Love Your Enemies

In the Gospel Reading for Saturday of the First Week of Lent (I had meant to post this yesterday, but was having connectivity issues with the blog)

(Matthew 5:43-48),

Jesus said to his disciples:

“You have heard that it was said,

You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

But I say to you, love your enemies,

and pray for those who persecute you,

that you may be children of your heavenly Father,

for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,

and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?

Do not the tax collectors do the same?

And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,

what is unusual about that?

Do not the pagans do the same?

So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

via USCCB.

This admonition by Jesus is a very difficult one for us alcoholics to muster the courage for. And yet I think it is essential for our long-term recovery. It is difficult indeed to “love your enemy,” but if we persist it hating “our enemies,” the festering resentments that this implies will only threaten our recovery.

It is hard. I have trouble mustering the courage to forgive those who have hurt me. I periodically go through forgiveness exercises and review my feelings towards people who have hurt me, and struggle to cut loose the emotional bonds to the hurt. It is one thing to pray and forgive them, another to no longer feel the pain they have caused. That, I think, is a sign that forgiveness has settled in, and that the power your “enemies” has over you is over. Your forgive, and you subsequently no longer replay the tapes in your head of the hurt. The bonds are cut and it is behind you. Whether you reconcile is another matter.

And so you go on. Although forgiveness is hard, it is neccessary. As long as you keep trying, chipping away at the bonds of resentment, hate and self-pity, you will make continued progess along the road of happy destiny.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"