Saturday, March 01, 2008

"Love Your Enemy - Within?!" A little Radical Love Contemplation, Courtesy of Fr. Richard Rohr

The following speaks directly to my heart. Fr. Rohr echoes and underscores what I was trying to articulate in my reflection from February 9th, ("After November 2, 2004") reflecting on our last election. His words also illuminate - in greater depth and clarity for me - an aspect of what Sun Tzu was conveying in "The Art of War" - with the cautionary words "Choose your enemy wisely, for you eventually become him."

Good God! We are the enemy when we haven't taken the time to love here, first, within!

Read this with your own heart in mind. I dare you to ask,
"What is unforgiven in my own spirit? In my own life? In my own body? What do I go to war with everyday? What lies within? What enrages me out there?"


"Love Your Enemies"

Fear is the major barrier to the emergence of great faith and great-souled people. To enter into the mystery of forgiveness, we must first recognize our fears. Most of what we hold in unforgiveness we fear. I was given the impression, when I grew up in the Church, that the problem was doubt. And so all our teaching was head education. Teach people up here how to get the right answers about God and then they will have great faith. Show me where head information alone has created great-souled people, prophets of great desire, freedom and courage for the Church! God speaks to us, heals us and frees us at another level, at the level of our fears. Until you allow God to address your fears, you'll never recognize them yourself and you'll undoubtedly be trapped in them. As we grow in faith, we move beyond the need to exclude (he, she, they are the enemy). We gradually move into that place where we can risk letting the would-be enemy in. And then begins the way of wisdom. We find ourselves capable, at last, of obeying what is the greatest of Jesus' commandments, the most radical of all of his teaching: Love your enemies. How many of us love other people who kick us around, who make it hard for us? We haven't internalized the commandments of Jesus. Scriptural language, though, is both introverted and extroverted. If we haven't been able to love our enemies out there, if we still think the Russians or Iraqis are the problem, it's probably because we haven't first loved the enemy within. And if we haven't forgiven the enemy within, we will never know how to love and forgive the "enemies" without.

from The Passion of God and the Passion Within - By Richard Rohr

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