Christmas and plasticity
Christmas somehow reminds me about plasticity, because Christmas is about God adapting himself to the condition and ways of men, and plasticity is precisely about adaptability.
God becomes man, all the way to being conceived, born and to go through the whole range of human development, so that God can truly identify himself with us with the view of giving us, men, a way to identify ourselves with Him. What is ours becomes his, so that what is his can become ours.
This is because we have been made in his image and likeness, and adopted to be children of his, who with his grace are meant not only to belong to him, but also to take part in the very life itself of God. That’s who we really are!
Thus, we need to purify, clarify and widen our understanding of plasticity, since it’s a notion that seems to get stranded in the negative side only, as in, it simply means hypocrisy, pretension, what is fake and a bogus.
Of course, we use many objects made of plastic, and we have no problem about that. In fact, we are happy about it. But again, it seems we are happy about it only when it is applied to objects, but not to us, as persons.
That state of affairs is actually an issue to be resolved. We, as persons and especially as children of God who have to try our best to be another Christ, if not Christ himself (alter Christus, ipse Christus), have the power of plasticity which we have to use.
Obviously, it can be misused and, in fact, has been abused and misused. That’s why, that word seems to be stuck in the mire of its abuse. But it need not be so. In fact, it should not be so. Plasticity is part of our human nature that has to be used, and used properly, of course.
Plasticity refers to our capacity to adapt to any situation and circumstance, to any person and event. Ultimately, it lets us adapt to the highest calling of our being, which is to participate in the supernatural life of God.
It involves the power to be flexible, to be, as St. Paul once said, “all things to all men, to be able to save all.” (1 Cor 9,22). Plasticity entails the interplay of our bodily and material dimension as it impacts with our intelligence and will, our memory and imagination, our emotions and psychological condition.
Those in theater and in the arts make use of plasticity a lot, since they have to reinvent themselves many times to adapt themselves to the roles they are given to play.
In the world of professional work, business and politics, plasticity is used so as to be able to flow with the times, to read and discern the changing needs and circumstances, and to tackle them adequately.
In the art of rhetoric, plasticity is very much in demand since those involved need to know how to adapt to the character, the emotional state and the thinking and reasoning of their audience so as to be persuasive.
For this, they need to be able to read minds, if not the very soul of their audience, and to lengthen and widen their capacity to adjust to each character. If, for example, one is able to distinguish between the Cebuano character and the Boholano character and to adjust to each, then he has greater plasticity.
The greatest use of plasticity is in the demands of charity, for in this regard we are asked not only to love in general, but to love everybody including our enemies, and to love all the way, even to death.
Plasticity is needed because in the end we have to adjust to the will of God to the point that like Christ, we can repeat to ourselves that we do nothing other to do the will of God our Father.
Obviously, we need to develop our plasticity. And this involves a lot of things. What is first needed is to ask for the grace of God, since nothing happens properly without that grace. And from there, an endless list of exercises have to be done to make is grow.
Thus, if we are always aware of this need, we can grow old and rickety, but at least in our mind and heart which influence our bodily state, we will always remain agile, young and vibrant.
When we see the “belen,” let’s try thinking about the requirements of plasticity as shown by Christ, God-become-man!*