Editor’s Pick: UNITYAugust 7, 2012 1 Comment
August 7, 2012 / MariaNews.com
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
In the creation of the human race God said that it wasn’t good for anyone to be alone (Gen 2:18). And since that time, many have found fulfillment in sharing their bread with others, facing the challenges of life united with people who mutually depend on each other, celebrating their joys with family and friends, and embracing each other in their sorrows.
But at the same time there are those who even shun contact with certain groups of people because of superficial differences. Instead of embracing all other people in a joyful universal “us” they stick with their own parochial group and erect walls between themselves and outsiders. They enclose themselves in prisons formed with bars of fear and distrust. They deprive themselves of the joy of “one brotherhood under God”.
Closer to home, there are others who feel lonely, specially, in the midst of a crowd. During the Christmas season we make an effort to express our love for others, specially, family members, by visiting and exchanging gifts. But at the same time, it is during this season that we have more suicides, than during any other season of the year; it is also a time when many suffer from depression. Why is there such a disparity between the happy and the unhappy? Perhaps we don’t pursue unity, or the kind of unity we pursue is not what our being desires.
Jesus gave us the “blueprint for unity” in his Last Supper Discourse. He was praying to our Heavenly Father for his apostles and then he prayed for us. He said, “I not only pray for them, [his apostles]; I also pray for those who will come to believe in me because of their word. I pray that they may be one in us, just as you are in me and I am in you, may they be one in us so the world will come to believe that you sent me” (John 17 :20-21).
Our unity with one another must not be separated from our unity with God. This is what Jesus has revealed in his “blueprint for unity”, that we should be one in God and at the same time one with each other. This is why husbands and wives who, daily, pray together, read the Word of God together, and worship God together almost never divorce.
In any human enterprise, we will hurt one another, sometimes unintentionally. The healing that comes from forgiveness will be necessary to reestablish the unity weakened by our sins. The God, who told us that our sins will not be forgiven unless we forgive those who offend us, will give us the grace to forgive, if we ask for it.
Attempting fellowship and unity without God is humanism. Humanism does not satisfy us because it ignores the fact that we are spiritual creatures, and our deepest spiritual needs are not satisfied simply with human and material interventions.
One of the lessons that Mother Teresa of Calcutta taught us is that we can have unity with people of other faiths. Before beginning her daily works of charity to the poorest of the poor, she spent two hours of prayers before Jesus in the Eucharist. She didn’t try to convert anyone, but she tried to help those she cared for, specially the dying, to come closer to God through their own faith traditions. In addition to providing medical assistance, shelter, nourishment, and cleanliness, her sisters would offer to read to Hindu patients from their Hindu Scriptures, to Muslim patients from the Koran, and to Christian patients from the Bible. The first form of unity that we must have with others, including our enemies, is unity of love, respect and compassion. God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God and God in them (1 John 4:16).
Read more by Deacon Antonio here
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.
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