Sunday, February 19, 2017

Love Your Enemies

Women of Peace,

I woke up this morning with the words "Love your enemies" and had no idea the Sunday gospel was about that message. I just hadn't taken time to look ahead at the Gosepl reading as I usually do. Of course, it kinda' knocked my socks off to see that the Spirit whispered to me exactly what the church universally would be hearing about today.

Long story short, I have been struggling with a circumstance that has been difficult causing me to be tempted to have ill feelings about those that seem to be so focused on making a profit instead of respecting the feelings of others and relationships with others.

Perhaps it's one of those big life lessons that the Lord is showing me right now. I feel as though a magnifying glass is being held up to our materialistic life in America, and I can more clearly see the greed and lack of concern for others. This circumstance I referred to is only a microcosm of the larger picture. (Don't want to stereotype everyone by any means. Many I know are very generous and other-centered.)

The good thing is I have cried out to the Lord, "Remove from me any of that nature, any of that greed" for being human I am subject to the same inclinations and I don't want to be like that. My heart's desire is to put him and others first, not material things first or even second.

One of my favorite preachers/teachers these days is Bishop Robert Barron. His ministry is aptly named "Word on Fire" cause it is! He's on fire and his words are on fire. I love how he reminds us that we are called to go way beyond hating, tolerating or "vaguely accepting" our enemies.

I think his likening the response we need to make to the martial art of aikido is helpful. We blend with their energy. My husband has trained people in managing aggressive behavior in the past and it is the same. MAB's key components are based on aikido: go with the flow momentarily, offer no resistance, work with the person not against, be an active listener. There's a lot of food for thought here.

I pray that as you read Barron's reflection you will be consumed in the loving truth and merciful embrace of the Lord.

"Friends, our Gospel today is taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It is one of the puzzling texts in the New Testament. It speaks of loving our enemies. Not tolerating them, or vaguely accepting them, but loving them. When you hate your enemy, you confirm him as your enemy. But when you love him in response to his hatred, you confuse and confound him, taking away the very energy that feeds his hatred.

There is a form of oriental martial arts called aikido. The idea of aikido is to absorb the aggressive energy of your opponent, moving with it, continually frustrating him until he comes to the point of realizing that fighting is useless.

Some have pointed out that there is a great deal of this in Jesus’ strategy of nonviolence and love of the enemy. You creatively absorb the aggression of your opponent, channeling it back against him, to show him the futility of violence. So when someone insults you, send back a compliment instead of an insult. When someone conspires against you, work to help him."

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