“I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another.” (John 13:34)
At his farewell discourse during the last supper with His apostles, Our Lord Jesus Christ bequeaths to them and to all His followers this paradoxical commandment of love. He assures them that the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, will guide them along this novel path towards fraternal humanity.
How then do we invoke the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our communities? First, we pray for the Spirit of Unity — that, despite our diversity of cultures and religious traditions, we can come together as brothers and sisters under one Creator and Lord of all. Divine love for one another is our assurance that we can share this love for each other.
We also pray for the Spirit of Dialogue — that we learn to listen first to one another; that we respect the living traditions of others; and that we can share our own values and aspirations in our common search for the ultimate goals of life in this world and beyond. Through dialogue, we are enriched by the good we discover in the life experiences of other persons and communities. We begin to share their joys and sorrows as well as their hopes for a brighter future.
Finally, we pray for the Spirit of “walking together” in fraternal charity. This is what Pope Francis calls the way of Synodality — where everyone participates and is given a chance to be heard before final decisions and courses of action are made. This is not an easy task, but with the guidance of the Spirit of God, we can indeed overcome the barriers of discrimination, prejudices and self-interest.
May the Spirit of Unity, of Dialogue and of Synodality accompany us in our journey towards Peace and Reconciliation in today’s wounded world.
Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma SJ
Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro Philippines