Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
February 19, A.D. 2005
A brief reflection on today's Scripture passages:
The command of God to love one's enemies has always been difficult. How can we love a terrorist? How can we love someone who has murdered a child, or a relative of ours, or someone revered by all as a saint? Love, although often accompanied by warm emotional feelings, is basically a decision. It's a decision to desire good for a person, especially eternal salvation. If the person in question has performed evil actions, then love includes the desire that the person undergoes a change of heart and repentance for those evil deeds. To this end, we must direct earnest and honest prayer.
True love of enemies includes our "body language". It is not enough to intellectually rationalize ourselves out of hatred for the person. It also includes favorable body language when one socially encounters the person. It includes polite speech that shows a respectful attitude, basic good will, and an openness to some dialogue. A cold, aloof "I forgive you" is no forgiveness at all; most people would interpret it as hostile, perfunctory, or just plain untruth.
"As we forgive those who trespass against us" can come back to haunt us on the day of judgment, especially if we have so brainwashed ourselves as to believe we are forthright and honest, fair and unbiased in our speech concerning such a one.
Humble prayer and frequent "dry runs" in encountering enemies, at least in our minds, can prove beneficial when the time comes for an actual encounter.
An honest Christian will always pray that God will take away a hateful spirit, and will give us grace to actually turn an enemy into a friend.
Justice toward an enemy is a necessary requisite for peace and reconciliation.
- Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore
(smartins at twcny dot rr dot com)
Lives of the saints:
Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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