Aug. 23rd – Heart to Heart Chat from Fr. Ilango

My dear friends in Christ,

A phobia is generally an ‘irrational fear’, and that pang of anxiety when you are without your cell phone in this brave new connected world is perhaps an understandable feeling! But either way, for 66% of us, being with your phone at all times is an obsession that occupies every waking minute. If you think you may suffer from nomophobia – or ‘no mobile phone phobia’ – then the warning signs are: 1) An inability to ever turn your phone off; 2) Obsessively checking for missed calls, emails and texts; 3) Constantly topping up your battery life; 4) Being unable to pop into the bathroom without taking your phone in with you. The number of people afflicted with nomophobia was revealed in a study by SecurEnvoy, and shows a rise from a similar study four years ago, where 53% of people admitted the fear of losing their phone. Young adults – aged between 18 and 24 – tended to be the most addicted to their mobile phones, with 77% unable to stay apart for more than a few minutes, and those aged 25 to 34 followed at 68%. Worse than this fear of losing one’s phone is the anxiety about running out of battery. I bring this example in order to reflect on how to handle our daily anxieties as good disciples of Jesus.

When Martha was anxious about finishing her chores and offering the dinner to the guest on time, Jesus corrects her right away: “Martha Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” The words of Jesus could be misunderstood in many ways. He is not advising Martha and us not to work. It is not an encouragement to sit back and relax without doing anything. It is not about over emphasizing on sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His word. Contemplation and service are two indivisible dimensions of our one discipleship and following of Jesus. However, what Jesus was trying to correct in the life of Martha was not to get too focused on particular things of life that you tend to forget the powerful hand of God directing everything in your life. We can never allow the essence of our human life that is the true joy and peace of life being lost in the material things of life. We can have a ‘to do’ list every day. But that cannot be everything of our life where things take priority over the person’s life including God.

To talk about a phobia is an extreme stretch of our daily problem, but we all have our anxieties to deal with every day. What is the best way to stay out of this day to day problem? Spiritually speaking, let us open a day surrendering everything going to happen in that day to the bountiful mercy and generous love of God. Remind ourselves that he is the Master of our life for the whole day and we are just His stewards. Everything we do on this day is just an execution of things in God’s plan of salvation. If human pride and foolishness make us think that we are achieving something extraordinary on our own then seek the Lord’s help to offer the virtue of humility. Again it would be good to remind ourselves of the words of Jesus, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Let us enjoy every moment of our life as it is run by the powerful hand of God.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Xavier Ilango

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