Diary of St. Faustina: Deeds of Mercy-Pray for Your Enemies
My daughter, in this meditation, consider the love of neighbor. Is your love for your neighbor guided by My love? Do you pray for your enemies? Do you wish well to those who have, in one way or another, caused you sorrow or offended you? Know that whatever good you do to any soul, I accept it as if you had done it to Me (Diary, 1768).
Lord Jesus, help me to pray for my enemies and for those who have caused me sorrows. Teach me to live Your word: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of Mine, you did for Me” (Mt 25:40).
Do you pray for your enemies, for those that seek to harm you? That’s a very tall commandment, one that can be very difficult to embrace. Believe me, I know. I’m struggling with it as we speak.
Dear hearts, it is a matter of faith and prayerful, surrendered discipline to follow Jesus’ command in loving our neighbor – and not a matter based in our feelings or emotions. In a quirky kind of way, it’s sort of a relief to know that, isn’t it? That we aren’t required to “feel it” in order to do what Jesus asks. We are simply asked to be obedient to His loving command with our purest of possible intentions. And, if our intentions aren’t the purest, we can certainly ask Christ for the desire for them to be pure…). He provides the grace for that, too. And, He honors our sincerest effort to do what He asks. I also know this because – YES – I’ve had to ask for that, too, in order to follow His commandments. It gets so much easier, thanks be to God.
When we’ve been hurt in some way, the first thing that comes to us on a human level is usually not love, mercy, and forgiveness – at least not without a sincere effort in uniting our sufferings with Christ. It is a truly a willed decision offered in loving obedience to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in these moments and times when we’ve been hurt, to do what Jesus has asked us to do, in faith and in trust that He knows what is best.
So, precious ones, I ask you to think of someone that has harmed you – or who may be currently harming you – and offer a sincere prayer for them today. I urge you as your sister in Christ not to wait to “feel it”, for those feelings may never come, and you yourself will be held captive by your unwillingness to be loving and merciful, and by your unforgiveness. Jesus didn’t tell us to wait until we felt like praying for, and loving, and forgiving our neighbor – He commanded us simply to do it with His grace to provide for our weakness.
If you are like me, you’ve been so injured at certain times in your life that maybe you think you couldn’t possibly entertain the thought of loving/being merciful/forgiving. Why should you? They don’t deserve our forgiveness, right? Perhaps there’s an element of truth to that – there are some rather heinous ways in which we commit sins upon one another. Maybe you’ve had the thought that you are too weak to love or forgive, or for whatever reason just incapable of doing so. But Jesus commands us to love them, forgive them, have mercy on them anyway.
Now, being loving, merciful and forgiving does not mean that you are are to tolerate abuse – certainly not! By virtue of your God-given dignity, you have the right to defend and protect yourself. But those efforts must be within the context of prayerful discernment as to how the Lord would have you to do so. Our faith teaches us everything we need to know about how to go about this.
Ask Him today – right now! – for the grace to follow His commands. I promise(!) He will provide all the grace, love, and mercy necessary for you to “do whatever He tells you”. He promised us that His grace is sufficient for us, and having experienced it, I can attest to this Truth:) He is faithful, always, in everything, without fail, beyond our limited human imaginations. When we are obedient, it is truly magnificent how we are rewarded from He Who is Love and Mercy itself.
Here’s something that has helped me in my journey of personal holiness. Perhaps it will help you. Place yourself at the moment of His Passion when you offer your prayers for your neighbor. Immerse in the depth of His sacrifice, offered in total self-giving while He was mocked, betrayed, abused in every way – dying for those who were committing those very offenses against Him at the moment of His Passion and Death – as well as for every sin we ourselves have committed, and even have yet to commit. It may help you also to remember often that the biggest wounds that we suffer here on earth are in reality only a splinter of the cross that Our Lord suffered. Then too, ask Our Lady of Sorrows to help you, pray for you, guide you. She was human like us in every way, and suffered immensely during her life and, most exquisitely, during the Passion. She has much to teach us about authentic self-sacrificial love, mercy, and forgiveness while in the midst of horrific suffering.
Do it today for love of Him. When we do whatever He tells us, we are made free indeed.
Wishing a grace-filled day to all!