Save Us From Our Enemies… ( Canticle of Zachariah 2/6)

” Through his holy prophets he promised of old, that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us … ”


THrough all of history man has allowed sin to enter his heart and this has been the cause of war, and fights over land, money, greed, lust ( both human and material)   In this canticle Zachariah speaks of being freed from slavery in Egypt.  He says Egypt is their enemy  and they hated their slaves that were freed from them.


The concept of hate is foreign to the life of faith.  Yet we still struggle with hate and anger.  Some one does something to us, or to someone else that does not sit well with us and we are angry and upset.  The reaction being that we want Justice, retribution, or recompense.  The other person becomes the one who hates us, and becomes our enemy.   As Christians , we are challenged and charged to love our enemies, to pray for our enemies, and to forgive them for the things that they do.  In Psalm 122 we are reminded ” For the love of the house of the Lord, I will ask for your good”.  So even in the time of Zachariah, before the lord preached to love your enemies, the idea of loving your enemies has been part of a life of faith.


There is a certain paradox in loving your enemy, and praying for their good.    At the outset, you may spend time praying for them to leave your life.  You may ask prayers for a resolution to the conflict where you get some kind of justice for yourself or those you care about.    Because we were given free will, in order to reason through our world, and to seek God, we seek to find some level ground between what we feel and what we know God is calling us to.    It causes us to examine some of those corners of our spiritual life.  It is within that examination that our free will kicks in and we choose the actions.  We choose to pray for them.  Eventually in the examination of the situation at hand, we find a certain separation of the sinner from the sin.  That examination and proactive of praying with effort to follow Jesus command, to love, causes our hearts to soften and allows our spiritual selves to get to a place where we can pray for the good of the other.   The best prayer is for their conversion experience, for them to get closer to God, because with that conversion will come a process of changes that would eventually turn them from sin to acts of love.


Part of that paradox is that you both benefit from the process of praying for those who you hate, or are angry with.  Your enemy would benefit from a conversion experience, from your forgiveness, or at the very least, from your example.  The next facet of the paradox is that you benefit by the spiritual exercises of contemplating the word of God, of attempting to put God’s word into practice , and an examination of your own conscience.  You  make the choice to life a life based on the Word of God, that is free from hatred, and in making those choices you become truly free.


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