Today, the President announced the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) till May 15, 2020. Whilst deemed as a conservative move to flatten the COVID infections, nonetheless, it came as a disappointment for me. With less than a week to go, I was already anticipating the joy of celebrating life after the ECQ. However, my expectations were dampened by the unexpected extension of the lockdown.

To help calm down my restlessness, I opened my laptop and started to reflect on one of the points that St. Josemaria Escriva wrote in his book, The Way, as follows:

Point # 6     Turn your back on the deceiver when he whispers in your ear, "Why complicate your life?".

For those anticipating the joy of celebrating life after the ECQ, Point # 6 is a forewarning not to be lulled into complacency and lukewarmness. On the contrary, it is a clarion call to think positive and be open to a “complicated” life,

Danger of Falling Back into Complacency

Life post ECQ will be different. The issue confronting us now is: Should I complicate my life or not? To go for the latter, we expose ourselves to possible risk of complacency or apathy. It calls to mind the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). In the gospel narration, St. Luke writes about this young man who asked for his share of inheritance from his father. Subsequently, he “set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.” (Luke 15:13). In sum, he found himself in dire need; and, returned to his father, who forgave him.

As may be gleaned from the above parable, the prodigal son wanted a life that was laid back. In other words, he just wanted to live a life of debauchery – wine, women & song. It was a lifestyle that relied on inherited money so no need for work. For the prodigal son, he was just living a simple, uncomplicated life replete with the pleasures of life; and, yet, devoid of any responsibility. One may ask – Is this what life is all about?

Celebrating Life after the ECQ

On the other hand, there are those who want to “complicate their lives”. These are people who are not afraid to confront challenges that may come along the way. Interestingly enough, they are persons characterized by true grit. Surprisingly, it doesn’t require rocket science to develop the virtue of true grit. How, then, can one develop such virtue?

  1. Need to have ambition. Life after the ECQ is not dead but rather worth living for. It is still worth it to dream big. However, it’s good to be mindful of the adage that St. Josemaria Escriva often told to his colleagues, “Dream and your dreams will fall short!” This is simply to underline the importance of initiative, creativity and conviction in pursuing the dream.
  2. Put your heart into it. We all come from different walks of life. Whatever your state in life is, it is good not to lose hope but rather put your heart into it. As an example, before one decides to embark on a significant move in life, that is, pursuing a career, entering into marriage, etc., it is advisable to seriously reflect on the ulterior motive of such a move. If done with the right reason i.e. love for the spouse-to-be in the case of marriage, then, such a commitment would prove to be more enduring.
  3. Trust in the Almighty. The future is fraught with risks and uncertainties. The best plans can be laid to waste. The best insurance is to plan with the help of the Almighty God.

In closing, I would dare say: it makes a lot of sense to dream big. It is good to reflect on the exhortation of God to Abraham -“Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.” (Gen 15:5).


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