Love Your Enemies
|Protection of the Holy Virgin Monastery Church|
How can we possibly love everyone?We are instructed by Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves, and even to love our enemies. There are always individuals who come into our lives that we find difficult to like, let alone love. Given this, how do we follow the commandment of Christ to love everyone?
As Christians we venerate icons of Christ, among them those showing Christ suffering on the cross. When the priest or deacon censes the church during the services he also censes the people, recognizing the image of God in everyone.
If we see everyone as Christ, those who are unlovable, unkind, hurtful, or even evil, can still be loved if we look upon them as Christ crucified. They, like ourselves, are created in the image and likeness of God, yet their sin obscures the image. They, by their fallen nature and unrepentant lives, are Christ crucified. They are loved by God and we are commanded to do the same.
But how? This is where grace comes in! Like Saint Paul, we can say that anything good we do is Christ in us. Loving one's enemies is perhaps one of the most difficult of Christ's commandments to keep, but with Christ all things are possible. As we struggle to love others we must do so with a prayerful heart, asking that the Lord give us the grace needed to truly love others. It is the same grace from God that is needed to forgive those who offend or hurt us. God forgives us, loves us, so we can also forgive and love others. It is all about grace, for if we seek out the aid of the Holy Spirit, all things good can be ours, including holiness.
With love in Christ,
|The Abbot's Cell|
Monday October 17, 2011 / October 4, 2011
19th Week after Pentecost.Hieromartyr Hierotheus, bishop of Athens (1st c.).
Uncovering of the relics (1595) of St. Gurias, first archbishop of Kazan (1563) and St. Barsanuphius, bishop of Tver (1576).
Synaxis of All Saints of Kazan.
New Hieromartyr Demetrius priest (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Demetrius priest Nicholas, Micael, Jacob and Tikhon priests, Martyr Basil (1937).
St. Khionia confessor (1945).
St. Vladimir Yaroslavich, prince of Novgorod (1052), and his mother, St. Anna of Novgorod (1050).
1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thankfulness and Prayer3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
For you have received your consolation.
24 “ But woe to you who are rich,
Jesus Pronounces Woes
24 “ But woe to you who are rich,
25 Woe to you who are full,
For you shall hunger.
Woe to you who laugh now,
For you shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Love Your Enemies27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.