This morning I was struck by a line in a meditation in the Magnificat magazine. The author caught me with his first line:
"We want to shine by battling evil." He goes on to say that we need to battle in an unconventional way. We often think of needing weapons to enter a fight. Since the battle against evil is not straightforward and one that is easily recognizable, Father Simeon recommends an extra-ordinary approach to doing the work of God while in the fray.
What he says next will take me a few days to unpack: "The willingness to surprise our adversary with compassion, with love, with forgiveness- with justice according to the Heart of Christ, in other words- performs a far more efficient and constructive task. It puts evildoers at the risk of being converted, and it dynamizes the whole of society by introducing into it the most divine of principles: self-giving at all costs." (Maginificat vol. 20, no. 4, page 276) We do not need to surprise people with our sophisticated arguments or our eloquent prayers. No, the surprise needs to come in the way that we love.
It is not often that we think about the possibility of someone meeting Christ because of our compassion or forgiveness. These are two things that might be painful to give in certain situations where we have been hurt one too many times. But, maybe it is in giving without counting the cost, turning the other cheek, or walking the extra mile that our companion will experience the true love of God in a way that they have never seen before.
Let's shine this week as we remember that we are called to love even when we don't feel like it. In pushing past the resistance to extending compassion and forgiveness, our soul radiates the glory of God to a world that has lost touch with Him.