Saturday, July 8, 2006

On Loving Our Enemies

Copying this into my quote journal tonight, I thought of the uproar caused some time ago about a blogger who admitted that she had deliberately passed by a mother and small children whose car was broken down because at the last minute she saw a political sticker she didn't agree with (either Vote Republican or something in support of George Bush ... I can't remember and that isn't the point anyway). Later, I am so happy to say that the blogger repented although many of her commenters were much less praiseworthy in their wholehearted approval of her initial actions.

Then I thought of this post that I read today at The Anchoress. I confess that I didn't go read the original linked commentary because what The Anchoress said made it very clear that this woman was so enraged that she was almost not recognizable as a human through her hatred. I didn't want to read it in the original. I didn't want to sully my mind with words I probably wouldn't be able to forget. Honestly, I felt real pity for that woman who was letting her emotions control her actions so. I am going to pray for her. (You know that prayer by now, right? "Lord have mercy on me and bless her...)

I was going to post this next week but thought that maybe now was a better time. It is a longer version of one of my favorite quotes from one of my very favorite saints ... Augustine ... seems all too appropriate to the situation of the woman who said that her enemy and his child were "no longer human."
Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

Commentary on the 1st Letter of John, 8,10

"It is mercy I desire"

In loving your enemy, you want him to be your brother. You do not love in him what he is, but what you want him to be. Let us imagine some oak wood that has not been carved. A capable craftsman sees this wood that has been cut in the forest; he likes the wood. I do not know what he wants to make out of it, but the artist does not love this wood so that it might remain as it is. His art lets him see what the wood can become. He does not love the rough wood; he loves what he will make of it, not the rough wood.

That is how God loved us when we were sinners. For he said: "People who are in good health do not need a doctor; sick people do." Did he love us sinners so that we might remain sinners? The craftsman saw us like a piece of rough wood coming from the forest, and what he had in mind was the work he would draw from there, not the wood from the forest.

It is the same with you: you see your enemy who opposes you, who overwhelms you with scathing words, who is harsh in his insults, who pursues you with his hatred. But you are attentive to the fact that he is a human being. You see everything that this person did against you, and you see in him that he was created by God. What he is as a human being is God's work; the hatred he bears towards you is his own work. And what do you say to yourself? "Lord, be kind to him, forgive his sins, inspire him with fear of you, change him." In this person, you do not love what he is, but what you want him to be. Thus, when you love your enemy, you love a brother.

No comments:

Post a Comment