Broad-minded, big-hearted

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

If we have to approximate our ideal of being Christ-like as much as possible, I imagine these are some of the qualities we have to develop. We need to be broad-minded and big-hearted.

We have to be open and quick to understand everyone as he is, without being easily offended or scandalized by the fact that he can be different or that, in our understanding, he is wrong in something, including in thing like faith and morals.

We too should be big-hearted in the sense of being generous, kind, magnanimous, not shying away from undertaking big endeavors for the good of all without being afraid of the cost.

Every day, let’s try to grow at least a step forward in this direction, no matter how small it may be. To become more broad-minded, we need to expose ourselves to more people of different conditions, backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, outlooks, etc.

For this, we need to socialize a great deal, getting in touch with people from all walks of life, rich and poor, the saintly and the sinner, the young and the old, etc. The ideal is for us to become friends with everyone, able to talk and enter into a meaningful relationship with them. As much as possible there should be no barrier separating us from others.

And since our physical contact with people will always be limited, we can make use of the many other means to enable us to know more and more people. This can be through reading materials, social media, and the new communication technologies.

This needs great effort for us to transcend without suppressing our unavoidable biases and preferences, especially the legitimate ones. Definitely in this department, having a sporty spirit and a good sense of humor will help.

Also, developing a keen interest in everyone, no matter how different from us, would be helpful. We should be eager to listen, to quickly find areas of common ground rather than getting stuck with faults and differences, so we can create a meaningful connection with everyone.

Yes, we have to learn how to be adaptable to everyone, creative and versatile in dealing with everyone the way they are. We gain much more than we what we may lose or give up in being adaptable, creative, and versatile.

Also, we need to be big-hearted, giving ourselves to others as much as we can. Prudence and discretion play a part in our self-giving, but shouldn’t stand in the way of the ideal to be generous, magnanimous, and munificent.

We have to train ourselves in this department in a more serious way because while it’s true we have limitations in our capabilities, we often don’t do anything to move these limitations farther away. We get accustomed to them, then contented with them.

To have a big heart will always involve sacrifice, but a smiling and optimistic one, not the sad and depressive type. It has to reflect what Christ did for us — being God he emptied himself to become man and offered his life on the cross for our salvation. No one can be as big-hearted as that. With God’s grace and our effort, we should try to approximate that example.

Every day, let’s examine ourselves to see if there’s some improvement and growth in these crucial qualities that would resemble us with Christ more and more. We should identify the specific acts we did to be more broad-minded and big-hearted.

In the end, what should come out clear is that our relationship with others improves in quality and grows in quantity.