Rediscovering a brother or sister in your neighbour

In this passage Igino Giordani offers points of reflection upon how, when we put God in the first place, we gain a new freedom to relate to one another truly as brothers and sisters.

When we let ourselves be stripped of our faith in God, we are subject to the worst possible swindle. But even where we have not been stripped of our faith in God, we have sometimes lost him just the same because we have forgotten him. And we frequently pay the price for these long stretches of forgetfulness, as basically we have forgotten our being human. We are in a house we no longer recognize as our own, and indeed it has become a jail. We are with others, who we no longer see as brothers or sisters, and the link between us is composed of secret mutual exploitation. We go to a school, read the papers, observe what science produces, and the truth has become twisted for us, so that we end up not knowing the object and doubting the subject, and are treated and treat others as mere figments.

This forgetfulness is summed up in our forgetfulness of God. If we recognize God, we become free with respect to the people of this earth. These people then become our brothers and sisters, and the only attitude we owe them is love. Rediscovering the human person, we come back to seeing the person’s dignity. In a person’s limitations we see the greatness, even while realizing the wretchedness. He or she may collapse, but will remain God’s offspring. The wretchedness belongs to the individual, but the greatness of the individual is conferred by One who is greater. This One wants us in our trials to grow as ourselves, to use misfortune to exercise the great virtues, justice, charity, piety; to value death as giving life, financial poverty as giving spiritual richness, to such a point that our heritage should be the heritage of the spirit, and that our dignity does not depend upon our financial condition, but upon our strength of character, our heroic resignation, our victory where, for us and in us, evil leads back to good.

If we pass through wretchedness and become wretched also in our souls, if we react to the negative and become ugly, if we collapse prostrate in despair and utter exhaustion, we foolishly squander our efforts, soiling our tears without dignity, starving our soul. Heroic love transforms pain into joy, our sufferings into tools for spiritual exercises: misfortunes place before each of us the demand for holiness, and, that is, for perfect humanity, made perfect by grace.

Excerpt from Igino Giordani, La rivolta morale [The Moral Revolt], (Rome: Capriotti, 1945)



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