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Be like an eagle, not a hen

By Fr. Roy Cimagala,
October 10, 2016

YES, let’s be like an eagle, soaring quietly high up in the sky, having a good, extensive view of the things on the ground, and not like cackling barnyard hen whose flight is low and is mainly done to escape something or to boast to the whole world that it has just laid an egg. The hen, of course, has a very limited view of things.

The other thing about the eagle is that in spite of the tremendous altitude that it can climb, it has a sharp vision that can see even a running rodent on the ground and has the agility to swoop down quickly to catch its prey. That’s really quite a combination. This can never be said of the hen.

I know that it is unfair to compare a hen with an eagle. Each one has its own nature and purpose for being. But for our sake, we can compare ourselves to them because as human beings, we have the choice to assume the qualities of an eagle or those of a hen.

To be like an eagle can mean to think big instead of being contented with small, petty things. It can mean to take on more and more responsibilities, instead of being contented with what we are having at the moment.

We can always do more. With our spiritual nature, the possibilities for growth and improvement are infinite. This simply corresponds to the fact that the demands of our own sanctification and the needs of other people about whom we should always be concerned are also infinite.

To be like an eagle can mean expanding our generosity instead of simply being self-satisfied with our current state of charity. It can mean pushing ourselves up to the next level in every aspect of our life. We should never be contented with the status quo, no matter how good it already is. Let’s remember the saying that “the good is the enemy of the best.”

It can mean to be always zealous in any endeavor we do, instead of simply being complacent and lukewarm. It can mean to be a maximalist rather than a minimalist, contented with a passing mark.

That’s what happens when one is in love. He is not contented with doing things just to get by. He does things to the best of his abilities, always seeking new frontiers of creativity, effectiveness and efficiency. That’s simply because love is giving not only things but his own self without measure. That’s love most intrinsic law. It’s given without measure.

We need to learn to adopt this kind of lifestyle. It’s not going to be easy, of course. Many things have to be resolved and mastered. We have to contend with our tendencies to be self-centered, to be attached to things, to be materialistic, complacent, cold or lukewarm, etc. But with God’s grace, our full trust in God’s ways matched with our efforts, we can enter and flow in this amazing dynamics of true love.

Truth is for this love to develop and grow, we do not need some special moments and opportunities to trigger it. Any occasion, any event, no matter how small and, humanly speaking, insignificant can be a golden privilege to live heroism that is inseparable from loving.

Another reason why we have to be like an eagle in our spiritual and moral life rather than just be like a chicken is that when we have an outlook and lifestyle that can be characterized as big-hearted, eager to do big things without neglecting the fine details, and magnanimous, we can more easily handle the many weaknesses and temptations that will always hound us.

A person stuck in petty things is an easy target of his own weaknesses and the temptations around. He tends to be lazy and narrow-minded, unable to develop the resistance to bear things and the strength to move forward.

A phenomenon that is getting common nowadays is that of many smart people with impressive accomplishments but who are unable to escape the bad allurements of the world and the subtle tricks of the devil.

And that’s simply because they have stopped growing and moving forward. They get self-satisfied with what they have already accomplished, showing in effect that all that effort was not really for God and for others, but simply for themselves, a clear contradiction to what loving is supposed to be.

We need to alert everyone about this danger. That’s why it’s good to keep in mind this comparison between the eagle and the hen.

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