Grace to you!
Every human being has his or her defaults. They are those behavioral traits or attitudes we always fall back to, especially when we let down our guard. I know some of my defaults, thanks, in part, to feedback from friends and family. For instance, I struggle with dealing with people who tell lies. It gets to me. Another is that I love nice clothes and polished shoes. If heaven is for people who care less about how they dress, I think I would work harder to make it to heaven. There are other things, like some expressions I use more readily than others during spoken communications.
I don't know if you have discovered your defaults too. Leadership research shows everyone has their defaults. There is nothing wrong about that, especially when those defaults aren't evil. Defaults are expressions of our personality. They are our traits. They could be a blessing, contributing to our uniqueness as individuals. They could also be a hindrance to a virtuous life. Here is how.
Often, our defaults build on our background and our culture. Gradually they mix with our norms and morals. Indeed, they become part of our tradition. We love our tradition, and we own it. But if some aspects of that tradition, no matter how they grew, do not glorify God and promote love for all, we may remain with that default. It blocks the way for redemption to take place.
Don't suppose I am talking about native or cultural traditions only. I am also thinking of traditions among faith communities in the Church. See them as the way we do things and the beliefs, attitudes, and values we imbibe. Sometimes, Godly traditions can intermingle with our defaults that do not honor God, and we find it hard to separate the two. I would use what happened to me to show an example.
I often sit in a particular spot of the chapel when I come for my early morning private Eucharistic Adoration, Bible meditation, and prayers. One day, I went into the chapel and found someone was already occupying my space. It was about 4:00 am. Did you know I was so uncomfortable taking another position in that chapel? By the way, the chapel has over 20 empty pews. It took me some minutes to get that off my mind and quiet down and pray.
I know many people, like me, who can't concentrate during church fellowship because somebody has taken the spot where they sit. It's a default that can be a barrier to inner peace.
In the Gospel of Mark 7:1-13, the Lord addressed this issue. He condemned sticking to traditions that are not Godly. Such are traditions that make it difficult to worship God in Spirit and Truth. They are traditions that prevent us from loving one another. They hinder peace and growth. The Lord wants us to stick to those traditions that build God's kingdom. Godly traditions are redemptive.
If I may ask, have you discovered your defaults, those things you fall back on, and cherish? They may be an obstacle to a Godly life, barriers to love, and peace. They may be those things that distract you from your goals in life. How about consider doing some re-examination? Don't be shy to seek feedback from friends and families. They may help you see your blind spots.
If you know your defaults, you may want to ask the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit to keep them in line with the redeeming tradition. God has revealed the redemptive way in Christ. He continually renews it in the Church. Trust God. There is redemption taking place even when something is a habit.
I pray for the renewal that comes from within through the Spirit. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 5:1Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30; Mk 7:1-13]
Photo source; Cathopic.com
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.