Lenten reflections 2018 - 01 - Saturday - First week of Lent

 

 

 

Saturday - First week of Lent
(Deuteronomy 26: 16-19; Matthew 5: 43-48)

 

`But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you'.

Teresa of Avila writes: 'Prayer is not spending time with the Lord. It is partly that - but if it ends there, it is fruitless'. No, prayer is dynamic. Authentic prayer changes us - unmasks us, strips us, indicates where growth is needed. Authentic prayer never leads to complacency, but needles us, makes us uneasy at times. It leads us to true self-knowledge, to true humility.

There is no way that I can truly love my enemies or pray for those who persecute me unless I have a personal relationship with God. When this relationship is authentic, the mercy of God touches us and when immersed in that mercy, we cannot help but radiate and pass on this mercy and love of God to whoever comes our way. Jesus does not ask that we love our enemies as we love our closest friends. That's impossible. He means an active feeling of kindness even for enemies, wanting the highest good for them - and even going out to them. Our love for our enemies doesn't have to be of the heart, but of the will. To love them needn't be an emotional experience.

It is good to remember that to be a Christian isn't only to be a genuinely good human being. Even pagans do good to those who are good to them. In our dealings with other people, both friends and enemies, we are to be big-hearted, large-minded, wide open, and generous. To imitate such generosity is to rise and soar with Christ.

 

Breath Prayer:

 

I breathe in: 'With God, I touch........ (person I am at odds with)'

 

I breathe out: 'With peace, gentleness (whatever is needed)'

 

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