Developing Christ’s universal heart

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE need to feel the need to develop a heart like that of Christ, a heart that welcomes and accommodates everyone, irrespective of how they are. It is a universal heart that is concerned only with the salvation of everyone.

That encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well (cfr Jn 4,5-24) teaches us that we have to learn how to reach out to others, especially those in the peripheries, and show what Pope Francis calls as the culture of encounter. This can only mean that we are having or, at least, are developing a universal heart, i.e., the heart of Christ.

We may have severe differences among ourselves in the different aspects of our life, but we just have to reach out to everyone if we want to be like Christ as we should.

Toward this end, we have to learn how to be patient, how to rise above our personal things and learn how to give our heart to God and to everybody else. This obviously will require of us a certain sportsmanship, a certain toughness that is of the kind that can welcome and accommodate the charity of God in our heart. We have to learn to listen and not just to hear others, to look and not just to see them.

We have to learn how to suffer with the others, how to be compassionate, how to make as our own the conditions of the others out of the love of God and souls. God himself did all these.

He made himself man in Christ to save us. And Christ, according to St. Paul, made himself like sin without committing sin (cfr 2 Cor 5,21), just to be with us and to lead us back to God, from whom we came and to whom we belong.

So, in our dealings with the others, we should always be motivated by love. We have to take the initiative to love them and not to wait for them to give reasons for us to love them. Even when they commit errors, all the more we should love them. That’s how love really is, the love lived and shown to us by Christ himself.

In the Psalms, we read that God “does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” (103,10) If that is how God treats us, that should also be how we should treat the others. We ourselves ask God not to judge us by our sins. We should therefore not judge others according to their sins.

Thus, our Lord explicitly said that we have to love our enemies, to do good to them that hate us and pray for those who persecute and calumniate us. This is how we are going to be identified as children of God who makes his sun to rise upon the good and bad, the rain to pour on the just and the unjust.

Love by definition involves all and is given without measure or calculation. This essence of love is what breaks us loose from our limited human condition to make our world universal, not entangled in some parochial, partisan or isolationist grip.

Love matures and perfects us. It checks on our tendency to be self-seeking and self-absorbed so as to be “all things to all men.” (1 Cor 9,22) It brings us not only to the others, but rather to God himself, identifying us with him, for “God is love” and is the source of love.



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