LOVE THY ENEMY:
“DROWN EVIL WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF GOOD (St. Josemaria).”
Today’s 1st reading taken from the 1st Book of Samuel 24:3–21 recounts how “Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel and went in search of David and his men” in order to kill him.
“David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave. David’s servants said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will deliver your enemy into your grasp; do with him as you see fit.’” So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul’s mantle. Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off an end of Saul’s mantle. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, as to lay a hand on him, for he is the Lord’s anointed.” With these words David restrained his men and would not permit them to attack Saul. Saul then left the cave and went on his way. David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul: “Why do you listen to those who say, ‘David is trying to harm you’? You see for yourself today that the Lord just now delivered you into my grasp in the cave. I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead…Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold. Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you, see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion. I have done you no wrong, though you are hunting me down to take my life. The Lord will judge between me and you, and the Lord will exact justice from you in my case. I shall not touch you. The old proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes forth wickedness.’ So I will take no action against you…
When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul answered, “Is that your voice, my son David?” And Saul wept aloud. Saul then said to David: “You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm. Great is the generosity you showed me today, when the Lord delivered me into your grasp and you did not kill me… May the Lord reward you generously for what you have done this day.”
David’s behavior is an example for us to follow on how we must react to those who do us harm whether by word or by deed. The attitude of returning evil with evil, of “an eye for an eye” is not a Christian attitude. Rather, Jesus, Himself, taught and lived the virtue of charity upon commanding us to love our enemies:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven (Mt 5: 43-45).”
Dear friends, let us strive to live Our Lord’s teaching to love and forgive those who do us harm, whether it be by word or by deed. Let us overcome our evil tendency for vengeance but rather make an effort, out of love for God, “to drown evil with an abundance of good”, as St. Josemaria said.
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PHOTO SOURCE: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, “Ecce Homo” in http://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/ZgElkROwoPcXkBfJXuD8nQ/o.jpg