PS 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
This idea of ‘loving our enemies’ is probably one of the most well knowing in the Catholic tradition, as well as one of the most difficult to fully understand and live out daily. We can so easily say everyone should love all people, but when we ourselves are faced with that adversity, we are swayed by our own human emotions such as hatred and fear.
One thing I have learned is that if you consider someone your enemy, chances are they have wronged you in some way. It is nearly impossible to go from anger to love without the message of forgiveness; which could ultimately lead to the possibility for an open heart. We must take the time to forgive before we can truly love our enemies, which is why it is so hard to do.
In order to be able to truly forgive, we must work hard. If we don’t, we dwell on the issue and crowd out focusing on gratitude and love and grace. When we forgive, we give up any claim we hold over other people. Letting go of the claim to punish is key to forgiveness and freedom for you and your "enemy".
In this day and age, we witness a lot of horrific tragedies at the hands of others. Or we ourselves are the ones experiencing those difficult moments. I know that I am still working on forgiveness for someone I would call my ‘enemy.’ However, forgiveness and love are always a work in progress, and as long as we are able to cast our cares to God knowing that they will be received, we are able to know love. And at the end of it all, God is love. We are made in Love’s image. Because we are made in the image of Pure Love, we have the capacity to do some seemingly impossible things...like forgive even those who have caused us deep pain. Think about Jesus' words just before his death on the cross: "forgive them for they do not know what they do." I know that the resentment and hurt that I hold in my heart only poisons my spirit and my soul, not my enemy’s. In turn, we can only help ourselves by loving our enemies.