Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
Conflict seems to be an inevitable part of living in community. As soon as we have two people with two separate wills, those wills are going to disagree on something. But this need not be so. The Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, exist together in perfect society in unity of will and action. Perfect community is not only possible but is the goal for us set by Jesus in the sending of the Holy Spirit. We are called to rise above our pettiness and self-seeking so that we might grow together in imitation of the Trinity.
Conflict now can make us grow and learn so that we will eliminate conflict in the future. Conflict forces us to humble ourselves and work together for the greater good. We learn patience, bearing with one another. We learn courage to speak up when we need to defend our principles, and prudence for when we ought to remain silent and bear small crosses. The little things are bearable because of the greater good that we receive by living in community with one another.
This is what Saint Paul describes for us as the action of the Holy Spirit within us as we endure hardships. “We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” The conflict in our society, just or unjust, can be an occasion of spiritual growth for us. The Holy Spirit can raise us out of our conflicts and into a life of virtuous union.
The perfect oneness of the Trinity is possible because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are perfectly united. The Trinity is our model and our hope for success, as the same Father, Son, and Holy Spirit aid us in forming our human wills. We learn from the Spirit to discard lesser desires and unite ourselves in pursuit of higher goods. As our character develops greater virtue, we can more closely resemble the Trinity, until our Church community here on earth shines with the same unity and joy as the Trinity in heaven.
So if we find ourselves in conflict with one another today, use that conflict as an excuse to grow in virtue. Instead of pettiness or spite, let us react in a virtuous way, calling upon the Holy Spirit to provide the grace we need to rise above the conflict and seek solutions together that will bring us all closer to Christ Jesus. Let us celebrate the Holy Trinity by imitating the oneness of spirit that makes the Father, Son, and Spirit rejoice in each other and work together in all things.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn