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More things in common than differences

May 24, 2020 - Sunday 4:05 AM by Fr. Roy Cimagala

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            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
            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.