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Greeting our enemies? #381883 06/21/12 01:05 AM
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ChaldeanCatholic Offline OP
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Are we supposed to greet our enemies and have normal conversation, or it's ok to love them from far and avoid them?
I have read that forgiveness doesn't mean reconciliation. If you are not reconciled with a person then you are not required to greet them or have a regular conversation. Jesus asked us to love our enemies(help them when the need help), bless them and pray for them; does Jesus requires us to greet our enemies. this is the passage:

Matthew 5:47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: ChaldeanCatholic] #381893 06/21/12 06:37 AM
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sielos ilgesys Offline
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There are people in the Catholic Church who are guilty of having inflicted tremendous spiritual harm on me. I have seen at least one of them at the airport where I work. I walked right past him and didn't say a word. I had nothing good to say to him.He would not have welcomed anything I had to say so I didn't bother. I do not bel;ieve I could ever have anything even remotely resembling a normal conversation with these people. And I don't want to, either. I do not even like thinking of them - and I'm sure they feel the same way about me. I do struggle to pray for him and the others who harmed me; I ask the Lord to help me see them as He does; and sometimes He enables me to approximate doing that.

It is for me a process to get to the point where I can feel, believe and think differently about these people but I'm not there yet, at least not consistently. It's very bad that sometimes I'd like to greet them with a red-hot pick-ax but I am moving beyond that.

Slowly but surely I stumble my way through the valley of the shadow of Catholic Church hierarchy-induced nonsense and malice.

"Lord, help me to see my own sins and not judge my neighbour." That's where I would do well to start.

Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: sielos ilgesys] #381900 06/21/12 11:45 AM
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Slava Isusu Khrestu

My friend,
I know of what you speak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!the hardest and most difficult for me is to pray for them. I felt as if ...should I pray for them they would succeed and prosper and that drove me crazy. But I just said," Lord hold them" I could hardly say their names..............but ...as time went on, I began to be able to say their names in prayer ( no too easily ).

The most unworthy sinner who has a degree in sin!

Kolya


Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: sielos ilgesys] #381904 06/21/12 03:27 PM
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I, too, have had people who have caused me great harm during the course of my life. I've learned several things over the years about forgiveness.

First of all, when I forgive them, I don't have to like them; I don't have to become friends with them. What I do have to do is forgive them as the Lord forgives. That forgiveness is the letting go of my wish for them to suffer for what they've done to me. This releases their hold on me, because as long as I nurse the hurt they are still able to hurt me and continue to do so. So I let them go and let the Lord have them.

Secondly, I have to view this in the context of the suffering thread in Scripture and Patristics. The Lord allows us to be wounded so that He can heal us. He heals us by plunging us into His Passion through the Covenant of Baptism. Our pain, hurts, suffering--all that is given eternal value because of what He suffered on behalf of us. And He asks us to follow Him: top pick up our own crosses. St. Paul tells us that when we do this we add to what is "lacking in the sufferings of Christ." In other words, He allows us to become one with Him--in full communion by this. No one needs the Lord if evrything is going well, so He allows us to be wounded so that we can turn to Him timea and again for His Healing.

I've had people who actually tried hard to destroy my life, my career, my family. And it wasn't covert. It was totally out in the open. But the Lord lead me through each and every episode as if through the Red Sea. Lots of people have been amazed at how I came through it, but since they they failed to see the faith connection they've just been left to wonder. I know how it's been done for me. This faith thing isn't something I put on Sunday morning; it's how I live and move, and have my being each and every minute.

Finally, all these episodes are now, thankfully, long past. Some of the people are dead; others suffering the ravages of illness and old age. They can no longer physically, economically, or otherwise hurt me. The only way they can hurt me is if I allow it by holding a grudge or holding onto that memory of an earlier pain that I have not allowed to heal.

So now I can say a prayer for them. I don't want anyone to sit in Hell for all eternity because of me. The Lord has freely forgiven me so many things I have confessed and so many things I'm not even aware of. So I take the words of His prayer and forgive as He has forgiven me--fully, consciously, unconditionally.

I use a couple prayers to help me with this because it's a process that continues. The first is composed of some phrases from Byzantine Compline--since I didn't remeber all of it, this part stuck in my head:

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Forgive, O Lord, Love of the souls of men, those who hate us and those who maltreat us, and cause not one of them to be lost because of me, a sinner, on the Day of Your Divine and Terrible Judgment, but let all be saved by Thy Grace and Great Mercy. AMEN.


The second I wrote one night when I was meditating about all the ways we human beings hurt each other:

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Forgive O Lord all Your children who in the practice of their faith are intolerant or angry or disrespectful. We all mean well and have good intentions in the living out of our faith, but sometimes we become over-zealous and disrespectful of others and fail to see them as made in Your image and likeness. Forgive us all Lord and teach us how to love You in other's differences and always to respect You dwelling within each and every soul! We ask Your forgiveness for any member of the clergy, who in any way has sinned by anger or impatience and we ask Your forgiveness for the laity for disrespecting one conformed to Your image and likeness by ordination. We ask You to forgive us all whenever we have sinned against a brother or sister in the human family by our prejudice and intolerance. Forgive and overlook the sins of all Your people Lord.for since the weakness of our father Adam and our mother Eve, we are found to be weak and very needy apart from YOU. Save us Lord and bring us together into one human family to adore You the author and creator of all. May we live together in respect and reverence for each and every man, woman, child, animal, and for all of Your creation, Amen.


Bob

Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: ChaldeanCatholic] #382550 07/04/12 10:02 PM
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ChaldeanCatholic Offline OP
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Thank you

Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: theophan] #382567 07/05/12 12:26 PM
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Bob, I appreciate the time and effort you put into the composition and the posting of those prayers. A lot of charity, wisdom and food for thought. Too bad but I issued forth from a family where grudge-holding was practiced as a form of art. My father's side of the family tended toward passive-aggressivity and my mother's side tended toward just plain ol' in-your-face assertive agressivity. Guess which side had the most influence on me. Although intellectually I recognise it's harmfulness and irrationality, nevertheless there's always a part of me where grudge-holding seems to make sense.

As I said I think I am moving beyond a lot of that but I'm not fully beyond it yet. You know how some people look their best in red or blue? I know some folks who'd look their best in coffins.

That's an example of "stinkin' thinkin'" if there ever was one.

Last edited by sielos ilgesys; 07/05/12 12:42 PM.
Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: sielos ilgesys] #382569 07/05/12 01:17 PM
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Christ is in our midst!!

You're exchanging posts with a guy who has had both your families' issues and has struggled with them for over 40 years. My spare mental time--and I try not to have too much of that--has too often been spent in either planning revenge against enemies (and perceived enemies) or in re-doing scenarios where I allowed people to get the best of me because I thought of what the Lord endured through His Passion and tried hard to imitate Him. In those redone scenarios, the darker side of me always comes out.

What I've posted is the fruit of many confessions and many a session with various spiritual fathers over that period of years.

It "ain't" over and it "ain't" easy and I "ain't" there yet--not bad grammar; just for emphasis.

Bob

Last edited by theophan; 07/05/12 01:19 PM.
Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: ChaldeanCatholic] #382573 07/05/12 02:43 PM
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The prayer of St. Ephraiam is not just for during Great Lent.

Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: sielos ilgesys] #382584 07/05/12 06:09 PM
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theophan Offline
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There's another area here, too, that has been pointed out to me.

If someone hurts you and you keep the hurt clasped tightly inside, the person who hurt you moves on, but you allow him/her to keep beating your head into the floor--figuratively and spiritually. So the person keeps on hurting you, but he/she doesn't have to expend any more than the original energy. In the meantime, you're losing a lot of spiritual energy by allowing this hurt to eat at you like a cancer.

I appreciate Pastor Tom's advice about St. Ephraim's Lenten Prayer. Not a bad idea to keep it close by.

My spiritual father once suggested that I recite the "forgive, O Lord" phrases whenever I focused on a past hurt or wrong and started down the road to nursing the old wound. Wasn't a bad idea; still is a good one.

Bob

Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: theophan] #382591 07/05/12 11:58 PM
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sielos ilgesys Offline
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By probably some kind of miracle, I have taken to classifying groups of people I have become convinced I should pray for. This is not just "therapy" for me but because these folks might really need it. By praying for them according to classifications I avoid mentioning them or thinking of them by name: God knows who I mean.

Classification #1: former friends.

Classification #2: people I remember with anger, resentment or bitterness;

Classification #3: people who remember ME with anger, resentment or bitterness; (I've not always been all Mr. Sweetness-and-Light)

Classification #4: people who are a blessing in my life and who consistently do good for me; as well as those deceased people who were kind and helpful to me. The funeral of one such person took place this morning.

It's easier, helpful and therapeutic to remember the latter by name.

Right now, the best prayer for to say for myself and others is, "Lord, may Your will be perfectly accomplished in the life of so-and-so." And the reminder about the prayer of St. Ephraim is spot-on.

As is known, I like much of today's country music; and so I've "appropriated" the lyrics of one of the most recent songs by Tim McGraw:

http://azlyrics.com/lyrics/timmcgraw/betterthaniusedtobe.html

Last edited by sielos ilgesys; 07/06/12 12:06 AM.
Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: sielos ilgesys] #382599 07/06/12 12:51 PM
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Apropos of this subject is today's feast (in the Latin Church) of St. Maria Goretti. Since Orthodox readers and others might not be familiar with her, here's a link to follow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Goretti Although Pope Pius XII canonised her as a "martyr of chastity", Byzantine Christianity might be more inclined to categorise her as a "passion-bearer".

It's a melodramatic hagiographic presentation but it manages to convey the fact that one of the saint's virtues was generous forgiveness of her assailant.

Last edited by sielos ilgesys; 07/06/12 12:53 PM.
Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: sielos ilgesys] #382602 07/06/12 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sielos ilgesys
Although Pope Pius XII canonised her as a "martyr of chastity", Byzantine Christianity might be more inclined to categorise her as a "passion-bearer".


She is listed on the calendar of the Bulgarian Byzantine Catholic Church for today as "двмчца", which is abbreviated for "virgin-martyr", with own readings - 1 Cor. 6:13-20 and Matthew 10:28-33 as an alternative to today readings.

Last edited by ag_vn; 07/06/12 01:25 PM.
Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: ChaldeanCatholic] #382603 07/06/12 02:40 PM
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I'm ambivalent about Maria Goretti. In order to protect her own virginity from rape, she incited her attacker to kill her, thus elevating his sin from rape to rape and murder. A true passion bearer would have endured the rape rather cause another person to commit murder. True virginity, after all, is not a mere matter of physical intactness--it is a disposition, a spiritual state, which forcible penetration cannot change. Too much of her story seems wrapped up in Italian machismo and the false virgin/whore paradigm.

Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: StuartK] #382605 07/06/12 02:58 PM
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Stuart, I'm a bit ambivalent about her as well. I'm ambivalent almost to the point of mild scandal also about some of the people raised to the honours of the altar by Bl. Pope John Paul 2.

I don't doubt Maria's virtues; I don't doubt she's in heaven but I do wonder if it's true - as has been asserted - that Pope Pius XII kinda artificially constructed/manipulated her hagiography in order to propose her as an antidote to the alleged licentiousness of Italian youth following WW2.

Whatever may be the case, may her intercession be a support and an aid for everyone. I find her to be a credible mistress in the school of learning to forgive one's enemies, whatever else might be said of her.

Last edited by sielos ilgesys; 07/06/12 03:01 PM.
Re: Greeting our enemies? [Re: ChaldeanCatholic] #382610 07/06/12 05:08 PM
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Over several years a fellow parishioner scoulded me from time to time. He did not do it often but often enough for it to finally get under my skin. He told me roughly once to be quiet after saying "amen" to something Father had said. I told him that he should worship the way he was led and I would worship the way I was led. After liturgy I tried talking with him but he actually ran away from me saying "don't touch me." During confession I asked father if so and so was losing his mind. Father simply responded that I should go out of my way to be kind to him. So, I did. I greeted him and spoke kindly to him. One Sunday he came to liturgy with a completely shaved head and he looked to have lost some weight rather quickly. It turns out he had a growing brain tumor. I continued to be kind towards him and a few weeks later he died.

That's not the answer in every situation but I'm glad it was mine.

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