking and behavior. Indeed, man has learned to embrace this new lifestyle.

However, just as technology has enhanced man’s productivity; so, too, it has exposed the vulnerabilities of man. The heightened use of social media during the pandemic has sown its unintended consequences, which could prove perilous for man. A case in point: during this COVID19 lockdown, there has been a significant rise in domestic violence, the use of illegal drugs, depression, and other mental illnesses. Sadly, such incidences may be attributed to the excessive use of social media, which is referred to as “screen addiction“. Doomscrolling1 and doomsurfing2 have dominated the waking hours of modern man, rendering man’s ability to step back and reflect inutile.

21st Century: The Golden Age for Man

Moreover, the meteoric rise of technology and social media has unleashed myriads of data in the cyberworld, virtually empowering every man on the street with access to resources for knowledge and development. We are now seeing the golden age of man to have the wherewithdal to develop himself to the fullest. Lest one decides to remain stuck, foolish and idle, there is no more room for excuses anymore. Thankfully, today we are witnessing an era wherein the erstwhile great barrier between the haves and the have-nots has been virtually obliterated.

In closing, man has been gifted by God with the treasure, that is, freedom. Every day, we have the golden opportunity to choose between what is good or not. It is, therefore, incumbent upon each one of us to exercise our individual right to use our freedom wisely. I would dare say that there is no more room for excuses. Junk excuses and just do it!


1 “an excessive amount of screen time devoted to the absorption of dystopian news.”-Mark Barabak, the Los Angeles Times

2 ibid.

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