The Rule of Love

Challenge: Do something good for someone who has done something against you.
by Father Paul Campbell, LC | Source:

September 11, 2008
Thursday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 6: 27-38
"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for this time to be with you. May the thoughts of my mind and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you. I love you, and I want to thank you for all your gifts, especially the gift of yourself. Help me to love as you love.

Petition: Lord, may I live Christian charity everyday for the rest of my life.

1. The Law of Love
Jesus lays down his law of love, and his words are as challenging now as they were then. “Love your enemies.” “Bless those who curse you.” “Pray for those who abuse you.” We may have grown familiar with the words, but do we really live them heroically? They were not simply words for Jesus. He lived them in a very concrete way. He set the example for us. We can picture the different actors in his passion and death: the soldiers who scourged him, Pilate who condemned him, the Pharisees who first attacked him and then mocked him on the cross. Jesus exercises self-control through all of it and loved each and every one of them. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus also loved us in a very concrete way on Calvary, as he offered himself for the forgiveness of our sins. Our many sins were like the rough hands of the soldiers who attacked and injured his body. Jesus forgave us, and we should forgive others.

2. Love Has Changed the World
The law of love has replaced the law of the talon – an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. We can have a visceral response to our “enemy.” When someone harms us, curses us, or strikes us in some way, we will have an emotional response. This is very natural. We need to learn to control what we say and do in response to any person who may strike us. The turning of the other cheek is an action that requires tremendous self-mastery. We need to learn to go against our emotions and our visceral reactions. Jesus is not the only one who has lived this kind of love; through the centuries there have been countless examples from Christians. Their small acts of self-conquest and love have changed the cultures in which they lived.

3. Be Merciful
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” When we find ourselves being critical and judgmental towards others, it is helpful to reflect on how God has treated us. Look at his patience with our sins and faults. Look at how many times we have offended him and how many times he has forgiven us. As we allow his love to seep into our hearts and reflect on his goodness towards us, it should soften our hearts towards others. What we extend to others measures what we can receive from God. If we are small and petty, then there is very little room in our hearts for God’s love. We need to expand our hearts through daily exercises in charity.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord, it is hard for me to love my enemies, to love those who have harmed me. It is really hard. I need your love to come in and soften my heart and my view of others. I find myself falling into criticism so easily. I need you to pour your love into my heart, so in my turn I can give to others the love I have received.

Resolution: I will do something good for someone who has done something against me. 


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