HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE’S MY BROTHER

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HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE’S MY BROTHER

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cimagala-thumbby Fr. Roy Cimagala

I WAS reminded of these words from an old song, which I am now using as the title of this piece, when the sneaky maneuver to end the RH bill debate in Congress some years back triggered an explosion of angry reactions both from the pros and the antis.

I felt I had to retreat to the sides for a while, since the arena is full of fire, smoke and dust, and we really cannot do anything constructive when such is the situation.

Thing is, the dialogue and debate have turned practically into a shouting match, and some of the once honorable and respectable men and women involved have mutated into mad dogs who seem to have abandoned reason and charity and have embraced the ways of passion and hatred, unloading trash and increasingly straying from the real issues.

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I had to remind everyone in the social networking to stay calm and always to remain in the hold of charity, despite the sharp differences and conflicts of views. We have to avoid what is called as bitter zeal, that blinding disease of self-righteousness that leads one to pursue his perceived good cause while leaving behind charity.

Truth, justice, charity actually cannot be separated. If any of these values is missing, the others also fall even if they continue to appear standing. And that’s why, we have to learn to widen and deepen our perspectives, and not confine ourselves to what is here and now, and even in the short-run or long-run, the way they are defined humanly.

We have to think in terms of eternity, of God’s wisdom and providence. We have to bring to our mind the very crucifixion of Christ who, completely sinless, chose to assume our sins and die to them to rise on the third day. These should bring us to our senses.

There we can find the reason why we need to be patient and magnanimous, merciful and ever charitable. In the end, even if some people cause us a lot of disturbance and can even offend us, they still are our brothers and sisters. When there’s real love in the heart, these brethren really are not too heavy to bear.

Our Lord asked for forgiveness for those who nailed him to the cross. “For they know not what they do,” he said. These words explain why things and people are the way they are at the moment.

Let’s be hopeful always. Setbacks along the way are really temporary, and are meant to spur us on to greater charity and understanding. They are meant for us to have another and deeper conversion. Thing is, evil will never have the last word. We may express our anguish and frustration for now, but let’s not dwell long in them.

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We have to pray that people and things calm down. Let’s sustain the effort, no matter how obstructed, to clarify the issues. Those against the RH Bill, especially if they happen to be priests and men, are not anti-poor nor anti-women. If the others can remove that bias, then we expect a more objective, balanced discussion.

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And those who are for the RH are not necessarily devils incarnate. They are our brothers and sisters whom we have to love. Remember what our Lord once said: “Love your enemies…Don’t resist evil. If one strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other…”

We have to understand them. Let’s try to see where they are coming from, so we would know why they say and act the way they do. And from there, let’s think of the proper and charitable way to deal with them.

Fact is, people are subject to different situations, predicaments and conditionings. Some of us are very emotional, others may be intelligent but proud. Some may be very sensitive, others hardened by their problems that can range from the merely natural to the moral and spiritual. Some can have mental disorders, others blinded by some dangerous ideologies.

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We have to understand everyone. When there’s a lot of fire, we should not put more fire. We have to learn when to talk and when not. We have to learn to be attentive to the sensibilities of the different people. Having to say sorry may have to done often, even if the other party is at fault.

We have to make charity, magnanimity and prudence reign. We should not be interested simply in scoring points. Charity has to be the supreme and guiding value to live.

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Let’s stay calm always!

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