A Most High Ideal
Author: Father Patrick Butler, LC | Source: Catholic.Net
Jesus said to his disciples: "To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit (is) that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful. "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."
Introductory Prayer: God the Father, thank you for the gift of creation, including my own life. God the Son, thank you for redeeming me at the price of your own Body and Blood. God the Holy Spirit, thank you for being the sweet guest of my soul, enlightening my mind, strengthening my spirit and kindling the fire of your love in my heart.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to actively seek the perfection you desire for me.
1. Revolution or Civil War? The values that Jesus proposes in his sermon on the mountain might be termed “revolutionary.” Never had the ideal of love been placed so high, demanding such heroism in practice. That’s why what Jesus asks provokes a struggle within me, between the “old man,” who resists this message, and the ideals my Lord places before me. This might be termed a “civil war” played out on the battlefield of my heart.
2. The Golden Rule: Jesus gives me what has been termed the “Golden Rule”: do to others as you would have them do to you. Since I naturally love myself to the point of desiring all good things and nothing bad to come my way, Jesus exhorts me to transfer that benevolence to others. This requires an effort for me, since I tend towards egoism. What can lift me up out of my smallness, my narrowness?
3. Becoming like God: God’s plan for me is marvelous. It exceeds my comprehension to hear Jesus tell me to be perfect, not according to a standard of human perfection, but according to divine perfection. My vocation is to become like God – for his divine life to increase in me and for my narrow, egoistic standards to diminish and disappear. I would not strive for such a high goal, if it were not commanded by my Lord. I must trust that he can do it in me. What I have to do is to collaborate with him, seeking him in prayer and discerning his will for me always.
Conversation with Christ: I thank you, Lord Jesus, for wanting to transform me into a greater likeness of God. Without you, this is impossible. With you, everything is possible, even in me with all my weaknesses and limitations. Your will be done!
Resolution: I will transform my way of judging from my point of view to God’s. Today I will strive to put into practice the “Golden Rule”.