3 Advent Sunday

Jesus Bridge

Violence rests on the assumption that the enemy and I are entirely different: the enemy is evil and I am good. The enemy must be destroyed but I must be saved. But love sees things differently. It sees that even the enemy suffers from the same sorrows and limitations that I do. That we both have the same hopes, the same needs, the same aspiration for peaceful and harmonious human life. And that death is the same for both of us. Then love may perhaps show me that my brother is not really my enemy and that war is both his enemy and mine. War is our enemy. Then peace becomes possible.

— Thomas Merton in No Man Is an Island quoted in Thomas Merton: Essential Writings selected by Christine M. Bochen

Today: Jesus spoke literally, “Love your enemy.” Merton spoke figuratively that peace becomes possible when you see war as your “enemy.”  How can you personally embrace such world views when they appear to be self-contradicting? Maybe the way to resolve this would be to look at how it would take shape in your relationships with the people around you? We don’t have to become physically violent to be at war with one another, do we? Consider a bridge that enables you to cross over from the side of war to the side of peace. Call that bridge “curiosity.” What would becoming curious look like when you’re confronted face-to-face with an “enemy” ? If you’d like, write me your thoughts.

Ed Jansen, OCM

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