By Sherry Antonetti
Love your enemies.
Love those who hate you.
That’s much less poetic when we really think about it. This past week, I blocked several people from Facebook and unfriended them. There were reasons but in looking at the reality of what the Gospel tells us to do, I have to wonder if they hold up as having merit.
Love your enemies. What does that mean?
It can’t mean ignoring evil. It doesn’t mean be best friends with someone who does things that harm the soul. It means being who you are called to be, so that you harm no souls, and so that if you do come into conflict with souls that are damaging, you provide an alternative vision, a holier vision of what the world could be. It means you pray for them in your heart, with all of your heart.
It’s not easy. I thought about those I blocked. The fallen part wanted to give parting shots, to win, to battle back, to score points as it were. Maybe I could have listened more and asked questions that might have led that soul to the threshold of considering a different way. Maybe I could have been more patient. Maybe it was me that needed to think harder on the matter. Maybe I’d been dismissive.
Maybe I needed to pray for my enemies until I no longer saw them as enemies. Maybe I needed to pray for the souls of my enemies like my soul depended upon it—because it did.
I look at the world and it is flooded with injuries, with injustice, with enemies, but as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” It is us. It is me. Pray for your enemies and include your own self in the lot. Pray for all our hearts of stone, to be replaced with ones for love alone.
About the author:
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic wife/mother and teacher. You can find her work at the Catholic Standard and National Catholic Register. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.