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To be authentically Christian

This should be our constant concern. And to pursue it, we should try our best to be truly “alter Christus.” We have to identify ourselves with Christ in everything—in spirit, in thoughts, intentions and desires, in words and deeds. In other words, we have to develop a certain unity of life with Christ as the principle, end and guide of our life.

Let us remember what Christ said so clearly. He is the vine, we are the branches. We can only have life, let alone, consistency and fruitfulness in our life, if we are united to him. Outside of him, we can only expect death, inconsistency and sterility.

Yes, only in and with Christ can we have the real principle of unity and fruitfulness in our life. We would be fooling ourselves if we fail to recognize this basic truth about ourselves.

This, of course, is a truth of faith, and not so much of science. And that’s where the problem lies. There is a crisis of faith in the world, especially involving those who rely more on their human abilities than on belief in Christ.

It’s a phenomenon that can call to mind two contrasting dramatic stories in the Bible. One is the story of the Tower of Babel, and the other is the story of Pentecost.

In the episode of the Tower of Babel, those who survived the flood have multiplied and have gotten so intoxicated by their powers and good fortune that they now want to reach heaven by their own efforts alone, by building a tower.

God intervenes, as he always does in our life, and confounds them by making them speak different languages so that they would not understand each other anymore. The project ends in total failure, and new troubles emerge for the people.

The story of Pentecost offers a counterpoint. We have different people speaking different languages. But since they believe, they are filled with the Holy Spirit. This is how they get to understand each other.

They are not made into a uniformed mass. The differences are respected and even fostered. And yet there is unity among them, with a certain focus or attention that is a result of such unity.

We have to reiterate the truth that we need Christ who is our “way, truth and life” with God to have a solid, genuine unity of life and an unwavering focus even in the midst of so many things in our life.

We just have to learn how to strengthen our relation with Christ, overcoming our natural awkwardness and difficulties, knowing how to pray, studying and assimilating the doctrine, availing of the sacraments, rectifying our intention, developing the virtues, observing proper priorities, etc.

We need to be more aware of our duty to establish, build up and strengthen the unity in our life. We only have one life, made up of many parts, aspects, stages and levels, and subject to all sorts of conditions, big and small, favorable and unfavorable, etc. The challenge is how to put all these things together in harmony.

Strengthening that unity of our life insures us that we would be on the right track toward the goal proper to us, that we would be effective in what we are doing, and healthy and resistant to anything that can weaken us or lead us astray. With Christ, we can achieve that.*

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November 2022
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