When an idiot is better than a genius

THE comparison may sound crazy, but it is helpful to highlight a basic truth of our faith. And that is, irrespective of whatever human condition we may be in, we should not forget that we have to be with God. Our life is supposed to be in communion with God always. We have to do our part to make that ideal real in our life.

Thus, to dramatize this point more vividly, we can say that we should rather have the IQ of an idiot but with God than that of a genius but without or, worse, against God. It does not really matter how our condition is in our life here on earth. What really matters is that we believe and love God and make use of whatever condition we have to show that belief and love for God.

We should therefore try our best that with his grace we slowly and steadily become more and more like God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, since God wants us to be his image and likeness, children of his, meant to participate in his very own life.

In concrete terms, we should see to it that the very substance of our consciousness is not only of ourselves, but also and most especially of God, and that whatever we think, desire, say and do is done not only by ourselves but also with and for God.

That might sound too much for us to believe, let alone, to carry out. We, with all our weaknesses, mistakes and sins, will always feel unworthy to share in God’s nature and life. We might be tempted to say, “Tell it to the Marines!”

But that is what our Christian faith consistently teaches us, supported by the fact that despite all our sinfulness, God continues to love us and to forgive us through the sacrifice of Christ, the son of God who became man to save us. Besides God through Christ in the Spirit has given us all the means so we can be as we should be.

This point is underscored in that parable about the two sons who were asked by their father to work in the vineyard. (cfr. Mt 21, 28-32) The first son at first said no to the request, but later on obeyed his father. The second said yes at first, but then did not actually comply with what he said.

Of course, between the two, it was the first son who actually loved his father by doing what was requested despite his initial refusal, while the second was just good in words and intentions but not in action, and therefore did not truly love his father.

The parable concluded with Christ saying: “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you (referring to the self-righteous leading Jews at that time). For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” (Mt 21, 31-32)

Again, this point is underscored in that correction Christ made on his apostles who were arguing about who among them was the greatest.  Christ told them, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18, 3-4)

Compared to the powers and accomplishments of the mature apostles, the child is nothing. But it is the child’s purity of heart that God values more. It is that heart that shows pure belief and love for God.

St. Paul somehow corroborated all this when he said: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise…the weak things of the world to shame the strong…” (1 Cor 1, 27)

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

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