'Love Your Enemies'
By Chris Sparks (Oct 14, 2014)
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people. ― G. K. Chesterton
We've run pieces here on thedivinemercy.org about the persecution of Christians going on around the world, and called on you all to pray. (I'm sure you have.)
Now here's the other side of the coin: Don't forget to pray for the people who are doing the persecuting.
We do, after all, talk about mercy here at thedivinemercy.org. So let's tackle the mercy that's hardest of all: Pray for your enemies, the enemies of the Church, and the enemies of humanity.
Pray for ISIS, and all the other jihadist organizations exiling or killing our Christian brethren.
Pray for North Korea and the other regimes around the world that imprison Christians, forbid religion, and fight the children of Mary (see Rev. 12:1, 17).
Pray for the secularists here at home who seek to drive religion from the public square, and for the atheists who are so quick to take offense, as well as so quick to seek to offend.
Pray for the criminal organizations that target the priests and religious who oppose them.
Pray for the worst of the worst, for the enemies of humanity, those who enslave others, who loot, who murder, who sell their fellow human beings.
Pray for your enemies, and the enemies of the Church, and the enemies of us all.
We are called to do this by the message and devotion of Divine Mercy. After all, every time we pray the chaplet, we are pleading for Divine Mercy "on us, and on the whole world." That includes all, the bad and the good alike. Saint Faustina recorded in her Diary:
During Holy Mass, I saw Jesus stretched out on the Cross, and He said to me, "My pupil, have great love for those who cause you suffering. Do good to those who hate you." I answered, "O my Master, You see very well that I feel no love for them, and that troubles me." Jesus answered, "It is not always within your power to control your feelings. You will recognize that you have love if, after having experienced annoyance and contradiction, you do not lose your peace, but pray for those who have made you suffer and wish them well." (1628)
Later, she records Christ saying:
Be always merciful as I am merciful. Love everyone out of love for Me, even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your heart. (Diary, 1695; see also 1768)
All of this merely reiterates the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel:
[Jesus said,] "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for He makes His sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect" — Mt 5:43-48.
Pray for your enemies. It's one of the hardest and most shocking teachings Christ ever gave us, and yet it's at the heart of the Christian life. Why? Because it's at the heart of the Incarnation, the heart of what Jesus did for us all.
But God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us ... Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. (Rom 5:8, 10)
Jesus did it first! He loved us even when we were sinners, even when we were His enemies. Jesus prayed for those who persecuted them (see Lk 23:34), and saved us all. We, the members of the Body of Christ, can do no less.
So pray! Include your enemies, the enemies of the Church, and the enemies of all that is right and good in the world in your chaplet and Hour of Great Mercy intentions. Does your parish include prayers for the enemies in the prayers of the faithful at Mass? If not, you might want to ask why not and suggest the parish include something like the following: "For our enemies, that God's loving will be done in their lives."
Pray for your enemies in each Rosary, for all those whom you know are your enemies and for all those whom God alone knows have some grudge or hatred against you. And pray for the grace to forgive them. Pray for the grace to love them. Pray for the grace to make friends out of enemies — or more: brothers and sisters.
Pray for your enemies. It'll make all the difference in the world.