Convictions, openness, tolerance PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 November 2015 13:47

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

You might think this combination is most odd and strange, if not impossible. But whether we like or not, it’s a combination that is proper to us as persons who have to establish good relation with God and everybody else, and in fact, with everything else in this world.

It may be hard to pursue, but it is certainly not impossible. In the first place, we are equipped and enabled to do it, and on the part of God, our Father and Creator, everything has been provided so that we can make such combination a living reality.

We need convictions because we have to be firmly rooted on the truth about us, about others, about God and about everything else.

This need to develop convictions presumes that we have to make a deliberate act and continue doing it all throughout our life to conform ourselves to the truth. The truth about ourselves just cannot come to us without us conforming to it.

But these convictions should not make us closed or narrow-minded, or rigid and inflexible, as many people understand convictions to do. Quite the contrary. If our convictions are really rooted on the truth about God and about us, they would simply make us open-minded always and flexible, knowing how to have a certain tolerance to a variety of differences and even conflicts that we cannot avoid in our life.

The secret is precisely to vitally identify ourselves with

Christ who is God who became man to save us. In Christ, we have the complete truth about ourselves, about who we are, about what we are supposed to do in all the possible scenarios of our life, whether good or bad, big or small, etc.

In Christ, we have the perfect example of how to be open to anyone and to anything, how to be tolerant of anything, adapting himself to any human situation, without changing or compromising hisidentity.

We cannot get a better model of this combination of convictions, openness and tolerance than in Christ. In him, not only did God become man, but we also have a God who adapts himself completely to our human condition, all the way to making himself like sin though not committing sin.

That’s what St. Paul said in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: “For our sake, God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (5,21)

Can we think of a better way for one to have this combination of conviction, openness and tolerance? Here we can see how Christ, who is truth himself, making himself completely open to whatever possibility our human condition can produce, and not only being tolerant but willing to make these possibilities, including our sinful state, his own.

That is what is signified when he accepted death on the cross. He assumed all the sinfulness of men in order to conquer it with his resurrection, and give us the possibility of being saved.

Yes, it is still a possibility, because the actuality of our salvation would also depend on us, on whether we correspond to his will and ways which can be summarized in that new commandment he gave us: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 13,34)

Of course, this new commandment can also be articulated in the beatitudes Christ himself gave, and it always presumes, requires and perfects the old law as articulated in the 10 commandments.

To be truly men and women of convictions, openness and tolerance, we cannot help but establish a vital, loving relationship with Christ by praying, studying, meditating and acting on his word that expresses his will for us, and by receiving him personally especially in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

This vital, loving relationship with Christ will give rise to the proper attitudes, understanding, skills and virtues that can be expected of anyone with convictions, but who also knows how to be open and tolerant of everyone and of everything.

With this relationship, we would know how to love everybody, how to be meek and humble, how to empathize and be compassionate, quick to help and even to assume the burdens of the others. We would have a universal heart, always finding ways to love more and more people and in abidingly better ways as the circumstances would dictate.

With this relationship, we would know how to keep not only the letter of the law but most importantly the spirit, uphold and defend not only ideas but persons in their actual conditions, and go beyond formulas to give the gratuity of God’s love and mercy, as Pope Francis said.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2015 13:52