Reaching out and the universal heart PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 March 2017 12:04



THE encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well (cfr Jn 4,5-24) teaches us that we have to learn how to reach out to others, especially those in the peripheries, and live what Pope Francis calls as the culture of encounter. This is can only mean that we are having or, at least, are developing a universal heart, i.e.,

the heart of Christ.

We may have our own tastes and preferences, our own temperaments and personalities, our own views and opinions, our own charism and vocation, or whatever status we have, but we have the duty to reach out to everyone, especially those who are different from us or even are opposed to us. They can even be opposed to God.

In this way, we would be imitating Christ who was willing to bear all our sins, as St. Paul said, to save all men. (cfr 1 Tim 2,4) This is the only purpose that can bring about the development of a universal heart. Short of this motive, the ideal of a universal heart that is proper to us is compromised.

Toward this end, we have to learn how to be patient, how to rise above our personal things and learn how to give our heart to God and to everybody else. This obviously will require of us a certain sportsmanship, a certain insensitivity that is of the kind that can welcome and accommodate the charity of God in our heart. We have to learn to listen and not just hear others, to look and not just to see them.

We have to learn how to suffer with the others, how to be compassionate, how to make as our own the conditions of the others out of the love of God and souls. God himself did all these.

He made himself man in Christ to save us. And Christ, according to St. Paul, made himself like sin without committing sin (cfr 2 Cor 5,21), just to be with us and lead us back to God, from whom we come and to whom we belong.

So, in our dealings with the others, we should always be motivated by love. We have to take the initiative to love them and not wait for them to give reasons for us to love them. Even when they commit errors, all the more we should love them.

In the Psalms, we read that God “does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” (103,10) If that is how God looks at us, that should also be how we should look at the others. We ourselves ask God not judge us by our sins. We should therefore not judge others according to their sins.

Charity and mercy should precede, accompany and follow in all our dealings with the others. When we find this hard to do, as is understandable, we should beg God for more grace so that our heart can conform to God’s heart. In that way, we can echo Christ’s words: “Not my will but yours be done.” (Lk 22,42)