Tag Archives: love of enemies

Love your enemies, Jesus said

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Today’s Gospel ought to shock all of us into another orbit. One of Jesus’ most difficult teachings and expectations is made known. How have we heard the point “treat others as we would want to be treated”?  Probably many times. But treating others is the least we can do. Jesus opens the horizon a bit more by saying that we have to love our enemies; we are to show mercy to others. Mercy is not a one time event; it is a perpetual way of living; it is a way of living without conditions. Catholics can’t say this is the first time for hearing this Gospel. Love of enemies is what sets true believers from those who really don’t (or can’t). Do we really think that we can live by the words of the Living God without the Living God alive in us?

I think it is reasonable to follow what the Pope has indicated in thinking of the connection of the love for our enemies impoverishing us, because it makes us poor like Jesus who was made flesh and has shown us the true face of God. Jesus’ lowering of himself is one those pivotal points in salvation of history that we can’t avoid keeping in mind on a daily basis. A new insight into what mystery of our salvation is –is revealed anew.

Of course, we need to ask what love is. One working definition is that love is having concern for another’s destiny.

In this morning’s Mass in Rome, Pope Francis said:

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The obligation to love

“We have an obligation not only to love each
other, but also to make ourselves as lovable as possible so that it is easy for
others to love us.” 

William of St. Thierry

The Catholic’s perpetual second chance

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I try to communicate to others, particularly the friends I teach about the Catholic faith, that to be authentically Catholic one has to fall in love with Jesus, and to do what He does. Mercy and love are constitutive parts of being called a Christian. This not always easy. It is a human struggle for many. But we are called by the Lord Himself to love and pray for your enemies; have mercy on the sinner; forgive injuries; feed the hungry. Not willing to do this, then it would be pretty hard to convince others that your proposed faith in Christ as Lord and Savior is true. The Pope’s Angelus address earlier today gives us a clue to my point: to be a Catholic means living in the mindset of having a perpetual second chance. Read the 2 papal paragraphs:

On this seventh
Sunday of Ordinary Time the biblical readings speak to us about God’s will to
make men participants in his life: “Be holy because I the Lord your God am
holy,” we read in the Book of Leviticus (19:1). With these words and the precepts
that follow from them, the Lord invited the Chosen People to be faithful to the
covenant with him, walking in his ways, and established the social legislation
on the commandment that says that “you will love your neighbor as yourself”
(Leviticus 19:18). If we listen, then, to Jesus in whom God took on a mortal
body to become every man’s neighbor and reveal his infinite love for us, we
hear again that same call, that same objective audacity
. The Lord, in fact,
says: “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). But who
can become perfect?
Our perfection is to live as children of God in humility
concretely doing his will
. St. Cyprian wrote that “to God’s paternity there
must correspond a conduct as children of God so that God might be glorified and
praised by man’s good conduct
” (De zelo et livore, 15: CCL 3a, 83).

In what way
can we imitate Jesus? Jesus himself says: “Love your enemies and pray for those
who persecute you so that you will be children of your Father who is in heaven”
(Matthew 5:44-45). He who welcomes the Lord in his life and loves him with all
of his heart can begin again
. He is able to do God’s will: to realize a new
form of existence
animated by love and destined for eternity
. Paul the Apostle
adds: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in
you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). If we are truly aware of this reality and our life
is deeply formed by it, then our witness becomes clear, eloquent and
efficacious. An [early Christian] author wrote: “When the whole being of man is
, so to speak, with God’s love, then his soul’s splendor is also reflected
on the outside
” (John Climacus, Scala Paradisi, XXX: PG 88, 1157 B), in the
whole of his life. “Love is a great thing,” we read in “The Imitation of
Christ,” [it is] “a good that makes every heavy thing light and easily endures
every hardship. Love aspires to sail on high, not to be held back by any
earthly thing. It is born of God and only in God can it find rest” (III, V, 3).

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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