Can an unbeliever person be good or do even great things for others? This is a pertinent question in the social situation we are experiencing with the Covid-19 that provokes in so many people an enormous desire to do good.
Many centuries ago, St. Justin spoke about this fact affirming that human reason (logos) is a participation of the Word (Logos). Consequently, every human being possesses a "seed of the Logos" (Spermatikos Logos or Semina Verbi). And he explains that if Christ is the first-born of God, as every human being participates in Logos and there are people who live in conformity with the Logos and act according to this seed of God, they will be Christians at heart, although they will deny it. However in the background, the key attitude is to live the thankfulness. Everyone knows that his or her identity is built from the good received, wherever it comes from.
Let’s relate two concepts that we have always to improve: justice and charity. Pope Francis, in the audience of 24 April 2019, affirmed that “In life not everything is resolved with justice”. Love is necessary. We, Christians, have experienced that our life was not only wanted from God, but also loved by Him. We are in debt with God (debt of thankfulness) and with the people who gave us favourable conditions of life (debt of justice). When a person prays, he or she is giving thanks; when someone does good, he or she is being grateful.
Now that we all want to come back to the normality of life; it is necessary to know that not everything is solved with the best health system if we do not learn to live with vulnerability; not everything is solved with measures to reactivate the economy if we do not learn to live with generosity; not everything is solved with justice if we do not educate ourselves in the of forgiveness value and in the value of love to others, preached with the practice.
To love "beyond what it is necessary" is to prevent the spread of evil's vengeance, which can asphyxiate the whole world. Jesus replaces "the law of retaliation" with the law of love: "What God has done for us, we do for the others". God gives every creature the grace to write a story of goodness in the lives of our brothers and sisters, especially in le life of those who have done something unpleasant and wrong. And for that, we need concrete gestures: a word, a smile, a hand outstretched. Rising to normality implies gestures of welcome and acceptance towards others without judgment, without reproach; making the "other" important and meaningful to me. This and no other is the authentic seed that has been sown in all human being hearts.
Jesús Manuel Herreros Recio
Palencia Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace