Love unites and builds
- Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2012 - 12:00am

“Whoever is not against you is for you.” (Lk 9,50) What wonderful words coming from the lips of Christ! He wants us to be broad-minded, not narrow-minded, tolerant, not intolerant. He wants us to seek first what unites us, rather than get entangled with what divides us.

With these words, Christ wants us to live the whole array of virtues that organically flow from true charity: magnanimity, mercy, positive and constructive outlook, optimism and affability, tact and decorum, patience and self-restraint, discretion and good sense of timing, etc.

We have to learn how to discipline our mind and tongue. Remember what St. James said: “The tongue no man can tame, an unquiet evil, full of deadly poison. By it we bless God and the Father. And by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God...My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (3,8-10)

Yes, we may be discriminating in our views in the sense that we should try to give our best ideas when reacting to any issue or situation. But we should never be discriminatory in the sense that we look down on those views we consider to be inferior or different from ours.

True charity does not blind us to what is really wrong, immoral or imprudent. It does not lead us to an anything-goes and anarchic world. But it knows how to handle these situations properly, following the principle of “fortiter in re, suaviter in modo.” It knows how and where to be strict, and how and where to be lenient.

St. Paul has these pertinent beautiful words: “Charity is patient, is kind. Charity envies not, deals not perversely, is not puffed up. It’s not ambitious, seeks not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinks no evil. It rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13, 4-7)

We have to be wary of our tendency to fall into self-righteousness and bitter zeal, the usual diseases of the so-called brilliant people or those endowed with special talents and other natural gifts. They—we—are prone to pride and vanity that lead us to these sweet but toxic predicaments.

These questionable attitudes usually show themselves when we tend to have the last word always, when we want other people to always defer to our opinions, when we fail to consult others before making decisions, when we feel we are superior to others, etc. We should immediately shoot down any spark of these attitudes as soon as they come.

Humility is a must, because humility is the truth, as one saint put it. It leads us to be objective and fair in our judgments and dealings with others. It vitally connects us wih God always, the source of all good things.

Especially in our days when our relationships are often marked by differences and even conflicts of opinions, we need to be truly humble to be able to hold our horses and conduct our exchanges in a truly human and Christian way. Otherwise, we would just go ballistic.

We also need to understand that our differences and conflicts in views and positions regarding many issues are not necessarily bad or negative developments. They can be good, because they are really part of our human condition. We are meant to have different views of things.

Imagine if we have a uniform or monochrome world! What a bore it would be! What impoverished vision of things we would have!

In a way, it’s good to stimulate these differences even. These differences and conflicts foster greater understanding of things, detaching us from our own little world and narrow mindset to lead us to the bigger, more universal picture. Indeed, they can be our good and necessary teachers in life. They can broaden our mind and heart.

We therefore need to see to it that we are truly anchored on Christ, on his teaching and example, as also shown in the lives of saints. It’s only in that condition that we can manage, with God’s grace, to have that love for others that truly unites and builds, rather than divides and destroys.

Of course, we have to understand that this Christian way can involve a lot of suffering, as in being misunderstood, persecuted, ridiculed, mocked and insulted, ostracized and branded. We have to be ready for these possibilities. And so it is good not to be too sensitive and to learn how to be sport always.

Fortitude is another requirement in this game of our earthly life.



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