Cultivating a universal heart

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

That's the heart of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It's also the heart we should try to cultivate, since he himself gave us the new commandment that summarizes and perfects all the previous commandments that "you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (Jn 13,34)

It's a love that covers everyone, including our enemies, the unlovable, the sinners, offenders, those who are wrong in a human issue and all others who for one reason or another we may have some reason not to love or like.

In fact, one sure sign our loving is authentic is when we include these people in our loving. Otherwise, our love is fake, no matter how fervently we profess it. Our love gets spoiled and deteriorates into self-righteousness.

Remember what our Lord said about this point. "If you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even the publicans do this?" (Mt 5,46)

Thus, our Lord explicitly said that we have to love our enemies, to do good to them that hate us and pray for those who persecute and calumniate us. This is how we are going to be identified as children of God who makes his sun to rise upon the good and bad, the rain on the just and the unjust.

Love by definition involves all and is given without measure or calculation. This essence of love is what breaks us loose from our limited human condition to make our world universal, not entangled in some parochial, partisan or isolationist grip.

Love matures and perfects us. It checks on our tendency to be self-seeking and self-absorbed so as to be "all things to all men." (1 Cor 9,22) It brings us not only to others, but rather to God himself, identifying us with him, for "God is love" and is the source of love.

This love is what properly measures out our true dignity and value as persons and children of God. It's not just some wisdom or knowledge or talents and any human power. It's love, dude!

It's high time that we understand the need for true love, the love of Christ, to give ourselves a universal heart. It's not the sciences, the philosophies and the ideologies, no matter how good and useful they are, that can accomplish this.

We have to disabuse ourselves from this mentality that, sadly, is constantly nourished and reinforced by some secularist and pagan thinking that's dominating our world today.

We have to go beyond them. That's why there's a need to develop the appropriate attitudes and virtues, all done in the context of God's grace, for nothing succeeds without God's grace.

We have to learn to be patient, and to be "rich in mercy and slow to anger." We have to know how to take on different and even conflicting positions in human issues without undermining our love for one another. Let's always be sport with one another.

This surely means we have to learn how to discipline our feelings and passions, knowing when to talk and when not. We have to learn how to convert difficult, humiliating moments into moments of graciousness and magnanimity. Humiliations deepen our humility that is so necessary in life.

We have to avoid bearing grudges or worse, nurturing animosities.

Let's remember that whatever happens, we are all men and women, children of God, who are obliged to love one another. Our differences and conflicts play some strategic role in our spiritual life.

We have to learn how to be positive, encouraging and optimistic in our tack to problems instead of sinking into pessimism and hostility. We can never overdo in our efforts to learn the finer details of tact and diplomacy.

We have to increasingly polish and refine our manners so as to keep the bonds of unity amid unavoidable differences among ourselves. We will always be human as to always need affection, and it should be generously given. Let's never forget that we can choose to make these differences to enrich us rather than destroy us. It's always a matter of choice.

We have to learn how to drown evil with an abundance of good, dispel darkness with light. We have to understand that ignorance, confusion and error are not corrected by truth alone, but by truth given in charity always. This is even if we have to make corrections that need to be given clearly and vigorously.

Given the present world's plunge to specialized knowledge and ego-trip-prone technologies that inevitably generates divisions, we have to double up our efforts to cultivate this universal heart.



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