Thursday, September 9, 2010

Put on the Armor of Love

The readings from Saint Paul this week focused on the response one has to the Gospel. The community of Jewish and pagan converts at Colossae were struggling to maintain the purity of their faith and are told to set their hearts on Jesus. They are reminded that Christ is everything to all of us.

This past week we reflected on this fundamental question, "How do you stay positive and preach hope in the midst of opposition, misunderstanding, hostility and hatred?"

We used a reflection from Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI to assist us in this meditation. For Rolheiser, what Jesus did as a way of life constitutes the greatest personal and moral challenge to all of us who try to follow Him. How do you remain calm and loving in the face of hatred? How do you remain empathetic in the face of misunderstanding? How do you continue to be warm and gracious in the face of hostility? How do you love your enemies when they really want to kill you?

Sometimes we get so intimidated by opposition, misunderstanding and hatred, we retreat and go underground. We hold our ideals but never practise them in the presence of those who oppose us. We continue to speak love and understanding, but never to our enemies.

But sometimes our response is the exact opposite. In the face of opposition we develop a skin so thick we don't even care about what others think of us. 

But how did Jesus treat his enemies? Jesus was never intimidated, nor did he become thick-skinned or condescending. But what did he do? He rooted himself more deeply in his own deepest identity and, inside of that, found the power to continue to be warmed-hearted, loving and forgiving in the face of hatred and murder.
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Pray for the Canonization of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

"Take courage, the crown is promised to victors only: tear out the very last fiber of self-love and peace will be yours. Let the interior man in you be renewed and gather strength enough to combat the old man, to hold him in continual subjection, until you succeed in crucifying him; in a word, may you become a man of faith."
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade