By Fr. Roy Cimagala
HOW should we understand our need for unity? Perhaps we can get some ideas from the priestly prayer of Christ before he entered into his passion and death. In it, he addressed the Father:
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (Jn 17,22-23)
Tremendous words, indeed! They clearly tell us that our need for unity among ourselves should channel the unity between the Father and the Son which can only be achieved through the Holy Spirit. In other words, our unity should reflect the Trinitarian unity in God.
It is a unity that is based on the love that is the very essence of God as shown to us and commanded of us by Christ. (cfr. Jn 15,12) That love-caused unity definitely is not uniformity. It is a unity that has a universal scope and that can contend with all the conditions of men, whether good or bad.
This love-caused unity knows how to blend well the exclusivity of truth with the inclusivity of charity. It knows how to understand everyone, irrespective of how they are. It searches and struggles to find ways of how to help everyone in the way everyone needs to be helped. It knows how to bear each other’s burdens. (cfr. Gal 6,2)
Definitely, this kind of unity is the fruit of God’s grace, of our effort to identify ourselves with Christ and to assume the very spirit of God which is actually freely and abundantly given to us. It is just for us to correspond properly to all these goodness and gifts of God to us.
Are we up to it? Are we willing to understand and love everyone, including those who may be considered as our enemies, since Christ himself told us to love our enemies? (cfr. Mt 5,43-44) Are we willing to adapt ourselves to how everyone is, so we may echo those words of St. Paul: “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Cor 9,22)
More importantly, are we willing to have the same desire of Christ to offer his life for the salvation of mankind, willing to bear the sins of men and to offer forgiveness even they have not yet asked for it?
It is this kind of unity that in spite of our unavoidable differences and conflicts due to all sorts of reasons that we can truly say we have the spirit of God, and therefore, our unity is based on God who is love and not just our own ideas of love and unity.
Definitely, this kind of unity will involve human suffering. But again, if that unity is based on God’s love as shown by Christ, it would be a suffering that we would welcome and love. As one saint would put, we have to carry the cross, but it would be a “cross without the cross.” It would somehow be a sweet and meaningful suffering.
If ever we have to make clarifications, suggestions, corrections, we would do it with due prudence and always with charity.