by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Toronto, Canada
"But I tell you love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you." (Mathew 5:44)
Have you ever been inspired to love and pray for your enemies?
To show love for love is human, to despise is animal behavior, to hate loved ones is devilish, but to bestow love for the unloved, is divine. Jesus says love your enemies. This is the moral law that God has inscribed in the conscience of all human beings.
Most of us would have at least one time, felt the inner call to help a stranger in need, even with no likelihood of any personal benefit. And if we have actually acted on that impulse, the effect has always been a nice feeling of "having done the right thing." Affection, friendship and romantic love have mutual benefits but the selfless and divine love never expects any reciprocal benefit. This love leads humans to make sacrifices that result in great personal sufferings, injury, or death without any evidence of benefit. If we carefully examine the inner voice we sometimes call conscience, the motivation to practice this kind of love exists within all of us, despite our frequent efforts to ignore it. By loving and praying for our enemies, we can overcome evil with good, and will be truly blessed.
An old woman saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the strong currents of River Ganges in India. She immediately reached out to the drowning scorpion, which as soon as she touched it, stung her. She tried again and again. Every time she tried, however, the scorpion's tail stung her so badly that her hands became bloody and her face was distorted with pain. A passer by seeing this shouted, "what's wrong with you, fool, do you want to kill yourself to save that ugly thing?" Looking into the stranger's eyes, she answered, "Because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting, why should I deny my own nature to save it?"
Oskar Schindler (1908-74), a factory owner, employed Jewish prisoners facing extermination by the Nazis in World War II in Germany. He risked his life to help save the lives of Jews. By doing so, he had saved over a thousand people from death. The Oscar winner film "Schindler's List" about Oskar Schindler, directed by Steven Spielberg, gave millions of people their first insight into the Holocaust and the man who had risked his life without any benefit for himself.
Everyone has the opportunity to express non-altruistic love. Most of the time, we neglect or ignore the inner voice to love our enemies. Let us search and find ways to show love to our enemies.
Jesus, let the unloved be loved. When we were sinners, you loved us. Let us be the agents of love and prayer for our enemies. We pray for those who hate and have enmity towards us. We ask this in the name of Jesus.
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