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“…the life of the apostle – a word that means “one who is sent forth” – is a life that rises above the instinct of retaliation. Among the regrettable consequences of the Fall in the Garden is our lust for blood: literal and figurative. When we are wronged, is not our instinct to wrong in return? When we are hurt, is not our instinct to hurt back? But, here is this challenging text before us: Is it calling us to a higher standard? Are we to respond to our enemies as Christ responded to His – without slander or hatred or a thirst for revenge? When reviled, He blessed; when persecuted, He endured; when insulted, He forgave. That is radical stuff; difficult, too. But, it may be the only way out of the brutality that increasingly fills our headlines and defines our world…” (Fr. John Oliver)

“I find that most people do not have “enemies” in any classical sense. Rather, we have people with whom we’ve had painful encounters. Bitter words and actions, anger and insults, never seem to disappear on their own. If they go away, it is often because we find ways to emotionally block their remembrance. Reminders often bring a fresh or renewed sense of injury. It is thus rarely our “enemies” that give us difficulties so much as their remembrance. They become “psychic” enemies, collections of bitterness harbored in parts of the brain that, for some reason, seem to be primarily concerned with such things.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Nothing reflects the true state of our souls more than how we put meeting the needs of others before our own. All the more is that the case when those we help are in some sense our enemies.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“The soul sorrows for her enemies and prays for them because they have strayed from the truth and their faces are set towards hell. That is love for our enemies. When Judas bethought him to betray the Lord, the Lord was stirred to pity and showed him what he was doing. Thus must we, too, be gentle with those who err and stray, and we shall be saved by God’s mercy” (Saint Silouan the Athonite)

“The problem with not “loving our enemies” is that it puts distance between us and God whether we realize it or not. Jonah hated the Ninevites because they were his enemy. When God wanted to use him to bring the Ninevites to repentance, Jonah ran from God. God was also working on Jonah’s heart for his well-being. As difficult as it is to have the right thoughts and make the right choices towards those who wrong us, the risk to us if we don’t is great. We can pray, fast, go to church and even think we are right with God while in reality we are far from Him.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

#FrJohnOliver #FatherStephenFreeman #FrPhilipLeMasters #SaintSilouantheAthonite #SacramentalLivingMinistries

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