Monday, September 29, 2014

Faith Changes Our Relations

Faith changes our relations with each other and ought to make us aware of these changes.

By faith we come to realize that how we treat others is not only how we treat Christ but how we treat ourselves, for we are all connected mystically by grace into the Body of Christ. Hence the second great commandment is that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Why? Because as we love our neighbors, so do we love ourselves.

Actually, we can know this principle even without divine revelation. We see that the unconscious reflects the Other and projects ourselves into the Other. How we treat others, then, unconsciously reflects and projects how we treat ourselves and wish to be treated. Hence if we wish to receive qualities of patience, consideration, and generosity, we ought to give these out and practice them ourselves.

Amazingly, divine revelation has taken this psychological-social dynamic and elevated it through grace, showing us that our relations are more profound than we ever believed. This is why sin can never be isolated, and to believe that my personal actions and choices in private do not affect others betrays a lack of faith and a lack of understanding of the unconscious. Everything I do creates and changes my relations with others, both in the natural and supernatural realms.

In this phenomenon we can also find one reason for the spiritual and psychological stagnation of so many people: they do not put in the effort to treat others in such a way as to reveal to themselves their earnest desire for transformation through virtue. The very effort to act virtuously works as a signal that effectively mobilizes the unconscious forces to cooperate with grace such that even if the initial attempts of a beginner are filled with failure and imperfections the process of spiritual transformation is nevertheless truly begun. The effort to treat others in a saintly way stimulates one to become actually a saint and to encourage others to become likewise. It in a certain sense gives permission to oneself to become holy, to let go of old habits of behavior.

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