Okay, But Who Is the “Other” We’re Talking About Here?

If you reacted to this with, “well, duh,” I hear you. This is the kind of religious platitude that we usually skim right over: so general and familiar, we can nod our heads and move on, totally failing to see how it applies in concrete ways in real life.

What if, in place of the word “others,” we substituted the actual people we struggle to love, i.e. will the best for? For example:

“to see God in and seek the good of…

…. that political figure I think is possessed by the devil. (And people have thought that about more than one recent figure, so be honest and don’t write this one off. It applies to both sides of the political spectrum.)

…those people who hold beliefs contrary to my own on important issues.

… that person who likes the OTHER kind of liturgical music.

…. that person who told lies to me or about me and deeply harmed my emotional well-being.

…. that school administrator/boss/coworker who is combative and uncooperative and makes my life miserable.

…that refugee on the southern border whose desire to come here feels threatening to me on some level.

If you didn’t squirm at this recitation, then you probably didn’t dig deep enough, because I definitely squirmed writing it.

This is the problem with religious platitudes: we can all, whatever our opinions on divisive matters within the Church and outside it, applaud and feel affirmed by such statements as long as we don’t dig down to what they actually mean in real life.

That’s why I’m here, doing this work at Intentional Catholic: because we don’t grow in holiness until we dig deep enough to get uncomfortable with the status quo.

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