We are going to celebrate the two joint feasts of the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary (June 19-20, 2020): The Feasts of Cordiality. But not of discriminatory cordiality! Yes, inclusive cordiality! After contemplating the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, let us have the courage to go into our hearts and ask ourselves in all sincerity what similarity exists between their hearts and our heart. Lack of cordiality is killing our society, our families, our communities. There are cordialities that are so much affirmed in relation to some people, that they are “exclusive” in relation to others. So, let us ask ourselves if we are worthy of celebrating the cordiality that includes all people.
Jesus’ words: the grace of cordiality
If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back (χάρις) ? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal (χάρις)? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.Lk 6:32-36
In the Gospel of Luke the angel tells Mary that she has found grace in the eyes of God (χάριν παρὰ τῷ θεῷ ”(Lk 1:30). In the plain speech—also according to Luke—Jesus asks us to love those who do not love us, well, that is funny! That is the point where it is checked whether we are in God’s grace or not because God does love those who do not love Him. We are not in God’s grace when … we love some but not others… When we melt in expressions of affection, of cordiality with our friends and to others we don’t even look at them, nor greet them. When we radiate cordiality with some and contempt and harshness with others. Behaviors like these are the order of the day: in some as source, in others as recipients.
Cordiality: change of mind and speech
There are different ways of thinking, of reflecting, of interpreting reality.
- The normal form of discourse—of logos, the Greeks would say—is rational, intellectual. We use logic, the connection between the data, the most appropriate deductions that are derived from that set. Rational discourse leads us to debate, to the joint search for truth—perhaps—, to confrontation, to learning … The type of discourse that is established in the electoral campaign between the parties is the “rational” discourse. It is about citizens knowing how to “reasonably” elect their rulers or leaders in the coming years and avoid, led by those who think “reasonably” that they will not do well.
- There is, however, another type of discourse that is based on the reasons of the heart: it is the discourse of cordiality. This type of discourse does not confront although the differences may be extreme. The “cordial” or “loving” logos have the ability to “befriend” the “enemies”, to bring the antipodes closer in the intellectual or cultural or religious sphere. The discourse of cordiality generates friendship and prepares the human being for intellectual hospitality, which oftentimes is so arduous.
Characteristics of the inclusive cordiality discourse
- The discourse of cordiality—which embraces everyone—is at times not very “logical”. It creates adhesions, not for ideas, but for sympathy or empathy, for the seduction of beauty because “love is blind”, because where there is friendship, you are willing to lose any dialectical battle, knowing that in the end you win the war.
- The cordiality discourse yields to an apparent error, a not so clear truth. It knows how to inhabit the light-dark areas, enter liminal spaces, delve into the curious, the unexplored, the surprising. It is not even afraid of making a mistake. The cordiality discourse is driven by the heart: “where the heart takes you.”
- It is certainly not always a “logical” discourse, but it is “eco-logical”. It attends to the whole. It creates interconnections. It finally understands what seemed incomprehensible. Its passion for truth does not lead to impatience because it is convinced that Truth is revealed to those who know the emotional alphabet, the language of love, the seduction of Grace.
The Last Supper: the discourse of cordiality
Jesus—according to the fourth Gospel—used in his last Supper the language of cordiality.
- Jesus wanted his disciples to witness a great lesson in love. He chose them and destined them to bear abundant fruit. But he told them that this fruit would be born of love, of constantly remaining in love. Whoever—like the branch—is grafted onto the vine of love, will produce abundant fruit.
- For this reason, Jesus gave them a missionary mandate that had less to do with communicating truths or indoctrination, but with “Love each other”, with “no one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends.” He was convinced that the world will believe in Him when it discovers the current of love that circulates in his community. This lesson is for any society, group, people.
Love is a gift that must be pleaded with Abbá, source of Love
Love comes from God, because God is love. Love is a charism. Even more: the charism of all charisms. Love is hyperbolic (1 Con 13). When a person is graced with the charism he or she can love; love that person who connects with the infinite current of Love that is born from the Abba, passes through Jesus, and the Spirit pours into us (Rom 5). Love of enemies is not our victory … it is a gift. For this reason, the great saints, like Saint Anthony Mary Claret, asked God for the charism of love:
“My Jesus, there is one thing I ask that I know you will grant. Yes, my Jesus, I ask you for love, for great flames of that fire you brought down from heaven to earth. May that sacred fire enkindles, burn, melt, and pour me into the mould of God’s will.”Autobiography of St. Anthony Mary Claret, n. 446.
That the “language of cordiality”, that language that moves the heart and does not revolt the mind, that interconnects and does not disconnect, prevail in politics, in the church, in our families and communities. To this brings us to the double celebration of the “Heart of Jesus” and the “Heart of Mary”.
(Translation from Spanish: Fr. Alberto Rossa, cmf)