St. Benedict described the monastery as a school of love. So is the Church. We are children following our teacher Jesus as we learn to love. Today we hear again one of the hardest instructions: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Not simply tolerate or have patience. Welcome fully, without restriction. Love unconditionally.
Yet these are people who intend us harm, who hurt us or at the very least get under our skin. We resent, accuse, and fight our enemies, trading hurt for hurt, barricading in bitterness. How in the world can we love them?
Pray, Jesus says. Come to God upholding them. As we Brothers say in our Rule of Life:
“In intercession we shall discover the power to love those we find difficult. Father Benson [the founder of SSJE] taught that ‘in praying for others we learn really and truly to love them. As we approach God on their behalf we carry the thought of them into the very being of eternal Love, and as we go into the being of him who is eternal Love, so we learn to love whatever we take with us there.’”
We learn to love.
Who is your enemy? Who is difficult for you? Perhaps someone close by, in our own family or work or church community. Perhaps someone far away or distant. Perhaps someone we hear about in the news.
Try praying for them. Go to God on their behalf remembering them as fellow humans, as people. Pray as a child of God for these other children of God.
Trust the teacher and practice praying, for through this we learn to love everyone.
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