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The folly of arguing about religion

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markdohle

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The folly of arguing about religion

‘Overcoming evil with weapons of love becomes the way in which each person can contribute to the peace of all. Christians and believers of different religions are called to walk this path, together with those who accept the universal moral law. Dear brothers and sisters, promoting peace in the world is our common mission!’

Homily on 38th World Day of Peace, January 1, 2005

 

 

As a Christian, I do believe that Jesus Christ is a revelation given to the world that points to a deep truth.  A basic truth that is often denied by Christians, myself included, lived out for all to see, in how we speak and treat others who think and believe differently. 

‘Agape” is the love taught by Jesus, and he asks us to live out of that reality.  What is this love, “Agape”.  It is the revelation of Christ Jesus, teaching about the love of the Father.  In the story of the “prodigal son”, which I believe is the heart of our faith, pointing to the infinite loving Heart, of the Father.

Who is our neighbor?  For Christians, as taught us by Christ Jesus, it is the one that we fear, perhaps hate, be it a person, or group.  When we fail (when I fail) we as Christians allow violence, hatred, and contempt to grow, which is more or less the default position of mankind, since it seems to be instinctive, to distrust ‘others’. 

I do not see, or experience, any difference from Christians as I do with other people who are defensive of others, and freely express their disdain towards those who believe and think differently.  It leads only to further chaos and the growth of the cancer of hatred.

For me it is only by allowing the love of God to break open our hearts, to make them flesh again, can we grow in our love of God and others.   My heart still has many stony areas in it.  I experience them when I get angry, or anxious when my defenses go up and I want to defend myself from others.  It is in these times that I seek the Lord more deeply since I know from experience that it is only by grace, by responding to God’s call, that healing can come.  When it is experienced, I do not always know where it came from, or how it happened, sort of like the Holy Spirit, who breathes where He wills.  It is the Spirit that groans within my heart, and I believe in the hearts of all men, who seek healing, peace, and reconciliation with others.

Love of self has to come first, for once we understand the God loved us from eternity, in spite of our sins, that we can learn to love ourselves.  We learn to love others more deeply the more we understand God’s love for us.   To love others more deeply, we need to grow in understanding of their own faith walk, even if it is from a tradition different from ours.  God, belongs to no one, we are God’s children, God is not our pet.—Br.MD


 

 

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