LOVING THOSE WHO HURT YOU

“Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” —Leviticus 19:18
 
Jesus was asked: “Teacher, which commandment of the law is the greatest?” (Mt 22:36) Jesus surprised His questioner by mentioning not one commandment but two. He surprised all of Judaism by maintaining that loving one’s neighbor as oneself is the second commandment, and together with the first commandment forms the basis of the law and the prophets (Mt 22:40).
The Biblical context for the second commandment isn’t merely about generally helping out our neighbors or being friendly to them. In Leviticus 19:18, to love our neighbor specifically means not bearing hatred toward them, not taking revenge on them, and not cherishing a grudge against them. So when Jesus was asked to name the greatest commandment, He did not merely add to the first commandment the command to love our neighbor; He also implied a prohibition against hating, taking revenge, and cherishing grudges.
Is there anyone you hate? Do you want to get back at someone? Are you holding a grudge? Have you forgiven from your heart everyone for everything? (Mt 18:35) Do you love your neighbor as yourself by God’s standards? This Lent, be reconciled, forgive, and love your neighbor.
 
Prayer: Sacred Heart of Jesus, purify my heart this Lent to love the Samaritans and enemies in my life (Lk 10:29ff).
Promise: “Are you not aware that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” —1 Cor 3:16
Praise: Praise You, Jesus, Lord of forgiveness and mercy. You had mercy on those who crucified You, and You have mercy on each of us. We adore You.

Without love everything is in vain

A treatise on Charity by
St Maximus the Confessor
[ c. 580 – 662 A.D. ]
For God is far superior to all his creation, since everything which exists has been made by God and for him. And so, in deserting God, who is beyond compare, for the inferior works of creation, a man shows that he values God, the author of creation, less than creation itself.Charity is a right attitude of mind which prefers nothing to the knowledge of God. If a man possesses any strong attachment to the things of this earth, he cannot possess true charity. For anyone who really loves God prefers to know and experience God rather than his creatures. The whole set and longing of his mind is ever directed toward him.
  The Lord himself reminds us: Whoever loves me will keep my commandments. And this is my commandment: that you love one another. So the man who does not love his neighbour does not obey God’s command. But one who does not obey his command cannot love God. A man is blessed if he can love all men equally. Moreover, if he truly loves God, he must love his neighbour absolutely. Such a man cannot hoard his wealth. Rather, like God himself, he generously gives from his own resources to each man according to his needs.
  Since he imitates God’s generosity, the only distinction he draws is the person’s need. He does not distinguish between a good man and a bad one, a just man and one who is unjust. Yet his own goodness of will makes him prefer the man who strives after virtue to the one who is depraved.
  A charitable mind is not displayed simply in giving money; it is manifested still more by personal service as well as by the communication of God’s word to others: In fact, if a man’s service toward his brothers is genuine and if he really renounces worldly concerns, he is freed from selfish desires. For he now shares in God’s own knowledge and love. Since he does possess God’s love, he does not experience weariness as he follows the Lord his God. Rather, following the prophet Jeremiah, he withstands every type of reproach and hardship without even harbouring an evil thought toward any man.
  For Jeremiah warns us: Do not say: “We are the Lord’s temple.” Neither should you say: “Faith alone in our Lord Jesus Christ can save me.” By itself faith accomplishes nothing. For even the devils believe and shudder.
  No, faith must be joined to an active love of God which is expressed in good works. The charitable man is distinguished by sincere and long-suffering service to his fellow man: it also means using things aright.

“INCREASE OUR FAITH” (Lk 17:5)

“Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.” —Hebrews 11:1

Faith is confidence, assurance, conviction. “Because of faith the men of old were approved by God” (Heb 11:2). Without faith, we don’t understand the origins of creation or life, for “what is visible came into being through the invisible” (Heb 11:3). “Without faith, it is impossible to please” God (Heb 11:6).
Examples of faith are:
Abel offering sacrifice acceptable to God (Heb 11:4),
Enoch being “pleasing to God” and being taken to heaven without dying (Heb 11:5),
Noah building the ark (Heb 11:7),
Abraham going forth “not knowing where he was going” (Heb 11:8),
Sarah at the age of ninety conceiving a child (Heb 11:11),
Abraham being willing to sacrifice His son Isaac (Heb 11:17),
Moses’ parents “disregarding the king’s edict” (Heb 11:23),
Moses wishing “to be ill-treated along with God’s people rather than enjoy the fleeting rewards of sin” (Heb 11:25),
the Israelites crossing the Red Sea (Heb 11:29), and
Israel bringing down the walls of Jericho (Heb 11:30).
“What more shall I recount? I have no time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, did what was just, obtained the promises; they broke the jaws of lions, put out raging fires, escaped the devouring sword; though weak they were made powerful, became strong in battle…” (Heb 11:32-34).

Prayer: Father, “increase our faith” (Lk 17:5).
Promise: “A cloud came, overshadowing them, and out of the cloud a voice: ‘This is My Son, My Beloved. Listen to Him.’ ” —Mk 9:7
Praise: Theresa’s newborn survived despite serious health issues and amazed the doctors. Praise You, Lord, for Your healing mercy.