PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Saturday, March 09, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 25 - Unity as a sign of deep conversion

Fr. DuBay now talks about unity in Christian community as a sign that its members have gone through deep conversion. Well? Out retreat master has no idea what memories and emotions he is able to plumb deep within me, with the mere mention of the words 'unity' and 'community.'

The history of my current community is one that sprung out of division. I was new to community then, so it was a total shock to witness my community splitting over some major misunderstanding. I had to take sides, and found myself on the other side of the debate. None of my closest friends then was on the side I took. It was a major trial in my spiritual life.

But looking back, I knew quite easily which to choose. Probably, I was in agony because I knew that my choice would entail losing a lot of friends. I had no problems with divisions, really. I found comfort in the words of Chesterton then, which came to me as a quote, and it says, "Division is better than agreement in evil." If unity means agreement in evil, then I'm out of it; I'd rather endure enmity than face the prospect of false peace, especially peace within me, something which I am willing to lose everything just to have.

The division, needless to say, was very ugly. It's nothing less like seeing the devil descend on a Christian community. If an outsider came to see us, he probably wouldn't see Christ. I saw how community teachings, especially the Lord's teachings on speech and wrongdoing, grossly violated in the form of lies, false witness/misinterpretations/misrepresentations, and not hearing out the other party first-hand before making judgment or choosing sides. Things escalated almost to violent proportions, almost to a shameful court case. Had we gone to that extent, I am not sure whether my Catholic faith would survive intact and unscathed. But looking back, it shouldn't be surprising at all: the area of speech is the easiest path to sin.

They always say that we should forget the past and focus on the present. I often say that too, because I believe it; I know its value by heart, by how it allows one to live life to the fullest. I've seen the difference first-hand, as when I see my brothers and sisters in the past from time to time and can't help but look at them through the filter of a dark past we all shared. I've seen how focusing on who and where we are the moment allows us to start all over again. After all, I've realized that that's not how God looks at me either: He doesn't look at me through the filter of my own dark past, my own past sins.

But first, I figure that we must ask forgiveness for the sins of the past, with a promise to make amends, in case we are the offender, the cause of conflict and disunity. We do this for our own peace of mind, if not for the other party's sake; for all we know, the other party has long moved on. On the other hand, if we are the aggrieved party, we must first offer unconditional forgiveness as well, whether or not an apology was offered. Likewise, we do this for our own sake, to release us from the prison, the burden, of aggrieved feelings, if not for the other's sake, from the burden of debt.

We can forget the past, but we can't afford to forget the lessons of the past. (We must remember these lessons, so the past is not repeated, especially by our future children.) [However, if we must not forget the lessons, then we must not forget the past. Confusing!]

I am not writing this to paint myself as a hero, though great the temptation may be, owing to my sense of vanity and triumphalist nature. I confess that I too was caught up in the middle of misdeeds and mudslinging. I couldn't help but participate in the whispers and wayward talks, in my effort to dig up 'the truth' from both sides, so in the process, I made inevitable judgments. I sinned when I got hurt for what a person said or did without him knowing and, as a result, had spoken negative things behind his back (instead of telling him direct), and thus had harbored ill will for him in my heart. I am writing this to remind myself that the unity I am now enjoying in my present community is precious and golden, for it is a unity won hard by going through the wringer of a dark, emotional spiritual battle, a sudden enmity between people who used to embrace themselves as brothers, sisters, friends.

I think I should now begin to study, to marvel, at how deeply converted these people are around me, despite their major differences with the way they view issues in Christian community. How has everyone managed to bring about and preserve that unity through the years? I am so impressed, that I can't help but exclaim that the Holy Spirit must be working in our midst.

Have I contributed to that unity? How so? Was I more of a critical or divisive spirit? I hope to God not. Far be it from me to be the nemesis of unity in Christian community.

Comments:
I don't know if you're talking about the same community, but I experienced this d'un sa CFC split. Tapos we were relatively new pa sa community so I was really bewildered that something like this was happening. Really left a bad taste in the mouth. And then of course people had questions, I had questions, etc. And then there were those who thought no conversation is best, others thought, let's talk about this, etc. Very disconcerting/unsettling talaga. Looking back now, I shouldn't have been surprised -- CFC was making waves so natural lang that the evil one would cause division. Haaay.

Your post did remind me of a Robert Brault quote: Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.

Tricky 'no? :)
 
no this is a different community. did you know that almost all covenanted charismatic communities in manila have been through such ugly splits? what is the Holy Spirit up to? mystery.

that's a very beautiful quote!!! we've learned that little by little in community, one person at a time.
 
yeah it was a very tricky situation. everybody on the other side, the side i sided with, was like, how can i preserve my holiness through all this? what they did was to keep mum until things blew over and became 'public' i.e. everyone else in the community heard the news of the exchange of hurting words. sad sad sad
 
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Archives

01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004   02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004   03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004   04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004   05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004   06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004   07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004   08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004   09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004   10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004   11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004   12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005   01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005   02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005   03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005   04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005   05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005   06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005   07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005   08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005   09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005   10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005   11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005   12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006   02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006   03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006   04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006   05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006   06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006   07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006   08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006   09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006   10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006   11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006   12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007   01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007   02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007   03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007   04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007   05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007   06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007   07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007   08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007   09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007   10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007   11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007   12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008   01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008   02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008   03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008   04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008   05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008   06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008   07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008   08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008   09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008   10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008   11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008   12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009   01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009   04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009   05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009   06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009   07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009   08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009   09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009   10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009   11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009   01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010   02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010   03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010   04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010   05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010   06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010   07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010   08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010   09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010   11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010   01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011   02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011   03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011   04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011   05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011   06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011   07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011   08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011   09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011   10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011   11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011   12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012   02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012   03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012   04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012   05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012   06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012   07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012   08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012   09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012   10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012   11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012   12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013   01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013   02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013   03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013   04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013   05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013   06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013   07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013   08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013   09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013   10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013   11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013   12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014   01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014   02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014   03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014   04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014   05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014   06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014   07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014   10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014   11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014   01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015   03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015   04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015   05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016   07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016   08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]