Patricia A. Merlo, M.P.M.

(Source: Ron Rolheiser, OMI - Daily Reflection e-mail 8/22/2014)

When scripture tells us that Jesus saved the people from their sins, it doesn't just mean that in offering his death to his father as a sacrifice in one eternal act he took away our sins. It also points to his way of living and how, as he demonstrated, forgiving and loving one's enemies take away sin, by absorbing it

Ron Rolheiser, OMI


Loving our Enemies

We preach loving and forgiving our enemies as an ideal and naively believe that we are doing it. But, for the most part, we aren't. We really don't love and forgive those who oppose us. Too often we are distrustful, disrespectful, bitter, demonizing, and (metaphorically speaking) murderous towards each other. If there is much love and forgiveness of enemies in our lives, it's far from evident, both in our world and in our churches.

I consider this to be the greatest challenge of my life, morally and humanly. How to love an enemy: How do I not let a jealous glance freeze my heart? How do I not let a bitter word ruin my day? How do I not demonize others when they oppose me? How do I remain sympathetic when I'm misunderstood? How do I remain warm in the face of bitterness? How do I not give in to paranoia when I feel threatened? How do I forgive someone who doesn't want my forgiveness? How do stop myself from slamming the door of my heart in the face of coldness and rejection? How do I forgive others when my own heart is bitter in self-pity? How do I really love and forgive as Jesus did?

How did Jesus retain peace of mind, warmth in his heart, graciousness in his speech, joy in his life, resiliency in his efforts, the capacity to be grateful, and a sense of humor in the face of misunderstanding, jealousy, hatred, and death threats?

He did it by recognizing that this was, singularly, the most important challenge of his life and mission, and, under the weight of that imperative, by falling on his knees to ask for the help of the One who can do in us what we can't do for ourselves.

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About Ron Rolheiser, OMI

Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.

He is a community-builder, lecturer and writer. His books are popular throughout the English-speaking world and his weekly column is carried by more than seventy newspapers worldwide.

For more information please visit my website.

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