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Pope Francis

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Pope in Santa Marta: Praying for our enemies is part of the journey of healing

2016-06-14


The Pope's message during his Tuesday homily in Casa Santa Marta was that we must love our enemies. Pope Francis said this is the last step in the healing journey and it will achieve two objectives: it will make the enemy a better person and allows the victims to become more like children of God.

POPE FRANCIS
"May the Lord give us grace, only this: pray for enemies; pray for those who do not like us, who do not want us; pray for those individuals who hurt and persecute us. Each of us know their first and last names: pray for them, them, them, them...”

Pope Francis explained that Jesus gave examples inviting the people to look at the commandments with a new perspective. Do not kill also means don’t insult or be angry with your brother, the Pope said.

EXCERPTS FROM PAPAL HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
"You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. The Jewish Law was being taught in a way that was too theoretical, based only on the letter of the Law and not on the love of God at the heart of that Law.”
 
"For this reason, Jesus repeats the most important commandment of the Old Testament: Love your God with all your heart, and with all your strength, and with all your soul, and your neighbour as yourself. This was not at the heart of what the Doctors of the Law were teaching. They were only worried about details and individual cases, but Jesus shows the true sense of the Law which he came to fulfill.”
 
"Jesus offers many examples to show the commandments in a new light and to prove that love is more generous than the letter of the Law. From ‘Do not kill’ meaning don’t insult or be angry with your brother, to the instructions to give your coat to the person who demands your shirt, or go the extra mile with the person who wants to be accompanied for one mile.”
 
"This is not just for the fulfillment of the Law, but it also helps to heal our hearts. In Jesus’ explanations of the commandments, especially in St Matthew’s Gospel, there is a journey of healing. Every heart wounded by sin – as each one of us has – must undertake this journey of healing in order to be more like our "heavenly Father (who) is perfect.'”
 
"The last and most difficult step on this journey towards perfection, is contained in Jesus’ words from today’s reading: 'You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.' As a child, people used to pray for God to send the dictators of that period to hell, but instead, God calls us to examine our consciences and to pray for our enemies.”
 
"May the Lord give us grace, to pray for those individuals who hurt and persecute us. The power of prayer will do two things: it will change that person for the better and it will make us become more like children of our heavenly Father.”


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