“Finally, may Christ inflame the desires of all men to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong.”Pope John XXIII
Do you find it difficult to love your enemy? To pour out love onto the one person who has brought the most hurt and harm to your life?
Many years ago, the verses in Matthew 5:44-45 resonated in my heart, bringing forth a change that was freeing. In order for me to truly love as Christ and to have spiritual freedom in that love, I had to love the one person who hurt me the most, the one person who persecuted my faith, impacted who I was internally and externally and who’s idea of love was greatly distorted by his own desires.
How was I going to love this person despite the wounds in my heart that were hemorrhaging?
Step 1 – To pray for him. That very act is what gave me the grace to forgive and love despite any of his actions in my past and those to come. Was it easy? Not at all. In fact, many times it brought a flood of tears and felt like I was piercing my heart all over again. Over time, it became easier and I felt freer.
Loving someone who has wounded us so deeply is a very difficult task. It is something that feels unnatural to us, yet should come natural as children of God. Because of original sin, there is a wall dividing us from being able to do this so easily. We need help tearing it down.
God gives us this free gift to help us do the difficult task, tear down the wall, heal our hearts and sanctify us. Our Lenten journey is the best time of tearing this wall down and praying for those who have caused the deepest wounds in our hearts.
Yesterday you identified someone you needed to forgive and asked to release them from their transgression. Today, I invite you to take a few minutes to ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words to pray for that person. He/she are also children of your Heavenly Father and “he makes his sun rise… and rain to fall” on them too.
Lord, I need Your help today to pray for _____ (insert the person who you need to forgive). Give me the love that I need to pour out towards _____. I need your strength, Your grace, to tear down the walls that prevent me from being able to pray for and love _____. Amen
“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”Matthew 5:44-45