Magnanimity amid all kinds of evil

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“YOU have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” (Mt 5,38-39)

Words of Christ that clearly tell us to be magnanimous amid unavoidable evils in this world. We just have to learn how to bear with everyone. Thus, we have to broaden our mind and heart to be able to accommodate everyone in our heart, including those who are different from us in some respects, and those who are precisely giving us trouble.

We have to learn to be magnanimous, knowing how to suffer since suffering is an unavoidable consequence of evil. In all this, we should never lose our peace and concern for everyone. In fact, those who have strayed, we have to seek out, just like what the shepherd did in the parable of the lost sheep (cfr. Mt 18,12-14)

Magnanimity is part of the charity as described by Christ. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” he said. (Mt 5,44) “If any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also…”

The political exercises we had a few weeks ago are just some kind of sports. We play to win, we do our best, yet in spite of all, we should not be surprised if we lose. And we just have to move on. Of course, if we win, then we should also be ready for the usual bad elements that go with the winning.

Now is the time for magnanimity, deleting the heady, intoxicating surge of victory or the depressing load of defeat. This is not the end of the world yet. And while we are still on the road, we just have to try our best to learn precious lessons along the way.

We need to enlarge our heart, to make it more universal to accommodate everyone and any situation and condition properly. We should evade being caught by the grip of our strong views, and even our positions that we think are so essential that they are not anymore subject to opinion.

This is our usual pitfall that we should try to be wary about always. We have the strong tendency to dominate others especially in a game or exercise for which we give an all-out interest and spend so much money and effort.

We have to see to it that our thoughts, desires and intentions, our words and deeds are always animated by charity. There should no negative elements in them, even if we notice the defects, mistakes and sins of the others, and even if they have wronged us.

We have to have a good grip on our emotions, able to dominate and properly orient our biases, preferences and other idiosyncracies that constitute our differences and even conflicts with others. We have to learn to focus more on what we have in common rather than what divides us. We have to learn how to dialogue with everyone.

We can always do all these things because of our spiritual nature and also because of God’s grace, in the first place. By living by this Christian teaching when faced with evil and wrongdoings others may do on us, we become more and more like Christ. And that in the end is what truly matters in our life!

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