Father José María Montiu de Nuix, Ph.D. in Philosophy, offers this article entitled “Educate for Fraternity: The Revolution of Tenderness.” As Christians, “we must recognize all as brothers and, consequently, love them,” because, as the Lord said, “Christians will be recognized because they love.”
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As the great Saint Augustine said, the Son of God was made Man so that man could become the son of God. Sanctifying grace is what makes us children of God, adoptive children of God. If we are God’s children, we are brothers among ourselves. The whole of Christian life consists in being good children of God. So, to be a child of God by grace is the greatest thing.
The greatness of this truth, divine filiation by sanctifying grace, cannot make us forget another important truth, namely, that we are also children of God for having been created by God. This filiation isn’t as full as filiation by grace, but, nevertheless, it is important.
God created everything out of nothing. The divine architect has left His imprint on all of creation. As the Angelic Doctor says, there is no image of God in things, only a vestige of God. God’s hand is close in a rose and in all the wonders of creation. Things aren’t God’s daughters. Instead, the human person, not only was created by God but, in addition, is the image of God. Hence God is Father of all men and all women.
As the Venerable Thomist Bishop Torras y Bages says, God has carried us in His intelligence for all of eternity as a mother carries her child in her womb. And, as the Holy Father Francis says, God, who is Father, who has a mother’s insides, has put us in the world out of love. As Saint Faustina Kowalska says, God in His infinite mercy has enclosed us in Himself. God’s hand is close to the human being. This is true not only in the creation of the first men but also in the direct creation of the spiritual and immortal soul of every human person.
In sum, as the Holy Father Francis says in “Fratelli Tutti,” all the people of the world are brothers and sisters. Millions spring up! Thousands of millions spring up. It is a super-super numerous family!
If every human being is a brother or a sister, it follows that it is also hard for us to love one who has offended us, who is not likable, who is indifferent, the worst and the best, the saint and the delinquent, the one who can frighten us when he approaches us, the demoniac and the non-demoniac. In particular, even one seated in the same pew in Church, although unknown, is a brother or a sister, as is anyone we meet on the street. To feel them as brothers or sisters is to carry them in a special way in our hearts; it’s a revolution of tenderness.
This truth is illumined by Christ’s witness. Moreover, the rule of life of a Christian being to act as Christ acted, it’s logical to consider now an example of this. We shall now see, therefore, how the Lord acted with the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5:1-20).
The Gerasene demoniac’s way of being was different, certainly repugnant, not at all agreeable, he caused astonishment. He lived among the sepulchers; he had broken the shackles ad chains with which they had bound him, no one could control him, he shouted and wounded others with stones. In a word, he was something awful.
Yet, in face of the demoniac, Jesus Christ doesn’t flee. Christ respects him; He recognizes his human dignity, sees him as very valuable, is dear to him, sees him as a brother. He loves him, embraces him in His heart, looks at him with love. He approaches him, extends a friendly hand. He receives him as He received the sinful woman, the leper, the publican, the good thief, etc. He receives and loves him; treats him with kindness and delicacy, does him good, frees him from evil. Having embraced him in His heart, he expels the devils from him.
What moved the Lord was the logic of gratitude, the logic of love, of mercy. He felt compassion for him and cured him. He wasn’t moved by a pragmatic, economic or political logic, one of success. He knew that to expel the demons from him and enable them to go into the swine and that they would precipitate themselves into the abyss, with the consequent economic loss for the swineherds, who would only turn against Christ, causing Him nothing but harm. Christ would be regarded badly, passionately. He would lose, so to speak, the people’s vote of support; they would push Him out, they would expel Him; they would throw Him out. But the love of Christ for a brother was able to do more than personal prejudices.
We must recognize all as brothers and, therefore, love them. This can be hard but this is what it means to be Christian. The Lord said that Christians would be recognized by the way they love.
The Holy Father Francis invites us to recognize one another as brothers, to recognize this revolution of love. It is precisely the Pope’s intention for this month of January 2022, entrusted to the Pope’s Global Prayer Network, Apostolate of Prayer, which is to educate for fraternity.