Love my enemies???
Today’s Gospel, as usual, brings to light Jesus’ perfect nature, His perfect Word, and His perfect Mercy to His disciples. Well, being the fallible human that I am, I’ve always been taken back when told (often), to pray for those who have hurt me or for those who I have felt persecuted by. When I take a moment, of course after feeling offended by this advice, then retreating from my self-pity, I am always centered by the fact that we are all children of God. We have been made in the image and likeness of our Creator.
After my abortion, I had no idea of the depths of anger I was capable of feeling. Anger had been an emotion that was, seemingly, easy to bury. Even ten years later, as I work through implementing healthy ways of coping with unresolved anger – by bringing it to Jesus with the help of my spiritual director, my sisters in Christ and counseling – there is still a lot of anger that crops up. I am very good at sitting in silent scorn. I can still scoff at the idea of praying for those who “persecute” me.
I believe this ultimately comes down to anger at myself. Though I have clung to Jesus’ Divine Mercy, I am still human. “How did I let that happen?” “How could those around me have encouraged the abortion and tell me that this was the absolute right decision?” “How did the father of my child simply say ‘we’re not having this baby; I’m not going to be a father right now’ when he was supposed to love me?” I have since forgiven these people, as I believe they live in ignorance and are wholly misinformed. But, the forgiveness of self comes in waves for me.
Yet, there is one ultimate enemy – Satan. The father of lies and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Constantly living in the midst of Spiritual Warfare, I must be armored at all times. There isn’t a neutral zone here. The devil’s playground of temptation, his lies, his lures for instant gratification are unrelenting, but at the same time, God’s grace and protection are ever-present. How does one “love” thy enemies when I feel they are immersed in this darkness?
I know for me, I must protect my spirit and am extremely careful about those who I choose to surround myself with. I watch these abortion “enthusiasts”, who seem to be everywhere, and I am sickened. Yet, “behold, now is the day of salvation.” Is it too late for them? No. Jesus wants all of us. If I am being honest, the pro-abortion groups incite that anger within me and I don’t think I have ever really prayed for the conversion of their souls. With God, all things are possible. As long as we are still breathing, there is a chance.
I know many women who were pro-abortion and then having had one themselves, had a major conversion. Also, the years following my abortion, I fell into a life of sin, full of incomprehensible demoralization; which only compounded my guilt and shame. It sounds crazy, but my greatest sin brought me back to God and my faith in a way I never thought possible. I have a deeper understanding of His works and a connection that I truly wish for every one of His children to experience.
Am I at the point of that “perfect love” of my enemies? No. For that, I will pray – I’m unsure if we ever achieve that level of perfect love in this life. However, today’s Gospel is yet another reminder (and I can hear my loved ones repeating to me “pray for them”), that in my heart and soul, I know that my purpose here on this earth is to bring others to Jesus. How can I do this? I can add “love my enemies” to that list. I have an innate desire for the salvation of all; and I have Jesus to thank for that.