Love Your Enemies, Like Osama Bin Laden?Posted: May 2, 2011
This post features guest blogger Jonathan Lewis. Jonathan is a fellow twentysomething working for the Catholic Church. After graduating from The Catholic University of America in 2008, he headed to Notre Dame for his MA in Theology, through the Echo Faith Formation Leadership Program (in the same class with Mike and me). Jonathan currently works as the Director of Religious Education at Mount Lady of Carmel Catholic Church in Mill Valley, California.
The recent announcement of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden causes me to reflect on one of Jesus’ more uncomfortable teachings: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Sit with this and say it again: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Bin Laden’s death carries with it a variety of emotions; it is rare that we have such a visceral reaction to one of our “enemies.” Because of this, it is important to sit with that feeling and to allow God’s love, peace, mercy and presence to dwell within us. Faith is not something added on to our lives for convenience but should be our source, especially in times of great emotion both in joy and in sorrow. I rejoice that Bin Laden will no longer be able to inflict evil and pain on this world, but I am also saddened that his heart was so hardened and I pray for his soul and for those of his followers.
My response is that I may “be the change [I] want to see in the world” (Ghandi) and that I may allow peace to begin with me. We are called to transform the world and we are offered an amazing moment to transform the world today. This is not easy but this is the radical love that we are called to, which counteracts the evils of terrorism and violence. May we emulate the heart of God our Father to hold both justice and mercy in our hearts.
This news came on the same day when Pope John Paul II was declared Blessed and 1.5 million gathered to join in prayer and celebration of holiness. His words continue to resonate:
Let there be an end to the chain of hatred and terrorism, which threatens the orderly development of the human family.
May faith and love of God make the followers of every religion courageous builders of understanding and forgiveness, patient weavers of a fruitful inter-religious dialogue, capable of inaugurating a new era of justice and peace.
- Blessed John Paul II, Easter Message, April 20, 2003