What do we wish for our enemies? Usually it’s not anything good. We want to destroy them. We want to end their wicked ways – toward us and toward others. Jesus tells us to love them. He does. Pray for those who persecute you, He tells us. Well, sure, in a theoretical sense, right? But practically, in reality, how can one do those things? People who want to harm us and those we love, how are we to love them? I’ve said on my blog before that we can’t. Not on our own. No matter how hard we try.
Most of us don’t have any true enemies who we feel great animosity towards and who feel the same toward us. Most of us don’t have to worry about someone hating us so much they want to harm us or worse. But, as a country we sometimes do have enemies who our Military service members must do battle against on our behalf. They are true enemies; people are killed, on both sides. How do we pray for those enemies? Especially when we are related to the Military members who are fighting against them? How can we? Once again, only God is able to do that. And so we have to allow Jesus to love through us; it will be Divine love that we give, not our own. I struggle with opening up my heart that much. I do. We’ve lost too many of our Troops and I have known many of them; they’ve been killed or wounded grievously. How to love the ones who cause such pain?
As far as praying for those enemies, when my own loved ones were the ones in combat against our enemies, I didn’t know how to pray for the enemy, either. I still don’t as many of our friends and relatives still deploy and are put in harm’s way; and just our fellow citizens, selfless and brave individuals – and we know and love so many. The closest I could/can get was/is to pray the Fatima prayer for our enemies. Do you know it?
“Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. ” Amen.
That’s the best I could do; it’s the best I can do still: ask for God’s mercy to save them. Perhaps it’s a very feeble sort of prayer for one’s enemies. It’s something I have to bring to Jesus, again and again. Jesus, who could say from the cross, all torn up, bleeding and bruised, seemingly abandoned, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” When Jesus, near the beginning of His public ministry, said to His apostles, “Follow me,” this is where He wanted them and us to follow – to the cross, but not to stand idly by in terror and grief. Not only to remind us of His suffering and dying for us. Jesus wants us to forgive as He forgives us. Even as we are suffering, even as we are grieving and feeling helpless or abandoned. Some might say that’s impossible. But we know that nothing is impossible for God.
It’s about allowing Jesus to love through us with Divine Love. It will not be our own. When we are filled with the God of Love, we can love and forgive anyone. That I am not able to is humbling, to say the least. While I’m working on being that open to the Lord, I will continue to pray the Fatima prayer for my enemies. It’s the best I have to offer right now. I am, I admit, counting on God’s mercy to understand my frailties. I will not stop working on this, though, always asking for God’s grace to transform my heart to make it more like His – that merciful, that forgiving, that all-loving.
It’s much more complex that these few words and thoughts, of course. But I felt the need to share the prayer for mercy, the Fatima prayer, to help anyone else who might be struggling with love of an enemy even as we pray for the safety and the return of those we love.