Josemaría Escrivá Obras

St Leo the Great says that 'the term "neighbour" includes not only those with whom we have ties of friendship or family, but all our fellow men with whom we share a common nature... A single Creator has made us and given us our souls. We all live under the same sky and breathe the same air, and we live through the same days and nights. Although some people are good and others bad, some just and others unjust, God nevertheless is generous and kind towards all.'

We grow up as children of God by practising the new commandment. In the Church we learn to serve and not to be served, and we find we have the strength to love all mankind in a new way, which all will recognise as stemming from the grace of Christ. Our love is not to be confused with sentimentality or mere good fellowship, nor with that somewhat questionable zeal to help others in order to convince ourselves of our superiority. Rather, it means living in peace with our neighbour, venerating the image of God that is found in each and every man and doing all we can to get them in their turn to contemplate that image, so that they may learn how to turn to Christ.

Charity with everyone means, therefore, apostolate with everyone. It means we, on our part, must translate into deeds and truth the great desire of God 'who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth'.

If we must also love our enemies (here I mean those who regard us as such, for I do not consider myself an enemy of anyone or of anything) we have all the more reason for loving those who are simply distant from us, those whom we find less attractive, those who seem the opposite of you or me on account of their language, culture or upbringing.

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