To Love Everyone Means Everyone - 2021-07-20
Currently I am on vacation back in the United States, visiting family. We live in Minnesota. In the city many people boast of being open, accepting, tolerant and loving. There are signs about love and social justice on every block, if not every house. One would think this should be a good sign, of a loving community that wants to welcome everyone; I even remember seeing one sign that said "Wherever you're from, we're glad you're our neighbor." But in Spanish we have a saying: dime de lo que presumes, y te diré lo que te falta (tell me that which you boast of and I will tell you what you lack).
Unfortunately, the attitude I often see is that these very same people are only loving and tolerant of those that agree with them. In other cases, it often borders on hatred, wishing ill upon them, insulting them, degrading them, and refusing to even attempt to understand their concerns.
All this is not to say that the people they despise are saints with no fault, or that they themselves aren't committing heinous crimes against charity. But to respond with evil out of vengeance is not a solution, as it is not love but hatred. We must remember that as Christians our model is Jesus Christ, and Christ made it absolutely clear how we are supposed to treat those who abuse us: we're supposed to love them, to pray for them, and to do good to them:
"But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this?"
- Matthew 5:44-47
It is completely unacceptable for us to wish ill upon those who wish ill upon us or others, for that makes us no better than them. This is an extremely difficult teaching, without a doubt, but God demands many hard things of us, many of which we probably won't even like. Yet He will always provide us with the necessary grace to live in His commandments, which are commandments of love. This means that we must think of the person we despise the most, the person that gets on our nerves the most, or (even more difficult) the person that has done us most harm, and we must be able to love that person, and pray for them, and do good to them.
I do not write any of this in order to degrade the wonderful work these people may be doing in making others feel welcome in their communities. Especially when talking about immigrants who have left their homes by force, and are in a strange land they don't even want to be in, knowing that you're welcome can make that burden just a little lighter. Rather, I simply wish to fraternally correct in hopes of change. Ultimately, hatred will always exist so long as we are pilgrims in this world. It is not until we enter into the Beatific Vision that we may finally rest in peace in our Lord's Kingdom, where hatred has no place; as God is Love (1 John 4:8).