SAINT PETER CLAVER, PRIEST (MEMORIAL)
Love your enemies.
God is love. God is kind. God is compassionate. He is our heavenly Father, and he wants only good for us. Statements like these can be a great source of comfort and hope for us, and it’s good for us to keep them in the forefront of our minds.
But the truth is, God is far more loving and merciful than we can imagine. He loves each of us so much that he has made us his children in Christ. And as any good earthly father would do, he wants to teach us to be like himself. That means he wants to teach us to love. For the most part, we are happy to follow him and try to be as loving and kind and generous as possible. In fact, each of us could probably fill a whole room with “neighbors” to whom we’ve shown love and for whom we have done acts of kindness.
But what happens when someone you consider an enemy walks into that room? Maybe someone who has betrayed you or whose life choices you find offensive—is that person your neighbor too?
Now, most of us, when faced with this challenging person, would probably not lash out or do anything to embarrass them. We may just try to ignore them or push them from our thoughts. But what if God whispers in your ear, “I want you to go up to that person and greet them warmly”? What if he tells you, “I love that person just as deeply and compassionately as I love you. Can you please share that love with them?” That might be more of a challenge. But this is what Jesus meant when he told us to love our enemies. He wants our love to be as full and unconditional as his. That’s what will make us “children of the Most High” in the truest sense of the word (Luke 6:35).
Perhaps you already have someone in mind as you are reading this meditation. If you can, bring this person to Jesus in your heart. Imagine the two of you standing before him side-by-side. Ask the Lord for the grace to forgive or accept or love this person—whatever you need. If you can’t do this, then ask Jesus to help you be patient with yourself as you try to take the next step toward reconciliation.
“Father, thank you for loving all of us equally. Help me to live in that love and to share it with everyone.”
WORD AMONG US