Friday, October 24, 2014

Bearing With One Another Through Love

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)

Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. (Psalms 24:6)

“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” (Luke 12:56)

Lord, help us all to remember we are one in the Spirit and to reflect that accordingly.

Contention. It surrounds us. Whether it’s the upcoming elections or who should be quarterbacking our favorite football team or how the ebola situation is being handled, everyone’s got an opinion. Then, of course, there’s the recent Church extraordinary synod on the family. In all these instances, it sometimes seems the louder and more stridently we express our position, the more knowledgeable we feel. And so the volume gets turned higher and higher.

It takes confidence, you see, to listen instead of talk over someone else. It takes maturity. It takes humility and gentleness and patience. It takes faith. It’s not that you have to compromise your belief or give it up. But the more you listen to your “opponents” and let them talk out their position, the more likely they are to find the holes in their logic. Or maybe it will show you some blind spots of your own.

Hearing them out, whether the dispute is about quarterbacks or policy or elections, takes a lot more energy and self-control and love than does yelling or arguing or shunning or most other reactive instincts. But it’s what we’re called to do, in particular with those who may differ with us on the understanding of our Church’s teachings on controversial issues. We don’t have to compromise our own beliefs or deny our sacred traditions and dogma and doctrine. We do have to listen and talk and love. As Pope Francis said in his recent closing synod speech: “The Church … is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.”

Spend time with someone who disagrees with you on a Church stand such as abortion, contraception, or same-sex marriage. Your listening and loving response may spark a conversion moment.

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