We’ve spent a week with Pope Francis and his thoughts on this section of Evangelii Gaudium (87-92, “Yes to the new relationships brought by Christ”)
In EG 91 we are urged to resist the temptation to isolation. But there must be something more than just a social group.
What can be “new” about relationships inspired by Jesus Christ? What does the Holy Father mean by the adjectives he uses? What if other people simply annoy us?
92. There indeed we find true healing, since the way to relate to others which truly heals instead of debilitating us, is a mystical fraternity, a contemplative fraternity.
Let’s bullet-point the description:
It is a fraternal love capable
- of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbor,
- of finding God in every human being,
- of tolerating the nuisances of life in common by clinging to the love of God,
- of opening the heart to divine love and seeking the happiness of others just as their heavenly Father does.
Seeing, finding, tolerating, opening, seeking: good verbs. Fine thoughts, but difficult when the initial luster wears off.
Here and now, especially where we are a “little flock” (Lk 12:32), the Lord’s disciples are called to live as a community which is the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:13-16). We are called to bear witness to a constantly new way of living together in fidelity to the Gospel.[Cf. Propositio 8] Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of community!
Perhaps our most difficult social combinations are the ones targeted by the Lord. These are targeted primarily because they are difficult. At times these might include religious communities and marriages. But certainly also parishes, small groups, prayer groups, special ministries, and secular associations threaded with matters of faith.