We are in relationship with the Eternal One
The dignity of the human person is a transcendent value, always recognized as such by those who sincerely search for the truth. Indeed, the whole of human history should be interpreted in the light of this certainty. Every person, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1:26 28), is therefore radically oriented towards the Creator, and is constantly in relationship with those possessed of the same dignity. To promote the good of the individual is thus to serve the common good, which is that point where rights and duties converge and reinforce one another---Pope John Paul II
One day a man came up to me after a talk. He was angry when I talked about love of enemies and showing mercy towards those who harm and wrong us.
“We can’t do it he said; impossible. Look at our history, look into your own heart, what do you see?”
It was a good question and so I responded as best as I could.
“When I look into my heart in all of its nakedness I see many things. I see and often feel my inner rage, my desire to get back at those who hurt me in the far past. I can even have violent images of getting back at them. Even though I don’t know exactly what happen or who actually did it to me, I just know that my heart has been wounded by someone or by more than one that marked me deeply, branded me and by myself I am helpless actually against it”.
So he sneered, “See what I mean”.
“Let me finish”, I responded. “I have seen where violence leads, it only creates more suffering. I see that if I hurt someone, no matter for what reason, that person will have the same wounds that I have. So all I am doing is living off the evil that was done to me in the past, I am feeding it, and adding to the violence and chaos in the world”.
I have not seen him again, but I think he may have been speaking from a place of despair and failure in his own life, in trying to live out the love that Christ Jesus calls us to. I understand that. Perhaps most deal with some sort of anger in their lives that will not leave them and in the process we damage and hurt others….that is the legacy of evil. Dealing with a wound that was struck when very young, for that is what we do, we share our pain from one generation to the next.
I no longer seek to escape this inner struggle, but try to embrace it in prayer. Anger like love is an energy that we feel, both come from the same deep place, both can be used a fuel for prayer, both for self as well as for others. I am not yet fully Christian. My heart is slowly being healed by Gods’ grace, but no matter how much I desire it to be over and done with, the snail’s pace continues. At times I am frightened by the intensity of my inner life, yet it is then that I have learned that I need to be open to it and not close off its inner pain and confusion. For in the center of that pain Christ Jesus waits for me to enter the room and to sit with him. It is in my pain that I seek the Lord, in my weakness that the Holy Spirit wounds me, it is there that Jesus embraces me at my deepest level.
Each man and women that I see, I know that in one way or another they have the same intense struggle with ‘something’. Addictions (both great and small) are one way to deal with this suffering, and perhaps they work for awhile, but there comes a time when the truth must be accepted. For the only way through pain is to walk it. Not drug it in any way. In that is our dignity, it is there that we all resemble Jesus Christ, our beloved, who relates to all men and women in love. We as Christians have no power over the Infinite Love of God for all, we can try to build walls, but the Holy Spirit will merely go through them. I meet Christ Jesus every day in the most ‘unlikely people’, it is there that my silly narrow bigoted ideas are destroyed and my idol of Jesus and what I subjectively think the bible says are put to rest. Yes this too is a long drawn out process. God is patient with us all, thank goodness.
Perhaps when we pray the Our Father, we should unite ourselves to Christ Jesus who dwells in the hearts and souls of all men and women thought out history, from the far past to the perhaps infinite future. With God there is no time, our prayers draw us into the eternal moment of God’s love and knowledge. Let us pray, not judge, love not condemn, and when it is too hard and we can’t do it, to love anyway in Christ name. It is not up to us at a certain point, but grace takes over, freely embraced by those who seek to grow in the love of God and others.—Br.MD