Pursuing unity amid our differences

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“WHOEVER is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Lk 11,23) With these words, Christ tells us clearly where the basis for our unity and equality amid our unavoidable differences and conflicts can be found. Yes, it’s with him, and only with him.

No matter how right we may be in something, no matter how strongly convinced we are that we are in the truth, if we are not with Christ, then we would not know how to deal with others with charity, which in the end is what truly builds up unity and equality among ourselves.

Yes, it’s the charity that St. Paul describes as “patient, is kind. Charity does not envy, does not act wrongly, is not inflated. Charity is not ambitious, does not seek for itself, is not provoked to anger, devises no evil. Charity does not rejoice over iniquity, but rejoices in truth. Charity suffers all, believes all, hopes all, endures all.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)

Yes, it’s the charity that enables us to bear the burdens of each other and thus fulfil the law of Christ. (cfr. Gal 6,2) It’s the charity that is willing to suffer for the others, and can consider as our real treasures here on earth the following conditions: hunger, thirst, heat, cold, pain, dishonor, poverty, loneliness, betrayal, slander, prison…

It’s the charity that considers sacrifice as its way, that welcomes any cross that can come our way, that is detached from passing opinions and views, and willing to suffer for the truth, no matter how unfair that would be. It’s the charity that knows how to love enemies and to be ever merciful and magnanimous, how to be “all things to all men,” (1 Cor 9,22) irrespective of how the others are.

Our pursuit for unity and equality amid our differences and conflicts can only be achieved if we have this charity that is based on our living union with God as shown in obeying the truths he revealed to us about ourselves and living them with God’s spirit, that is, with charity. Again, truth and charity should always go together for either one to be authentic, not fake or plastic. Otherwise, we would have a flying elephant.

Our problem is that we often get contented only with our own ideas, ideologies, laws and some consensus to achieve this ideal. Do you think these would be enough? Unity and equality among men and women, for example, just cannot be achieved simply with our human means. We can say, “tell it to the Marines,” when one would dare to affirm so.

Imagine when we have to consider the complexities of pursuing social justice and of respecting and loving each other in our political differences that can become bitter, what with all the bullies and trolls around, the shameless virtue signaling and gaslighting, etc., that people like to use.

Though our human doctrine, ideologies and laws have a role to play, they are nothing if they are not inspired or infused with the living spirit of God, who is the source of all unity and equality. This should be made clear to everyone.

We would just be giving appearances, many times deceptive appearances, of unity and equality, when things are not done in the context of a living relation with God. The Trinitarian nature of God—three persons in one God, equal in dignity and in eternal relation with one another—is the pattern of the unity and equality proper to us.

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