Fratelli Tutti 89: Inner Circle Not Enough

89. Nor can I reduce my life to relationships with a small group, even my own family; I cannot know myself apart from a broader network of relationships, including those that have preceded me and shaped my entire life.

We do not always choose these companions, nor are we to be at the center of all circles of comradeship. That said, if one is open, growth and grace await:

My relationship with those whom I respect has to take account of the fact that they do not live only for me, nor do I live only for them. Our relationships, if healthy and authentic, open us to others who expand and enrich us.

Modern trends in relationships can deceive:

Nowadays, our noblest social instincts can easily be thwarted by self-centered chats that give the impression of being deep relationships. On the contrary, authentic and mature love and true friendship can only take root in hearts open to growth through relationships with others. As couples or friends, we find that our hearts expand as we step out of ourselves and embrace others. Closed groups and self-absorbed couples that define themselves in opposition to others tend to be expressions of selfishness and mere self-preservation.

We can tend to treat others as objects of utility. Even among ideological allies, friends can exist mainly to reinforce one’s own viewpoint. When a companion varies from our viewpoint, they can  be cancelled. This is a function of narcissism, not any particular ideology.

All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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