Inclusivity amid differences
Inclusivity amid differences PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 December 2017 14:05

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

THE secret, to be blunt, is to be Christ-like. That’s the only way we can have an inclusive outlook in life in spite of our  unavoidable differences and conflicts in the areas of lifestyles, cultures, ideologies, opinions, preferences and even in beliefs,spiritualities and morals.

This is the inclusivity of charity that goes together with the exclusivity of truth. Working this combination out will always be, of course, a work in progress, with prudence and fortitude playing an important role in the process. Let’s just take it easy and be cool and calm as we also seriously undertake the lifelong task of combining this inclusivity of charity with the exclusivity of truth.

We need to remember that we always have to contend with our natural human limitations, not to mention the more subtle effects and consequences of sin, ours and those of others. We should not be too surprised and worried about this given condition in our life. We just have to do something about it.

One thing that we can be more aware of is that in the proclamation of what is true, good and beautiful as taught to us by our faith, we should pay special attention to the effort of how to charitably deal with those who are hit by such proclamation or evangelization, or who are not yet ready to live by what are proclaimed.

Let’s remember St. Paul’s words: “Charity does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Cor 13,6) Gloating over the errors of others should never be done.

We should find a way of proclaiming the truths of our faith and morals without unnecessarily alienating people. Definitely, we need to pray for grace to be able to do this, and to cultivate the relevant virtues of prudence, tact, delicacy, compassion, etc.

We should be quick to take advantage of whatever good is present in any situation where evil dominates. This was what Christ taught in the parable of the dishonest steward where the master praised the steward, not for his dishonesty, but for his astuteness in finding a way to be acceptable to others once his stewardship is removed. (cfr. Lk 16,1-13)

What we should try to avoid is to convert our evangelization into some kind of a dumping session where our listeners are left only with a take-it-or-leave it option. This attitude of non-negotiability would unduly cut the dialogue that is necessary in evangelization. It would discard the need for pastoral accompaniment that follows the law of gradualness.

It is blind and insensitive to the reality on the ground and lives in a bubble of a doctrinaire, rigid, inflexible, uncompromising. It often considers its own reading of things as the only one that counts. All other views and interpretations would not have any value at all.

We have to realize that we should not stop at proclamation alone. We need to continually be in touch with the people, accompanying them in their journey toward our common goal, helping them in discerning things and integrating them more into the mainstream of the Church.

This will require of us that we treat everyone as he or she is and as he or she has to be. It’s not going to be an easy task, but as long as we realize this guiding principle, pray and ask for grace and light from God, and do our best, somehow we can manage to move toward inclusivity amid our differences.