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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, May 22, 2020
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

More things in common

Rock & Refuge

In our daily dealings with others, especially when we encounter contradicting views and positions, we should remember that while we do not ignore our differences, we actually have more things in common than differences.

We should try our best not to get stuck with our differences, with what divide and separate us. Rather, what we should do is to look immediately at what we all have in common and at what would truly unite us. The latter has greater value and more lasting effects than the former.

In the end, what matters more is that we all are brothers and sisters, all created by God and, with the endowments given by him, children of his. We all come from and are meant to be with him in eternity.

That is the ultimate reality about us. Those who would even deny that basic truth should not be dealt with animosity but rather with kindness and charity, the kind that Christ himself showed and commanded us to have, a charity that includes the willingness to suffer and die for the others.

It is this kind of charity that knows how to overcome our differences if some errors are involved, or how to blend them into an organic whole of different parts if what are involved are legitimate differences among ourselves. These legitimate differences can serve as complementary to each other to build up a greater whole, a larger picture, a deeper truth.

In this regard, it would be good if we take the initiative to establish linkages with others, putting up more bridges than walls. For this, we need to have an openness of mind and heart, of the kind that is inspired by the example of Christ who was welcoming to everybody and quick to forgive those who opposed him without condoning what was objectively wrong.

This means we should try to develop a universal heart that knows how to be all things to all men, as St. Paul once said. (cfr. 1 Cor 9,22) We have to be careful because we tend to enclose and restrict ourselves to our personal circumstances.

While it’s true that we are always conditioned by certain factors, we should never forget that we also have the power to go beyond those limiting factors and conditiontings because of our spiritual powers plus God’s grace that is never lacking.

We just have to learn the social skills. We have to learn how to be friendly with everyone, even with those who are not friendly with us. We should try to feel at home with any kind of people we meet—rich or poor, intellectual or manual worker, etc.

We may have to use the languages of the heart before the languages of the mind, by engaging in music, sports, outreach and charitable works, and other works of volunteerism and altruism that always attract almost everyone. We have to avoid developing a bourgeois lifestyle, tribalism, elitism and the like.

In all this, we have to expect a lot of sacrifice and self-denial to be made. But if we are truly inspired by Christian charity, we know that all that effort and sacrifice is all worthwhile. We would be convinced that we actually would gain more than what we seem to lose.

We should sharpen our skill in discerning what unites us more than what divides us. While it’s true that we have our biases, preferences, favourites and pet peeves, we should not allow ourselves to be trapped by them. That is why it pays we be sport and game with anyone and in any situation.

Especially in those areas where controversy and contentiousness can be expected, as in politics, and even in our religious beliefs, we should know how to cruise and maneuver without getting confused and lost. As long as we always are with Christ, we can manage. We can avoid getting scandalized and being a snowflake.*

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