It would do us well, today, to think of our enemy – I think all of us have one – someone who has hurt us or wants to hurt us. The Mafia’s prayer is: ‘You’ll pay me back.’ The Christian prayer is: ‘Lord, give them Your blessing, and teach me to love them.’ Let us think of one enemy, and pray for them. May the Lord give us the grace to love them. ~ Pope Francis
Sometimes, I can’t help but think that the biggest slaughterhouse around must be in my own heart. Too often that is where those who hurt me unknowingly end up. No, I don’t imagine killing people. But I am pretty creative about the path I wish them on when they have hurt me so deeply that forgiveness seems an impossibility.
I have a lot in common with them Mafia.
But today, as I struggle with those who have hurt me, God tells me to do the impossible:
Ask Me to Bless them
It is asking me to scale the mountain when I can’t even manage the hill. So, so often He tells me to love my enemies. The frequency of this exhortation just goes to show what my biggest struggle is. I wish He would tell me something else for a change. That He would take my wound-ers away. Or that He would ask them to wear my crown for a day, carry my crosses, live my journey.
But He does none of it.
I eye the two pearls He has placed before me today. Ask Me to Bless them. Love them. As if the asking for the blessing wasn’t hard enough, my God wants me to love my enemies. Although I know God’s call to love is very different from my idea of a saintly, sincerely smiling face willingly inclined towards every spit and slap, I can’t help but feel despair that not only have I to pray for them, I have to cheerily love them as well.
Is it reversed, I wonder suddenly. As if in answer, an old memory rises like incense before me. Of two consecutive dreams one December night in my prison. The first dream of joy, then of sorrow. Then, eight months later, on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a sweet, feminine voice in the dark of dawn,
The dreams will be reversed in reality. Sorrow before Joy.
I look again at the two calls set before me now. Ask Me to Bless them. Love them. I suddenly see that it is indeed reversed.
Ask Me to Bless them
I am being asked to love those who hurt me by asking Jesus to Bless them.
I take a deep breath. The revelation makes things a little easier. I don’t have to be all chummy-friendly or walk around with a cherubic smile not mine.
And so I begin. Slowly, with a firmness of intent absent before, I take Pope Francis’ counsel. Every time the faces come before me, every time their hurt rises in my mind, I pray,
Jesus, Bless them.
It’s less of a struggle.
But it does not come as easy either.