REFLECTION: Bearing all things PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 04 October 2014 13:21



To be sure, to be able to bear all, that is, all kinds of suffering, conflicts, contradictions, etc., is a mark of Christian maturity. It is one of the consequences of charity as St. Paul once said: “Charity...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13,7)

We need to remind ourselves strongly about this truth and principle because we often invoke the cause of justice to get around this ideal. Obviously, we have to satisfy the requirements of justice, but we need to make sure we are clearly doing so in charity that would enable us to bear all things.

In short, there is no justice where there is no charity. And where there is no charity, there cannot be the capacity to bear all things. We would end up complaining and seeing the whole exercise is meaningless, devoid of any saving value.

In this regard, the model to follow is Christ, and not just our own idea, either simply held or sophisticatedly developed, of how to bear all things, with justice and charity blended together.

In Christ, the capacity to bear all things is placed in its proper context and perspective, with the right reason and basis. More importantly, it is in Christ that we would have the power and energy to carry out that capacity.

In Christ, we would know the causes of all kinds of suffering that we would have to bear. Like him, we would not be turned off from suffering, much less, flee from it. We would look for it and embrace it, like a lover willing to do anything for his beloved.

Christ expands our all-too-often limited human estimation of the coverage of this capacity to bear. This power to bear should not be understood simply in its physical dimension alone. It can cover moral anguish, spiritual pain and eventually death. It can take on anything. No suffering, no evil would be beyond its power to bear.

Even death itself is bearable and viewed positively as the very liberation of our limited, time-and-space bound earthly existence. Death would become the very gateway to our definitive eternal life.

In other words, in Christ, the reason and basis for this capacity to bear all things go beyond the merely natural and material. They extend to the moral, spiritual and supernatural. They have a religious and theological foundation and purpose, not just physical or social well-being.

It’s important that we are well-grounded in the theology behind suffering and behind our capacity to suffer, endure and bear all things. In this way, we would know how to react and behave when difficulties, trials, contradictions, failures and sin come our way.

We would know what dangers to avoid, what attitude to cultivate, what skills to develop. We always have to view things theologically, with faith always enlightening our reason and purifying our emotions and passions. We have to avoid being led simply by our feelings and mere human consensus and trends.

These human estimations of things are very vulnerable to all kinds of anomalies—anguish, bitterness, hatred, envy, greed, vanity, the urge for revenge, etc.

Especially in the field of politics, where controversies erupt like normal occurrences, when we express our views simply relying on our human estimation of things and without the spirit of Christ, there would unavoidably be an explosion of sarcasm, ironies, insults, fault-finding and mud-slinging, and eventually violence.

We would become overly sensitive and would react rather wildly, easily falling into rash judgments, sweeping generalizations and stereotyping, reckless statements. We would become intolerant, failing to see the validity of at least some parts of the views of others and would see one’s view as the only acceptable one.

On the other hand, when we try to follow Christ, we would know how to understand everyone even in their clearly erroneous positions. We can always conduct our dialogues civilly, quick to spot common grounds between opposing parties and to offer acceptable alternatives to break deadlocks.

We avoid creating unnecessary tension especially in those moments when the debate is most sharp. We would know what and when to give up and what to keep and to affirm irrespective of costs.

We would prefer defeat and even death than give up on something that ought not to be given up. In all this, we would still feel confident because we get to see the whole picture provided for us by our faith.

To be able to bear all things, we need to be vitally united with Christ, through prayers, sacraments, sacrifice and continuing ascetical struggle.