Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mass with the Borgias

We all have enemies. It just so happens that most of mine are other Catholics. While we are commanded by Our Lord to love our neighbors and pray for our enemies, it is impossible to like every single person, or expect them to like us. Love, being an act of the will, often precludes warm sentiments, demanding that we act contrary to our natural feelings, feelings which may be those of genuine repugnance. We must deal with those around us in a kindly and loving manner in spite of what we might feel. We have to go places and do things in spite of the chance of running into those who have tried to harm us.

One morning while getting ready for church, I braced myself  knowing that I would indubitably run into  those who have tried to hurt my family by word and deed. I was comforted by the thought that Mass is a microcosm of the Last Judgment: everyone will be there, good and evil, whether we like it or not...there is just no way to avoid it, since presence will be required. Remembering the eschatological dimension of Mass will get one through anything. A friend reminded me of the words of St. Thomas Aquinas from Lauda Sion: Sumunt boni, sumunt mali: sorte tamen inaequali, vitae vel interitus. ("Both the wicked and the good eat of this celestial Food: but with ends how opposite!") 

In the meantime, it is a bit like going to Mass with the Borgias. They might be a bunch of sociopathic wretches but then they have to save their souls, too. After all, the Church is a hospital for sinners, myself included. We each must answer to God for our own behavior, not the behavior of others. Praying for our adversaries can seem to require superhuman effort at times but then it also opens the door to peace, forgiveness and, ultimately, to Heaven.

(Image) Share


Anonymous said...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people." GK Chesterton from The Illustrated London News, 7/16/10

Julygirl said...

I find that praying for one's adversaries is harder than trying to act loving toward them when one has to be in their presence. It takes a greater act of will.....but God demands it. The outcome is that it softens one's heart. Carrying the anger around is debilitating.

May said...

(I hope this is not a duplicate comment, but something went wrong when I tried to leave it before).

It is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to harm you, Elena, but I can understand the feeling of dreading to run into certain people. Great post.

Colleen Hammond said...

Isn't it sad that fellow Catholics seem to be our greatest adversaries? Ditto here.

Yes, we continue to pray for them and ourselves as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. I've found that focusing on Jesus (and Mary!) whilst the storm rages around us to be my sanity. Then, I crawl into Mary's lap and she puts her mantle around me as I snuggle safely on her shoulder. What would I do without my dear Mother?!?

elena maria vidal said...

Susan, that's perfect!

Julygirl, that is true, we forgive first because God commands us to do so but it is always to our emotional benefit as well.

Thank you for your kind words, Matterhorn.

Colleen, I have found the same to be true!

Alexandra said...

Both the wicked and the good eat of this celestial Food: but with ends how opposite! ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

Great quote! What better place than the mass to offer it up. Prayers to Saint Michael for you and your family.