Day 18 – Solidarity: Identification through Love

018 - solidarity.pngDay 18 – Solidarity: Identification through Love

Incarnation is that process whereby God identifies Himself with man through Love. Augustine was moved especially by two biblical texts that illustrate this identification between God and Man. Matthew 25: 41.45 “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me… Whatever you refused to do for one these least ones, you refused to do to me.” and Acts 9: 4-5 “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” The latter is the Risen Lord’s question regarding Saul’s (later Paul) motive for persecuting the Christians of Damascus. What struck Augustine here is the identification of Christ with his persecuted community. In the former, the Son of Man (v. 31) (= King, v. 34; Lord, v. 37. 44) identifies Himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the prisoner, the sick, the naked, in such a way that one’s actions towards these are acts towards Him. Augustine does not use the term “solidarity” – a word that comes from Roman Law and has come to mean, in terms of social justice not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. But Augustine does render the idea – especially in its connotation in Latin American circles – in his insistence on recognizing Christ in the poor. “Turn your attention to Christ who lies in the street,” Augustine once said, “Look at Christ who is hungry and suffering from the cold, Christ who is a stranger and in need!”

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