Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Unity in Diversity More than a Slogan

In the Catholic Peace Weekly, a one-time politician gives the readers some thoughts on which to reflect.

University professors who are about to retire often organize their past years in many ways, but one sociology professor planned a calligraphy exhibition. An alumnus of the university, he put together his students' writings with his long-standing calligraphy skills.The title of the exhibition was an article in the Analects, which means that "a gentleman makes friends with learning or writing." The latter part of the quote means: "We help each to grown in virtue by having friends."
The professor emphasized the importance of relationships while explaining the background of calligraphy. The extraordinary talents and unique lives of those he encountered in his life are the gifts that make his life journey colorful. But in most cases, meeting or talking with people who don't think the same is more of a burden than a joy. It is not easy for him to talk without reserve with those with different beliefs and political party affiliations.
It takes a lot of effort when dealing with differences to come to a point where it becomes, not uncomfortable, but rewarding and rich. It was especially difficult for the writer in his experience with politics as a local lawmaker. In addition, as a political scholar who learned that constantly fighting for victory for your side was a series of tensions and wariness every day.
Italy's Chiara Lubick (1920-2008), the founder of the Focolare Movement, started the"Political Movement for Consensus (MPPU)" that began 25 years ago. The movement has its roots in Lubich's charism of unity. The writer became a member of the movement. It was an unlikely calling, but there was enlightenment. He found that conversations and meetings with people who had different ideas helped him keep his original intention concerning politics. It was not easy, but he organized himself to understand the attitudes and 'to wear the other's shoes for a time' a way towards unity. Even if it was the last recourse he tried to understand the other person.
The Movement for Unity in Politics (Mppu) serves as an international workshop for shared politics. Those involved come from the whole spectrum of elected politicians, at various institutional levels, party activists, members of different political movements, diplomats, public officials, students of political science, active citizens, young people who are interested in issues both in their locality and the big global questions, as well as those who want to exercise their rights and duties to contribute to the common good.
The agreement pursued by the Focolare movement was not aimed at uniformity but unity in diversity. He understood the word for unity in Italian was more like "harmony" in Korean.

We all want to live a dignified life whether we call it living in harmony or united. You may think that God's gift to humans is dignity, but it is also a way of life that everyone chooses for themselves. And the moment of choice comes whenever I run into others. At this time, we can find answers for a smooth encounter with the other person when we approach with the idea  "how do I treat myself." This means that self-reflection or efforts to find self-dignity are a way to value relationships that have been made difficult. Whenever you meet an uncomfortable person, it may be easier than self-reflection to empathize with the other person with a mindset of "there must be a story" behind all of this.
In life, there are times when you get involved in bad relationships. Efforts to manage any relationship wisely and preciously are the way to a dignified life. His friend's retirement calligraphy exhibition: "Make friends by writing," reminds him of the meaning of relationships.

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