Fruits of Forgiveness

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Feb. 16, 2008

Readings: Deut 26:16-19; Mt 5:43-48

"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." Mt 5:44-45

Good military tacticians will tell you, "Take the high ground." And of course the advantages are obvious. Atop a hill, you can monitor the movements of your enemies and weaken their ability to strike. But when Jesus exhorts us to follow a similar spiritual path — to take the high ground and "love our enemies" — where is the soundness of such advice? Wouldn't the high ground leave us vulnerable and exposed to injury?

Upon closer reflection, it's clear what the advantages are. We know fear and hatred fog the intellect and obscure the heart. We know they separate us from God and breed anger and violence. In fear and hatred, we deny the sanctity of life itself. When Paul talks about taking up "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph 6:17), he means that we are to arm ourselves with the word of God. Rather than strike out against our enemies, we are called to stand firm in our faith and to protect the life of our spirit.

But how are we expected to love those who may cause us harm? Follow God's example. He sent His Son to die for all, even those who treated Him badly. Jesus didn't show anger when He was insulted. Rather, He blessed those who cursed Him. He didn't reject Judas who betrayed Him, but called him "friend" (Mt 26:50). On the Cross, He did not wish violence against His killers, but forgave them their sins.

Conform to the image of Christ and pray for those who seek you harm. Be love itself. All is possible in God. In loving our enemies, we bear witness to the challenge Jesus set out to show us — namely, that forgiveness is mightier than resentment and that love is mightier than hatred.

Dear God, make me a loving soul who sees the futility of hatred. May I act in unity with Your merciful love by banishing all resentment, jealousy, and vindictiveness from my heart. Amen.

Prov 15:1;
Lk 23:34
Acts 7:60


Diary of St. Faustina
1175, 1768

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Mary - Feb 25, 2008

I once read in the Catholic Telegraph Register that a person must apologize and make atonement for a wrong doing in order to be forgiven. What is your undrstanding of this?

Andrew Son - Feb 17, 2008

My enemies may be numerous. They may scorn me and hate me. But, I forgive them. God may forgive them, if He loves them so I must be just as decent. Thank you and God bless you.

Barbara - Feb 17, 2008

Sitting at mass one day I realized that we are all in this together. Not one of us there feels no pain in one form or another and Jesus died for all of us including those I don't like and those enemies of mine. Thank you Jesus!

A.V. - Feb 16, 2008

Happened to get a little more insight on this , from the Catholic ; how many of us equate any pain with punishment and hence tends to look at it with resentment; instead when we do accept pain as part of life in a fallen world and take it to our Lord , asking to take it from us ,as well as for mercy on behalf of all, it becomes more bearable and we get to pray for those who hurt us ,who also are loved by our Lord !