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Posts Tagged ‘love your enemies’

Jennifer Feeney has an article in Crisis Magazine about how to treat people you passionately disagree with. She uses the example of relatives who are pro-choice, but, the principle applies more generally:

The Catechism states that it is, in fact, the human virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) that “govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith (CCC1804).”  And it is the theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity) that give grounding, insight, and infuse our actions with the grace of God.  The theological virtue of charity (love) is said to encompass all of the human virtues.  If you are acting in charity, you can in turn act with prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance…

So here is Christ’s challenge to us all:  Pray for those who persecute us.  Say I love you anyway and will be there if you need help.  Can we demonstrate the love of Christ in such a way that, in spite of opposition, our actions stop people in their tracks and make them wonder at our love?

I take her point that it is far easier to be charitable to those we don’t know or to whom we are not emotionally connected. It is hard to act with love towards those who have shredded our hearts by rejecting what we hold dear – which we inevitably take as a rejection of us. But hard or not, we are called to love. We are told that love is the greatest commandment.

Does this mean we shouldn’t tell the truth? Of course not. Telling the truth is a requirement of love. Does it mean that we should consider our words, our tone, our dellivery, and our actions to ensure that it is love that motivates us, and not hurt or indignation? Darned tooting!

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