Love Your Enemies!

Meditation: Luke 6:27-38

Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)

One of the reasons Jesus’ teaching on mercy is so challenging is that we face many opportunities to practice it each day. Like many other challenges, our best defense is a good offense. We are better able to rise to these challenges if we prepare ourselves for them in advance. So what can we do? What attitudes come before mercy?

First there’s love. When Jesus commands us to be merciful, he is essentially telling us to follow the way of love. Love doesn’t seek retribution or “brood over injury”

(1 Corinthians 13:5). That’s why Jesus tells his followers to “bless those who curse you” and “pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28). So out of love, when a family member says something hurtful, try to hold your tongue instead of lashing out. When someone cuts you off while you’re driving, pray for that person instead of reacting with anger.

There’s also understanding. Pope Francis has said that we are all “a complex mixture of light and shadows” (The Joy of Love, 113). So before you take offense or respond in a negative way, ask yourself, “What might be causing this person to act in this way?” If you step back and take the time to understand a person and the complicated factors that might lead people to do what they do, you may find it easier to be compassionate and thus merciful.

Third, there’s self-awareness. You too are a mixture of “light and shadows.” Yet it’s so very easy to see the plank in a brother’s or sister’s eye but fail to see the beam in your own (Matthew 7:3). When you regularly examine your heart, you are constantly reminded of your own weaknesses. As you become more alert to your own need for God’s compassion and forbearance, it becomes easier to forgive other people and show them mercy.

Because we are a work in progress, we will probably always struggle with the call to be merciful. But how blessed we are that God is merciful to us! As we do our part to prepare our hearts, he will pour out his grace upon us day by day. May we become his face of mercy to all we encounter each day!

“Jesus, grant me the grace this day to show mercy, just as your Father has shown me mercy.”

 

The Word Among Us

September 2018

Word Among Us is an excellent Catholic publication that I read everyday.  This one struck me today.

Morning of Reflection – Living Bread

The Living Bread is our August topic.  Scripture has been bringing us into this mystery through recent Gospel readings.  Since we can never exhaust the mystery of the Eucharist, we will be reflecting on this extraordinary gift.

Join spiritual director, Yvette Lessard, on Thursday morning, August 9th at 10 – 11:45 AM in the Parish hall of St Peter Church on Main Street in Danbury, CT.  All are invited to be with us.

Ignatius of Loyola, Soldier – Sinner – Saint

I had the great pleasure of watching this film on EWTN last weekend.  An excellent film!

A modern and very human take on the story of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, often called ‘The Saint of Second Chances.’ As a brash, hot-headed soldier in a time of political upheaval in Spain, the young Iñigo went from living a life of brutal violence and debauchery, to becoming one of the greatest saints in the history of the Church. This film chronicles Iñigo’s torturous struggle to turn from darkness to light—a struggle that nearly destroyed him, but also gave him the key to a spiritual weapon that continues to save lives to this very day.

Produced by Jesuit Communications Philippines (JesCom), Ignatius of Loyola was shot on location over two months in Spain. It is an incisive and thrilling look at the life of the real man behind the legend. In his lifelong quest to become the heroic Knight of his fantasies, Ignatius stares death in the face again and again, having his leg shattered by a cannonball in battle; driven to near suicide by his inner demons; finding himself imprisoned, accused of being a member of the Illuminati; and finally finding his life in the hands of the Inquisition. Through it all, he would come to see the hand of God working in his life, shaping the self-obsessed sinner into the loyal and passionate soldier-saint.

The film also shows how Ignacio wove the trials, errors, and lessons of his eventful life into the fabric of his masterpiece, the Spiritual Exercises. Combining clarity of thought with Ignacio’s own love of fantasy and imagination, the Exercises form a rigorous method of making one’s life decisions, and have guided and influenced countless seekers throughout history.  Available on DVD.