Reconciliation and Relationship, a Fruitful Pairing

Mario Imperatori, SJ

 Mario Imperatori, SJ / Faith / 3 September 2019

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Anthropological relevance of reconciliation

The term reconciliation offers a splendid insight into our relational character as humans. Reconciliation always presupposes a preceding relational rupture.

It is well known that contemporary philosophical reflection, thanks above all to personalism, has widely re-evaluated the notion of relationship, putting it in connection with that of identity and thus making a decisive contribution to overcoming interpretations of identity uncritically based on modern individualism and subjectivism, which understandably struggled to account for the anthropological relevance of reconciliation.

That is why we must first of all focus on this decisive aspect of relationships.

Only in the light of the intimate connection between relationship and identity will it be clear that reconciliation, insofar as it re-establishes relationships that were previously interrupted, is by no means a secondary element, a simple “making peace” with others and with God, but touches, on the contrary, our deepest identity as humans. Reconciliation is about our very being.

The human being is a structurally related being, in the sense that the human is constituted as a man and as a woman precisely from and thanks to the network of relationships in which that person is concretely inserted. And that has been the case since the beginning of each individual’s life. The human person is, in fact, not only from a biological point of view, but also from a social and anthropological one, the result of a relationship between a man and a woman. Any sons and daughters are almost the embodiment of their relationship. Human beings do not bring about their own existence but emerge from the relationship that unites their parents. And this filial relationship between parents and children involves masculinity or femininity, which are therefore not only a biological and cultural fact, but also anthropological, precisely because they indicate, with the language of the body, a structural being in relationship with and for someone. This is something every human experiences.

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