‘Feel ko lang’

By: FR. FRANCIS ONGKINGCO June 30,2017 - 10:39 PM


A common expression, especially among Filipino youth, is “feel ko lang.” It is their usual response when they are invited to something or asked about what they plan to do.

Loosely translated, it can mean “as I see it” or simply “I feel like doing it.” Whatever the case may be, “feel ko lang” stands for a casual noncommittal stance that allows one enough legroom to politely disengage himself from any given situation.

The expression came to mind after reading an interesting insight from a recent document “Accompanying, Discerning, Integrating: A Handbook for the Pastoral Care of the Family According to Amoris Lætitia.” The handbook offers criteria to coherently read the challenging and controversial points raised by the Apostolic Exhortation.

I was struck by its commentary on one of the problems highlighted by Amoris lætitia: “To believe that we are good simply because we feel good is a tremendous illusion (no. 145)”

The handbook comments that this is the condition of a “utilitarian emotive subject” or someone “who judges external actions solely according to their utility and who is internally dominated by his or her feelings to the extent of being carried away by them in the formulation of his or her moral judgments (emotive).”

Thus, emotivism makes contemporary pastoral service difficult. It is “a carcinogenic cell that causes metastasis, even among Christians. (…) a veritable cancer, one that is particularly debilitating right at the moment when persons seek to give meaning to their lives and take the Gospel as their own, personal light.”

The danger behind a “feel ko lang” state leads one to avoid commitments and their consequences or to take accountability for one’s actions.

Emotivism creates a defensive wall around one’s “mediocre comfort zone” to keep out anything that could complicate one’s life, plans and attachments.

This, however, isn’t the only effect of emotivism. It also prevents one from growing in character forging habits (which require time and patience) that allow the person to cradle the immaterial essentials (i.e., prayer, forgiveness, compassions, magnanimity, etc.) of life, family and relationships.
Thus, the AL Handbook describes the toll emotivism is taking on the person and the family:

“From this, one can ascertain the reasons why so many Catholics no longer go to Mass because they do not feel like it, or stop praying because they do not feel anything. Likewise, one can understand why so many spouses break up their marriages because they no longer feel in love. (…) Whenever a person encounters an obstacle or adversity in her or his faith journey, it makes such a powerful impact that she or he vacillates and loses perspective.”
What are some ways to correct our falling into emotivism?

a) Begin with an end to your feelings. Despite what we may feel about things and people, we must identify and possess clear goals and ideal. We must base our choices upon them and clearly determine the means to achieve them.

b) Think and act on your feelings. Feelings are, as they are, only feelings. We must objectify them by thinking them through and realistically considering them along our real duties and goals in life and in relation to others.

c) Pray your feelings. It is not only helpful, but also consoling, to recall that Christ had feelings since He also Heart like ours. In fact, His divinity made Him feel things infinitely more. But He didn’t allow them to get the better of Him. When bogged down by feelings or emotions, let’s be sure to pray about them and offer them with Jesus.

d) Share your feelings. One way of avoiding the trap of emotivism is by sharing them with a wise guide/director. This is one of the best ways to acquire a more objective take on our feelings, situate them in their proper place and time, and be able to do what we ought, here and now.

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TAGS: care, CBEU, faith, family, feel, fgamily, God, KO, Lang

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