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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spirituality: Love of Enemies as a test of the faith

Jesus’ teaching runs directly counter to the Psalmist’s cry that God’s enemies are his enemies too, and so deserve destruction.  Martin Buber comments:  ‘All in all, the saying of Jesus about love for the enemy derives its light from the world of Judaism in which it stands and which he seems to contest; and he outshines it.’

Faithfulness to Jesus’ command to love one’s enemies provides a critical test, then, of whether one stands within or outside the realm of God. To accept love of enemies as credible involves altering one’s inter-subjective attitudes. On Jesus’ reckoning, and Buber’s too, failure to love an enemy means failing to know the true God, and so declaring oneself an unbeliever. But St. Paul is right on the most important point: God’s love is luminous in embracing those at enmity with God.

Adrian Lyons, S.J. from Imagine Believing

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