Focus and emphasis

WITH THE many and even endless things that we have to attend to everyday, it is important that we maintain a certain focus and know which parts deserve more emphasis and highlight.

At least, this effort will avert the likely possibility of us falling into routine and feeling and sounding flat and bland in our pronouncements. It will help us organize and rally all our faculties in a certain direction and structure that hopefully will facilitate understanding.

Obviously, the constant and underlying focus of everything that we do should be God. As St. Paul said, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10, 31) God should be the beginning and end of everything, as well as the in-between. There should be no other motive.

But we need to translate that ideal into concrete details. This would presume that we make some daily plans and strategies, a habit that we should cultivate assiduously. We just cannot be fully subject to chance or to the unstable movements of our feelings and moods, and the other conditionings that we all have. In fact, many times, we need to go against them, since they can clearly go against the will of God.

One of the first things that we need to do as we wake up in the morning, for example, is to already have a good view of how the day will be for us. We need to know the different activities and events that will take place, the people we are likely to meet and deal with, the goals we want to reach and the resources that we will be needing.

Of course, we cannot be in full control of things. There will always be some surprises, some unexpected events, not to mention the fluctuations of our physical and emotional conditions, etc. We need to be flexible as well. But there is no doubt that we need some basic structure, a basic daily schedule that can guide us during the day.

And of all the items in that daily schedule, we should try to put some order, giving priority to one or two of them. It is important that we arouse ourselves to excitement to that one or two things that we are giving priority over the others. The net effect should be that we feel always driven to do things with a clear sense of direction.

As much as possible we should avoid the feeling that we are just doing things at random. That would be a sure formula for tiredness and boredom. After some time, we would feel empty or simply used, and things would start to appear as meaningless to us.

And in every activity that we do, we should try to identify which part should be given emphasis, so that the whole thing would have some attractive and appealing structure and texture that hopefully would elicit interest not only for oneself but also for the others who are somehow involved or affected by that activity.

In making a speech or a homily, for example, we have to do some outline and have a clear idea of the main point that we need to bring out. It is to this main point that we should put all the “lightning and thunder.” Let’s never forget that people in general usually give their immediate attention when they are shaken.

The whole thing should be developed in such a way that right at the start, people’s attention should already be caught. And that attention should be kept by leading the people to a certain climax. As much as possible, the audience should have the sensation that they are in some guided adventure.

With constant practice, this ideal can be turned into reality!


Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City ([email protected])/PN


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