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Responding to Conflict

silhouettes of man and woman screaming at each other - image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Ignatius invites us to focus continually on the person of Jesus and to follow his way; he is the one who becomes fully human, who lives, walks, and talks with companions, prays, feels love and friendship, becomes angry, cries, puzzles over choices, and, like each of us, is affected by other people’s choices. Good and just relationships mean everything to him, and he is constantly challenging us to become more loving with one another and with God. By living out our lives with our gaze on him, we can find God in all we do.

Jesus’ world, like our own, was full of conflict. How did he conduct himself in it? He made endless choices as he faced each successive situation. The Gospels are about choices, stances, attitudes. He comes across as someone who has hope for everyone. He sees and affirms the hidden potential in the worst of people, the “sinners” who come flocking to him as their only hope. Because he believes in them, they come to believe in themselves. He has space for literally everyone.

He is not against anyone, but he challenges those who have illusions about themselves to become aware of their falsehood and self-deception. Knowing the truth, he promises, can set them free (John 8:32). He works for the radical cure of the human heart rather than glossing over our inner sickness. He labours to purify and liberate the human spirit. He entices us to desire the fullness of life, the life of glory.

When people reject and persecute him, he doesn’t become embittered and hardened against them. Instead, he reveals a reserve of forgiving love, which may eventually melt the most stubborn hearts. In this patient enduring of what is done to him, he reveals the fullness of love. This love is limitless; it bursts all boundaries, and it can transform the impoverished relationships that spoil our lives.

—Excerpted from God Is Right in Front of You by Brian Grogan, SJ

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

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