International Day for Tolerance Novena: Day 8 | Solidarity & Kindness
One of the hardest things in life can be standing with (or, even more so, standing up for) those with whom we fiercely disagree. Yet Jesus said, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Disagreeing with a person does not make your opponent any less human. Even if someone is severely misguided or malicious in their opinions and actions, that person is still a human being and a child of God. As Catholics, we believe that, by God’s grace, redemption is possible for such a person.
Our duty is to stand with people of different perspectives and pray that they come to the truth. At the same time, we have the responsibility to pray for a softening of our hard hearts so that we, too, may be open to truth.
Standing in solidarity with your opponent on any scrap of common ground you can find is not only a great blessing, but also one of the most unexpected things you can do. With that one sliver of kindness, you can show others that you want to walk with them on a mutual path toward understanding and truth. Meanwhile, you can continue to stand in solidarity with those who have a similar perspective to your own to collectively bring others to the truth.
We ask God to grant us the fruit of the Spirit, kindness, to give us the strength to stand in solidarity with friends and enemies alike. Together with Bishop Reed, we pray:
Since in many cases we have become divided as a nation, viewing one another as the “other”, we have been unable to see the struggles of others (simply because we might disagree on how to address those struggles). Now that the election is over, let’s foster true solidarity by accepting grace from the Spirit to produce the fruit of kindness. Now is the time to turn to one another and acknowledge struggles and stand in solidarity with our fellow citizens. That act of kindness can open doors to solutions that are motivated by mutual understanding and care.