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Minute Meditations

The ‘Holiness of Negotiation’

Feb 26, 2021
The ‘Holiness of Negotiation’ | Photo: Paul Haring, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis says, “Jesus always knows how to walk with us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, he frees us from being locked into the rigidity of the law and he tells us: ‘Do this to the extent that you can.’ And he understands us well. This is our Lord, it is he who teaches us. Allow me to share a term with you which might seem a bit strange, it is the little holiness of negotiation: I cannot do everything, but I want to do everything, I am going to agree with you, at least let us not insult one another, let us not make war and let us live together in peace.”

When we hear challenging passages from Scripture, we might be tempted to say, “What Jesus really meant to say…” and then we change the message to something that sounds more like what we think God wants us to do. For people who pride themselves on sticking tightly to the rules of the Church, messages of God’s mercy and tolerance often seem disorienting. We want to be right more than we want to be reconciled. We want to believe that we’re saved and others are damned. We like our world black and white. For Pope Francis, reflecting on the words and following in the way of Jesus, reconciliation is the better choice, even if it means bending our self-righteousness a bit. There’s an old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” If we focus on finding common ground with one another, we’re less likely to end up in irreconcilable disputes. We might never come around to another’s point of view completely, but both sides may move closer to the middle through what the pope calls “the little holiness of negotiation.”

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis
by Diane M. Houdek

The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis


Submitted by Arlene B. Muller (not verified) on Fri, 02/26/2021 - 08:28 AM


There is a delicate fine line that we as Christians are called. On one side is truth/justice/righteousness & hating the sin & the other side is charity/mercy & compassion & loving the sinner. There are some things for which it would be morally wrong to compromise (the 2 greatest commandments of loving God & neighbor & the Ten Commandments) but there are some things for which compromise is commendable (mere human tradition). Conservatives & traditionalists tend to emphasize truth/justice/righteousness/ hating the sin at the expense of charity/mercy/compassion/loving the sinner and to treat that which is merely human tradition as Sacred Tradition. Liberals tend to emphasize charity/compassion/mercy/loving the sinner at the expense of truth/justice/righteousness/ hating the sin & to treat that which is Sacred Tradition as merely human tradition. The challenge is finding that delicate fine line and walking on it, neither falling over to the left or to the right. We need to hold fast to that on which God commands us not to compromise but be willing to compromise or at least "agree to disagree" & find common ground about the rest. Our LORD always upholds the moral law while showing sinners the kindness that leads to repentance but compromises on that which is merely human tradition. My prayer is that God will help me to live a righteous life & uphold righteous without falling into self-righteousness & while demonstrating charity, mercy & compassion & yet never fall into the misguided compassion that endorses sin & helps no one.

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