“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Love Without Reserve
The Lord is kind and merciful to us. Even in our sin, our weakness, our failures, and our turning away. Even though we could never return the favor, God loves us still the same. God is not thrifty with love.
Do we dare to do the same? Can we love those who have wronged us? Would it kill us to extend a gesture of kindness, unprompted, to someone who gets on our nerves? Are we afraid to risk looking foolish showing love? Are we afraid we will somehow run out of love, as if that were possible? Do we fear letting go of the distance we keep between us and our neighbor? Do we fear losing the illusion of control that withholding love gives us?
Love without reserve and free yourself from all that holds you back.
Teach me to love you as you deserve.
To give joyfully without expecting in return.
Make me happy to look foolish in love of you and neighbor.
Make me love even when it doesn’t seem to make sense,
because this is never the wrong response.
Teach me to love myself in the way that You love me,
even though I may stubbornly resist.
Grant me the courage, strength, and humility
to do these things as you would have it.
—David J. Herr, SJ