Monday, June 10, 2013

Trust in Him in Front of Every Person

In Pope Francis we see a twofold and entirely consistent passion for evangelization and dialogue. Not only is there no contradiction between preaching the truth of Christ and walking with human persons in mutual understanding and love. They are in fact two facets of God's plan to pour out His love and mercy upon the world.

It is the great gift that Jesus has given us in recreating the human race as God's family, wherein God is truly "our Father" and we are really brothers and sisters. This brother/sisterhood is something we know from the life of faith. It is established and vivified in a concrete and visible way through the sacrament of baptism. In baptism we are reborn; eternal life begins in us, and we are able to begin to live this life together in a way that the whole world can see through the great communio of the Church.

Moreover, belonging to Jesus opens our eyes to the fact that we are brothers and sisters of every human person, because every person has been created by our Father's love and has been truly redeemed by Jesus. In becoming human and dying on the Cross, He has embraced every human person right down to their very unique, personal, mysterious depths.

This means of course that we want the whole world to know Him. It also means that we have profound respect for every human person in the intimate dialogue between God's love and their freedom. We witness to Jesus with clarity, consistency, and without tiring; but not because we want to impose our particular culture or ideology on anyone. We witness because we know that He is the meaning and fulfillment of everything. But He does not "belong" to us, as though He were some pretext for our self-exaltation, superiority, and condescension toward others. He does not belong to us; we belong to Him. The fruits of our testimony are entrusted to the mysterious ways of the God who loves and shapes all hearts.

That is why proclaiming the truth of Christ's love for all peoples and for every human being also entails living as true brothers and sisters in this present moment with all those who have been given to us, wherever they come from. We don't need to put Christ and the Church aside to do this. On the contrary, we are called to live and extend faithfully this mystery of Christ's redeeming love wherever we go throughout the world. Thus we seek to live together with everyone in good will, to walk together, to help one another, to listen to and learn from one another about the mystery and struggles of our lives and the inexhaustible longing of our hearts. We live with and love one another always as brothers and sisters.

It is precisely Jesus Himself who makes this life possible. We place our trust in Him in front of every person. We bear witness to that trust by the grace of the Spirit, who inspires our manner of witness according to the steps that Jesus wills to take through us in order to make Himself known in the context of various circumstances and factors of life that are beyond our human knowledge. We bear witness to Him with words that foster understanding and express our own conviction, but always we must beg for the grace to allow His love to be present and to communicate itself through our lives.

And Jesus will give us the freedom to love persons in an exceptional way, and to appreciate the uniqueness of each and every one of them with profound tenderness. He will enable us to affirm with gratitude and to learn from all of the truth, goodness, and beauty that they possess from their religious and cultural heritages, and from their own experiences and understanding of life. He will give us a great compassion for their failures, and a humility about ourselves and the vocation that we all experience, which is to give ourselves in love, and to make room in our hearts so that we can let ourselves be loved.

We must neither impose our faith nor hide it for the sake of some imagined unity. Jesus Himself has established and is building up the unity of the human family, and He calls us in this present life -- in the face of so many obstacles -- to cultivate that unity in truth and love, trusting always in Him.