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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 7, 2019
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Charity always involves suffering

Rock & Refuge

We should not be surprised anymore by this fact of life and truth ofour faith. If we truly are in love with the love of God, the love of Christ who gave us the new commandment to love our neighbor as he himself has loved us, then we should be ready and eager to take on any suffering such love would unavoidably involve.

We have to be ready to go all the way to offer our life, and beforethat, to suffer all kinds of indignities, insults, mockeries, injustices, persecution, etc. To top it all, we should be ready to offer forgiveness, understanding and compassion to all our offenders.

In fact, we have to be prepared to bear all the sins and evils thatmay be inflicted on us, because that was how Christ, the way, truth and life for us, showed his love for us. Yes, like Christ, we should proclaim and defend the truth and observe justice as strictly as possible.

But in the end, we should realize that no matter how much we proclaimand defend the truth and observe justice, things just cannot be made right, given the way we are. It is only through divine love shown in its best way in the form of mercy that can put everything and everyone right.

Was Christ able to convert everyone with his preaching and miracles?Obviously not. In fact, his preaching and miracles somehow triggered some people then to render to him the worst injustice of all time—the killing of God himself in Christ.

It was only through his passion and death that did it, though itsfulfillment is still an on-going affair until the end of time. In short, we have to be ready to suffer the way Christ suffered if we have to aim at having and living the love with which Christ himself loved us.

To be sure, only when we believe in Christ and have his grace that wecan manage to love the way Christ loved us. Just the same, we need to do our part of developing the proper attitude, understanding, skills and virtues involved in this divine love.

We have to learn to let go of our human standard of what is right andwrong, of what is fair and unfair. That is to say, we have to observe them, preach and defend them, but we have to go beyond them.

And that is simply because our human standards, no matter howexcellently developed, can never capture the whole reality of divine love. It’s only when we identify ourselves completely with Christ and follow him in his passion and death that would result in his resurrection that we can manage to love as we should.

Sticking to our human standards as the ultimate guide for us can onlybring us to the anomaly of self-righteousness. This has happened to the leading Jews of Christ’s time. They got so stuck to their ideas of good and evil, fair and unfair, and of God and the redeemer that they ended up killing Christ.

Our knowledge of the truth, our practice of justice will always beimperfect. Their perfection can only be in the form of our earnest pursuit to follow Christ and to identify ourselves with him in theend.

But we should not worry too much because of the unavoidable sufferinginvolved in charity. As long as we suffer with Christ, we would know how to bear it. We are already assured that as long as we suffer with him, our resurrection, our final victory will come as a consequence.

In the meantime, let’s just be sport and fill ourselves with a goodsense of humor in the drama of our life here on earth. It’s actually our choice to make our life here a tragedy or an adventure or a sport with some comical parts.*

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