Love and the Dialogue
full of passionate intensity," as the poet put it.
It needs courage to face oneself. But it can be done with the aid of Christ. We can face up to and conquer our natural timidity and egoism and open our hearts to our fellow men. This is the only way, in the last analysis, to achieve that long sought for peace on earth and to give glory to God.
Today the Church faces a hostile or indifferent world and one cannot but ask what the Church offers in return to men. Education, care of the sick, and other such tasks arc more and more being ensured by laymen who have the right and the duty to assure them. What remains for the Church? Her gift. her supreme gift, even if she offers it now in ribw ways, remains the same She offers Christ who is Love and Life.
But we are the Church, we are Christ. We represent Him to the world. We also disfigure him by our sins, by our lack of love. We betray him "By this shall all men know you are my disciples, that you have LOVE one for another." Let us be honest. Can men outside the Church sec in us members of Christ's Living Body, bound one to another in a bond of love?
If not, why not? Why can they not say of us what the Jews said of the first disciples, "look how they love one another"? Is it that, seduced by modern techniques and our own pride and egoism, we content ourselves with running a Church rather than with giving ourselves in love to our fellow men?
But our first duty is brotherly love. "Like Jesus you must realise that the will of the Father is that you should work to save your brothers not by works, not by preaching but by overcoming your egoism, giving your whole life in a frank and total friendship to each human being." (Lettres aux Fraternites . . . Voillaume.) The efficaeity of our apostolate as Christians, whether lay or clerical, does not depend primarily on the technical methods we employ, or even on what we do or say, but rather on what we are. To convert the world means to love the world, each and every person as he is here and now and by him and in him Jesus Christ.