Expand our hearts
In today’s Gospel Jesus asks us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Loving a person who has demonstrated they do not (and perhaps cannot) have our best interests at heart does not mean acquiescing to unreasonable demands nor putting ourselves in harms way.
St Thomas Aquinas defined love as a decision of the will to act in the best interests of the other person. Sometimes the best interests of the other person may include saying no to them or calling out toxic attitudes as Jesus did repeatedly with the Pharisees.
Praying for those whom we find challenging to love is key because it opens us to God’s perspective on them and takes us out of centre stage. It helps us become conscious of our own unconscious expectations and assumptions. And if our heart is being choked by resentment It can open a space for a breath of compassion or even appreciation to slip through.
Lord, we give you thanks and praise for challenging us to broaden our perspective and expand our hearts. Give us your Spirit that we might see others as you do and love them as you love them.