By Sr. Joan I. Holden, CCVI, DMin
As we travel through life, we occasionally encounter difficult people who, it seems, seek to hurt us and do us harm. Sometimes those hurts stay with us for a long, long time. What do we do with such deep and lasting hurts? Perhaps our first thought is to get even, to inflict pain in return. Psychologists encourage us to shake it off, to refuse to carry that pain within our hearts; it has the power to destroy our happiness – our ability to live life to its fullness.
However, if we carefully listen to the Gospel message, we would hear Christ’s call to do the impossible. In no uncertain terms, He tells us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us and to pray for those who mistreat us. (Luke 6:27)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. echoed Christ’s teaching by reminding us that we do not dispel darkness with darkness – only light can do that. Nor, can we dispel hatred with hatred, only love can do that. As we meet for prayer, let us remember this and pray aloud for our enemies as Jesus did, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Today, Christians are being persecuted because of their faith. Our neighbors are often ignored or rejected because of the uniqueness of their creation. Genesis reminds us that God created us good – not perfect, but good.
Years ago, a group of American businessmen visiting in Calcutta asked Mother Teresa what they could do to make this world a better place. She simply responded: “What I can do, you cannot do. What you can do, I cannot do. What we all can do to make this world better, is to smile at one another.”
Let us make our world a better place by praying for one another, especially for those who do us harm and by extending a sincere smile – incarnating God’s love to those in need. Let us do the impossible, just one day at a time.