Leveling down, leveling up

IN our relationships, given all the differences we have among ourselves, we need to learn the art of leveling down and leveling up. We have to learn how to adapt ourselves to how each one is, so a good connection can be established without compromising what is essential in our life and dignity as a person and child of God.

And the perfect model for this is none other than Christ himself, who leveled down from his divinity to our humanity in order to level up our humanity to his divinity. So, obviously, for us to know how to level down and level up in our relationships, we need to be vitally identified with Christ.

Consider how Christ leveled himself down to be with us. St. Paul described it so vividly when he said: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage.

“Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross.” (Phil 2,5-8)

Christ did all this out of his love for us who are meant to be his image and likeness. Yes, Christ wants us to be like him—in fact, to be “another Christ,” with the same mind and heart, and sharing the same life.

Christ identifies himself with us, assuming not only our nature but also the consequences of sin, including death, without committing sin at all. He does this so we can also have a way of identifying ourselves with God.

We can just imagine what practical consequences can flow from this truth of our faith! Like Christ, we need to be humble always. We have to be ready to suffer, bearing all the inconveniences of having to adapt to everyone to such an extent that as St. Paul would put it, we can be “all things to all men.” (1 Cor 9,22)

Like Christ, we have to learn how to be flexible and creative, trying to seek the proper wavelength to be able to communicate with others effectively. That is why Christ used parables to transmit very mysterious and supernatural truths to the people.

So we have to know how to deal with all kinds of people—intellectuals and laborers, rich and poor, young and old, the geniuses and the idiots, the pious and the worldly, the saintly and the sinners, the straight, the gays and whatever, etc. We can have the heart of Christ that is universal in the scope of his concern.

As Pope Francis once said, if we really want to be good shepherds of everyone, we should not mind acquiring the smell of the sheep, unafraid to get dirty with them without compromising the essential.

And like Christ, we have to learn how to be consistently obedient to the will of God while adapting ourselves to everyone. We have to learn how not to get confused and lost in the process. We have to be clear about what the real and ultimate purpose is in our relationships with everyone.

Thus, we really need to pray and make sacrifices, and have recourse to the sacraments, especially Confession and the Holy Eucharist, continually develop virtues, etc., so that our identification of Christ becomes tighter and tighter.

It is in this way that we can sort of loosen up and manage to make the necessary changes and adaptations to be with both God and men as they are. It is in this way that we can let go of our earthly attachments that prevent us from adapting ourselves with everyone.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com