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All Christians are obliged to love their enemies, says Pope Francis

By on Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Pope greets bishops a the Vatican yesterday (AP)

The Pope greets bishops a the Vatican yesterday (AP)

Jesus’s command to love our enemies is meant for all Christians and not just for “holy souls” who have abandoned the world, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning.

Reflecting on today’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus urges his disciples to love those who persecuted them, the Pope said: “Too often we become enemies of others: we do not wish them well. And Jesus tells us to love our enemies! And this is not easy! It is not easy… we even think that Jesus is asking too much of us! We leave this to the cloistered nuns, who are holy, we leave this for some holy soul, but this is not right for everyday life. But it must be right! Jesus says: ‘No, we must do this! Because otherwise you will be like the tax collectors, like pagans. Not Christians.’”

According to Vatican Radio, he said: “Pray! This is what Jesus advises us: ‘Pray for your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Pray!’ And say to God: ‘Change their hearts. They have a heart of stone, but change it, give them a heart of flesh, so that they may feel relief and love.’ Let me just ask this question and let each of us answer it in our own heart: ‘Do I pray for my enemies? Do I pray for those who do not love me?’ If we say yes, I will say: ‘Go on, pray more, you are on the right path! If the answer is no, the Lord says: ‘Poor thing. You too are an enemy of others!’ Pray that the Lord may change the hearts of those.

“We could say: ‘But this person really wronged me’, or they have done bad things and this impoverishes people, impoverishes humanity. And following this line of thought we want to take revenge or that eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

“With forgiveness, with love for our enemy, we become poorer: love impoverishes us, but that poverty is the seed of fertility and love for others. Just as the poverty of Jesus became the grace of salvation for all of us, great wealth… Let us think today at Mass, let us think of our enemies those who do not wish us well: it would be nice if we offered the Mass for them: Jesus, Jesus’s sacrifice, for them, for those who do not love us. And for us, too, so that the Lord teaches us this wisdom which is so hard, but so beautiful, because it makes us look like the Father, like our Father: it brings out the sun for everyone, good and bad. It makes us more like the Son, Jesus, who in his humiliation became poor to enrich us, with his poverty.”

  • 1Maccabeus

    Words of profound christian wisdom from the Pontiff – unlike the pc version of christianity which reduces everything to a squishy mixture of pacifism and sentimentality.

  • matleyrho

    It is so invigorating to hear a Pope who goes back to the basic tenets of Christ’s doctrine. It is hard to love one’s enemy, yes, it’s a long journey and it may not happen straight away. I am personally engaged in a battle against a strong feeling of resentment against someone who has hurt me a lot. So far, I have not been able to fight this feeling of hate inside, but I am slowly trying. As to the archenemy, maybe that is God’s will too.

  • Robert-Paul

    one of the majot papers has commented on the fact that the bishop of Rome has now been there for 100 days and has yet to make a major pronouncement. Maybe the writer should consider that in this sad secularized world when Francis continues to tell us to be Christ-like he is making a major pronouncement. It shouldn’t take an encyclical to wake us up to what we each need to do to bring Christ back into the centre of our sick world. God bless you bishop Francis and may you continue to be content to just be the bishop of Rome as was Peter and rid youself of all the trappings of the dead and gone pagan Roman Empire.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Thank you; well said.

  • paulpriest

    Oh Holy Father bless your little cottons…
    Our Lord commands us to love our enemies
    But He in no way tells us not to make enemies, or to cease being enemies, or to not become an enemy…
    Rather the opposite….He states quite clearly that His will involves that distinct possibility.

    Nor is there ever a suggestion that unswerving, unceasing love will stop enemies from being enemies.
    Certainly we are commanded to be Peacemakers – but making peace invariably involves a lot of fighting and accruing a considerable amount of enemies in the process….
    We’re commanded to forgive – to love – to be merciful – in all humility…
    But that humility includes not playing God – and if God’s ways include having the most kind, loving, forgiving, merciful, peace-loving among us the most ardent, strident of enemies?
    We must love our enemies…and constantly manifest that love in prayer.

    But ultimately it’s up to God as to whether in this life we actually have enemies or not….
    …and God’s will be done

  • Toshi quaraba

    Who are the enemies? The Apostle Paul says that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual devilish powers. Who is your enemy? When we look to Christ then to ourselves, we need to realize our need of being more rooted in Him. The prayerful and humble reading of the New Testament will teach us a lot. I am reminded of the examples of the old Anabaptists: they even gave shelter to their enemies. The Amish today are actually feeding and looking after the family of the man who entered one of their school and killed their children. That is LOVE. You can find some interesting stories o the website of the Brudherhof concerning how to love your enemies.

  • baptised

    Easier said than done, sir

  • Phil D. Us.

    Anyone who thinks catholics believe any of this, would do well to note the venom, lack of charity and brutal animosity in the comment section of any article on this website.

  • 676aldhelmstown710

    My late Mother said that during the 2nd. World War she used to pray for Adolf Hitler, whilst he was still alive there was a soul capable of receiving salvation and as a Christian my Mother said that it was her duty to pray for the salvation of his soul.

  • Julian Lord

    This is part 3 of “phil’s” Modus Operandi

    Having artificially created the conditions of dissent and animosity (part 2), where none existed before, by the deployment and use of various destructive sockpuppets (part 1), he then, starts to point the finger of blame for this against certain particular posters whose reputations he wishes to attack — notwithstanding that all of this is a creation of his own hatred of ALL Catholics ; you, me, priests, laity, bishops, religious, and Pope.