To "keep unity in the bond of peace" is easy and difficult at the same time. It is easy because when the heart is truly humble, meek, and patient, it bears everything with love, carefully trying to adapt itself to the feelings and desires of others, rather than asserting its own. It is difficult because, as long as we are here below, self-love, even when mortified, always tends to rise and assert its rights, thus creating continual occasions of clashes, the avoidance of which calls for much self-renunciation and much delicacy toward others. We should be persuaded that all that disturbs, weakens, or worse still, destroys fraternal union, does not please God; it does not please Him even if done under pretext of zeal. We should always prefer to renounce our own ideas--although they be good--rather than dispute with our neighbor, except when it is a question of fulfillment of duty or respect for the law of God. An act of humble renunciation for the sake of union and peace among our brethren gives much more glory to God than a glorious deed which might cause discord or disagreement.
Very often the cause of division among good people is excessive self-assertion: the desire to do things one's own way. Given our limitations, there can be nothing so absolute in our ideas that it cannot give way to the ideas of others. If our ideas are good, upright, and brilliant, those of others may be equally good, or even better. Therefore, it is much wiser, more humble and charitable to accept the views of others and to try to reconcile our views with theirs, rather than to reject them, lest we be obliged to give up our personal ways and views. This individualism is the enemy of union; it is a hindrance to good works as well as to spiritual progress.
In today's Epistle, St. Paul puts before us all the reasons why we should preserve union with our neighbor. Be "one body and one spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all." If God has willed to save and sanctify us all in Christ, uniting us in Him in one body, giving us one same vocation, one faith, and one hope, and being Himself the Father of all, how shall we pretend to save and sanctify ourselves if we are not united with one another? If we do not wish to frustrate God's plan and endanger our salvation and sanctification, we should be ready to make any personal sacrifice whatsoever in order to maintain and strengthen union. Let us bear in mind that Jesus has asked for us not only union, but perfect union: "That they may be made perfect in one" (Jn 17,23).
Today's Gospel (Mt 22,34-46) also repeats that the commandment to love our neighbor is, together with the commandment to love God, the basis of "the whole law," that is, of all Christianity. Let us not turn a deaf ear to these repeated appeals for charity and union; the Church insists on these points because Jesus has insisted on them, and because charity is "the precept of the Lord; if this only is done, it is enough" (St. John the Evangelist).
From Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.