How to be like Christ?

ctionBy Fr. Roy Cimagala

 

IF we want to be like Christ as we should, since he is the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity, and since he has declared himself to be “the way, the truth and the life” for us, then we should learn how to forgive everyone, including those who have done us great wrong.

Let’s remember that Christ is first of all God who became man to save us. Since we have been created in God’s image and likeness, and the very essence of God is love, “Deus caritas est,” as St. John said, then we have to learn to love the way Christ loved us.

In fact, we have to convert ourselves into love, since that is how we can be like Christ—in fact, to be “another Christ” as we ought to be, if not “Christ himself” as a saint has said it quite directly. Christ is the very personification of love. If we want to know what and how love is, all we have to do is to look at Christ and imitate him in the way he dealt with the people in different situations and circumstances.

That is why Christ gave us the new commandment of loving one another as he himself has loved us. (cfr. Jn 15,12) Let us just remind ourselves, as Christ himself has shown us, that the fullness of this love is to forgive, to be merciful, and in doing that, we have to be willing to bear the burdens of the others, just like what Christ did and continues to do.

Love is not only wishing and doing others some good. That is already great, but that would not yet be the fullness of love. Our love should go all the way to bear all the burdens of the others, even willing to offer our life for that purpose, and to forgive everyone, or at least to offer forgiveness.

Christ did not wait for us to ask for forgiveness. He offers it. That’s why St. Paul said in his Letter to the Romans this wonderful argument: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5,7-8)

This argument about how Christ loves us so much is reiterated by St. Peter when he said: “He (Christ) himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Pt 2,24)

And Christ himself said that not only should we forgive those who may have wronged us seven times. We should forgive them seventy-seven times, meaning always. (cfr. Mt 18,21-22)

It’s really a tall order, but it can be done, since Christ told us so, and we know that more than us, he is the one who will enable us to do so. All we have to do is to cooperate with him as much as we can.

It would be good that we develop the virtues of compassion and mercy, the instinct of always understanding others, of avoiding keeping grudges and resentments, of always looking for the positive and constructive in the differences and conflicts we can have with others, etc.

This is how we can be like Christ!

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