6.15 'Love your enemies', can it be done? Are there parallels between Catholicism and the military? How can I choose between serving myself or the common good?
Love is part of our very being, and suits us better than hatred. To love your enemies, pray, try to see them as persons rather than objects of hatred, and see things from their perspective. With God’s help it is possible even for you! There are various parallels between the Church and the military[>M.1]. For example in the serious dedication to a common goal, a higher good.
We exist in virtue of our relationships with others. Serving the common good means serving yourself and others at the same time. Yes, it means giving something up, but it it will increase the happiness of the entire group. Jesus makes no clear distinction between serving others or yourself (Mt 7:12).
How does Jesus teach us to pray?
Jesus teaches us to pray not only with the Our Father but also when he prays. In this way he teaches us, in addition to the content, the dispositions necessary for every true prayer: purity of heart that seeks the Kingdom and forgives one’s enemies, bold and filial faith that goes beyond what we feel and understand, and watchfulness that protects the disciple from temptation [CCCC 544].
In what does the prayer of intercession consist?
Intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It conforms us and unites us to the prayer of Jesus who intercedes with the Father for all, especially sinners. Intercession must extend even to one’s enemies [CCCC 554].
How is forgiveness possible?
Mercy can penetrate our hearts only if we ourselves learn how to forgive – even our enemies. Now even if it seems impossible for us to satisfy this requirement, the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit can, like Christ, love even to love’s extreme; it can turn injury into compassion and transform hurt into intercession. Forgiveness participates in the divine mercy and is a high-point of Christian prayer [CCCC 595].
“The worship of God is contrary to the culture of hatred. And the culture of hatred is fought by combatting the cult of complaint. How many times do we complain about the things that we lack, about the things that go wrong! Jesus knows about all the things that don’t work. He knows that there is always going to be someone who dislikes us. Or someone who makes our life miserable. All he asks us to do is pray and love. This is the revolution of Jesus, the greatest revolution in history: from hating our enemy to loving our enemy; from the cult of complaint to the culture of gift. If we belong to Jesus, this is the road we are called to take! There is no other [Pope Francis, Homily in Bari, 23 Feb. 2020].