Daily Riches: The Far Too Simple Command to Love (Jonathan Martin and Thomas Merton)

“God loves you…without disclaimers. God loves you…without conjunctions. God loves you…without an addendum.” Jonathan Martin

“We have to resolutely put away our attachment to natural appearance and our habit of judging according to the outward face of things. I must learn that my fellow man, just as he is, whether he is my friend or my enemy, my brother or a stranger from the other side of the world, whether he be wise of foolish, no matter what my be his limitations, ‘is Christ.‘  …Any prisoner, any starving man, any sick or dying man, any sinner, any man whatever, is to be regarded as Christ–this is the formal command of the Savior Himself. This doctrine is far too simple to satisfy many modern Christians, and undoubtedly many will remain very uneasy with it, tormented by the difficulty that perhaps after all, this particular neighbor is a bad man, and therefore cannot be Christ. The solution of this difficulty is to unity oneself with the Spirit of Christ, to start thinking and loving as a Christian, and to stop being a hairsplitting pharisee. Our faith is not supposed …to assess the state of our neighbor’s conscience. It is the needle by which we draw the thread of charity through our neighbor’s soul and our own soul and sew ourselves together in one Christ. Our faith is given us not to see whether or not our neighbor is Christ, but to recognize Christ in him and to help our love make both him and ourselves more fully Christ.  …corrupt forms of love wait for the neighbor to ‘become a worthy object of love’ before actually loving him. This is not the way of Christ. Since Christ Himself loved us when we were by no means worthy of love and still loves us with all our unworthiness, our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. …What we are asked to do is to love; and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbor worthy if anything can. Indeed, that is one of the most significant things about the power of love. There is no way under the sun to make a man worthy of love except by loving him. As soon as he realizes himself loved–if he is not so weak that he can no longer bear to be loved–he will feel himself instantly becoming worthy of love. He will respond by drawing a mysterious spiritual value out of his own depths, a new identity called into being by the love that is addressed to him.” Thomas Merton

From Head to Heart

  • Why do we find so many reasons not to love?

Abba, teach me to love.

For More: Disputed Questions by Thomas Merton

Daily Riches: I Am The Enemy Who Must Be Loved (Carl Jung, Martin Niemöller and Richard Rohr)

“It took me a long time to learn that God is not the enemy of my enemies. He is not even the enemy of His enemies.” Martin Niemöller

“The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ – all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself – that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness – that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us ‘Raca,’ and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.” Carl Jung

“Do not try to settle the dust. …Do not seek a glib, quick answer, but leave all things for a while in the silent space. Do not rush to judgment. That is what it really means that God alone is the judge. …If you start with no, which is critiquing, judging, pigeonholing, analyzing, dismissing, it is very hard to get back to yes. You must learn to start every single encounter with a foundational yes, before you ever dare to move to no. That is the heart of contemplation … a beginner’s mind. It will always be silent before it dares to speak.” Richard Rohr 

“But I say to you, love your enemies”
Jesus in Matthew 5:44

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Knowing the worst about yourself, condemning and raging against it, being unable to forgive it (even though God does) – this is “the essence of the whole moral problem” – for if you can’t love the enemy within, how can you love the enemy from without?
  • Do you understand that God is not the enemy of your enemies? …that the all-too common fear and hatred you feel towards enemies is foreign to God – repugnant to God – prohibited for you?
  • In a world gone mad, are you able to let the dust settle, step back in silence, and contemplate before you judge?

Abba, may I love my “enemies” in this world, just as you do.

For More: Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr

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If you found this encouraging, challenging or thought-provoking, please share it! And thanks much! – Bill