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Loving Our Enemies

June 28, 2021
Entrance to the Prayer Garden at St Joseph’s on the Mountain Episcopal Church in Mentone, Alabama

Today was a very good day. We are back from our lovely sojourn in Mentone (thank you, John Carr, for sharing your cabin with us). Today was the first day back to work and it was good.

On a coffee break I was reading Jim Forest’s book, Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment. Jim worked alongside of Dorothy Day at the Catholic Worker in New York City as a young, recently discharged Navy vet during the Vietnam era. Thanks to Dorothy Day he was introduced to Thomas Merton along with a whole bunch of folks involved in the Peace movement of the 1960’s.

As a young activist, Jim was in the center of the anti-war movement (Catholic and Ecumenical) along with such icons as Fr Daniel Berrigan and Fr Philip Berrigan. I realize that both Dan and Phil would not like the descriptor icon. Perhaps a better term would be instigators for change.

Jim was talking about his correspondence with Thomas Merton and shared this comment along with the quote.

He said: Merton stressed the importance of seeing people, including adversaries, simply as fellow human beings.

Merton’s words: One of the most important things to do is keep cutting deliberately through political lines and barriers, and emphasizing that these are largely fabrications and that there is a genuine reality, totally opposed to the fictions of politics: the human dimension. (p. 3 of Loving Our Enemies)

Loving your enemy is perhaps the hardest commandment of Jesus… Well, it certainly is for me! As we sit on our back deck this evening, I am continuing to reflect on his words and how they challenge my own life and ministry. Perhaps they will speak to your own life and ministry, dear reader.

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